Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Il leone d'Irlanda ” as Want to Read:
Il leone d'Irlanda
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Il leone d'Irlanda (Brian Boru #1)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  3,207 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
Nella seconda metà del X secolo d.C., l'Irlanda visse uno dei suoi periodi storici più avvincenti e grandiosi. L'isola, che era diventata la culla della civiltà dopo l'abbandono della Britannia da parte dei romani, seppe trovare in questi decenni anche l'unità politica, sotto lo scettro e la spada di Brian Boru, il suo più grande re. Le gesta epiche di questo mitico sovran ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Nord (first published February 26th 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Il leone d'Irlanda, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Asteropê Seeing as the author writes fiction, I don't think so. If you want non-fiction about that time in history without fictionalization, you need to look…moreSeeing as the author writes fiction, I don't think so. If you want non-fiction about that time in history without fictionalization, you need to look elsewhere as this is not the right genre for that. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
MINI REVIEW This is a tale of history and legends as it focuses upon the origins of Brian Boru, the Charlemagne of Ireland who unified most of the Emerald Isle against the Norsemen and more importantly the bickering of petty Irish lords. It's on the slow side at first as we focus on Boru's early years but stick with it and it will pick up. There's a great deal of focus on the political intrigues, the bigger than life presence of Brian Boru and Boru's inner thoughts. The writing is lyrical and t ...more
Elia Princess of Starfall

You know shit just got bad when an arrogant self centred and despicable prat like Gaston is correct.


Oh Bloody hell where to start? I haven't been this disappointed in a novel since last year with the Red Tent and finished that one! Heck 'Lion of Ireland' has the dubious honour of being my first DNF of 2015. IMHO a book that fails so badly on several accounts-characterisation, historical accuracy, writing style, treatment of female characters, etcetera....

Lion of Ireland is the story of
Feb 04, 2008 Saoirseobx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Saoirseobx by: An Irish friend
Truly, the best book I have ever read. I keep going back to it over and over again and Brian Boru has become a hero of mine. In a time when Vikings were invading Ireland, tribes were warring and life was hard, it was highly improbable that a 12th born son would ever become King of Ireland. And yet Brian did the impossible - united the whole of Ireland for the only time in history. His vision, his determination and his passion for his country and his people were incredible.

And yet, Brian was alon
Aug 20, 2008 Kasandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most people don't realize that the legend of King Arthur has a real life counterpart in Brian Boru, "the Emperor of all Ireland" at the beginning of the 11th century. This is a fictional account of his life based on what's known of him. Well researched and a compelling read, full of action and romance.
Joseph Finley
Dec 03, 2011 Joseph Finley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are interested in one of the most fascinating figures in Irish history, or just want another good book about the Viking Age, I highly recommend Lion of Ireland.

The novel tells the story of Brian Boru, perhaps the greatest Irish king who ever lived. He ruled at the end of the Tenth Century, during a time when Norse and Danish Vikings controlled large portions of Ireland, including the Viking towns of Limerick and Dublin. Rich with natural resources and monasteries laden with silver, Irelan
Feb 22, 2013 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is straight-up indulgent Irish Historical porn and I loved every minute of it. I feel spend and exhausted; my emotions were tossed back and forth, every which way as I followed Brian from early childhood to the end of the book. I just want to sit and bask in the glory of it all - how it made me feel. I want to cry that it's over. And when I recover, I know I'm going to want more.

If you're like me, you've at some point lost your voice after a night of drinking and yelling about the evils of
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 02, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this book somewhat more than I have some of Ms. Llywelyn's other works. She managed to "hue" slightly closer to the historical bone in this one than in some others and still deliver a good fantasy adventure.

Brian Boru is a favorite "character" of mine. Or historical figure? To be honest yes, but I hesitate to go that route as he's one of the people in history who's myth is so closely entwined with his history that we need to be very careful. It's much like the line from The Man Who Sho
Sep 16, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lion of Ireland tells the story of Brian Boru, the great High King of Ireland. I’m not at all familiar with Irish history and learned a lot while reading this. I found Brian’s history, and that of Ireland, to be so interesting. I especially loved the beginning of the book where we saw Brian in his youth and watched him become one heck of a warrior - a force to be reckoned with. The battle scenes were intense and described so well and in such detail that I felt like I was there on the battlefield ...more
Teri Heyer
Jan 25, 2013 Teri Heyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves historical fiction.
Recommended to Teri by: Amazon/Kindle
I spent the last several days reading Morgan Llywelyn's 'Lion of Ireland.' I couldn't put it down and so I did little else than read. This is the saga of Brian Boru and his struggle/fight to unite all of Ireland under one king. Would that I could give this book more than 5-Stars. If you love history told by a great storyteller, then this is a must read.
3.0 stars. I liked this book but really thought I was going to love it. While well written and having a great larger-than-life main character, I never really connected with the story like I thought I would. This is one I may try to approach again sometime down the road and see if my opinion changes.
Sep 23, 2007 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You know you're in for a tiresome piece of biographical fiction when adults are taken aback by the power inherent in a child who defies them.
Jun 19, 2013 Nik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written really well if you're really into medieval history... it reminded me of an Irish "Game Of Thrones" but much more pulp. It was too long, that was my biggest problem, and I like long books if they can hold my interest, but I got tired of it by the time Gormlaith became a major character. It was just hard to care anymore. However it was interesting and did a good job of telling a multigenerational story with a lot of viewpoints across a characters' entire life. I like how it ha ...more
For all those I initially sent out recommendations to, disregard. Am on the last knockings and for Ireland would say that Rutherfurd's offerings are far, far superior. This was more a young adult thing.


St Patrick's Day 2012


Opening: The little boy sat on the crown of a rocky hill, his thin arms hugging his scabby knees. He tilted his head and gazed up into the immense vault of the sky, feeling wonderfully alone.
Bart Breen
May 24, 2012 Bart Breen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding Historical Fiction!

Morgan Llywelyn has done a fantastic job in this novel. She does outstanding research and builds a framework that will have you walk away from this book having a very good understanding of the history of Ireland in terms of its small kingdoms constantly warring with each other to where outside invaders can waltz in and mop up. The greatest king who accomplished what no other could was Brian Boru, Ard Ri (High King) and unfortunately his descendents proved incapable
Fiona Hurley
Brian Boru was a real historical character who lived in 10th century Ireland. As the best historical novelists do, Llwellyn has taken the facts we know about him and breathed them to life. And how! From the boy dreaming on the hill, to the young man taking power, to the old man preparing for his final battle, this is a full-blooded epic with three-dimensional characters. There is conflict on the battlefield and off it, a powerful momentum that kept me turning the pages breathlessly, all written ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel that delves into 950-1050 AD Irish history and the uniting of the little fiefdom's into one country by Brian Boru. The book starts off kind of slow as the author tries to paint a picture of the life of the high nobility of that time period. When she begins to describe the Viking invasions, the book becomes hard to put down.

The historical record is quite sketchy on this time period, but Llywelyn does a great job of bringing this era to life. The char
Colin Ryan
Hmmm,a great story which was paced well and covered a lot of ground, which appeared to be well researched. However although Lywelyn's develops a solid structure to tell an epic story, she writes some ferociously clunky dialogue. Clients engage constantly in long winded exposition laced conversation, that are as a subtle as an instruction manual. The characters are broad 2 dimensional cliches acting as lifeless avatars for to move the plot rather than living breathing individuals. The only thing ...more
David Teachout
Feb 28, 2013 David Teachout rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Brilliant, the characters leap from the pages and instill themselves in your soul with all the passion and power of the Irish people. This is history and myth, truth and fiction, brought together for entertainment and to tell a message. The story of Brian Boru is one of anyone desiring with a fervency of the spirit to build a place of joy and prosperity, knowing at times that to do so begins with pain and battle. This is a story of humanity and in it is found a great deal to love and hold.
Chelsea Kearns
My intro to Morgan Llywelyn was with this book, and I've learned a lot about Celtic history as I've continued to read her books. This is a lesser known historical look at Ireland, focused on the one-time unifying king, Brian Boru. Many of her other books also reference him, so it's helpful to have this one as background before moving onto some of her others. Also note she has an interesting series about the N. Ireland/Ireland issues starting in the early 1900's, that are really interesting.
Forgotten Realms Queen
Fascinating account of Brian Borou, historically speaking the first king of Ireland who united the country, and divided it into North and South.

It is quite dull at times because it is textbook historical but for the most part is well paced and well written to keeping your interest. It makes me want to research more on the characters we're introduced to because they're so believable.
Jun 05, 2014 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would of been 5 stars if not for the repeated sex scenes.
Malcolm Little
May 05, 2017 Malcolm Little rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Taking on the life story of a mythic hero persona is no easy task. It is made easier, however, when the historicity of the details is scant. Such is the case with Brian Boru, an Irish legend of tall tales and supposedly taller accomplishments. I say ‘supposedly’ because as far as I can see, there’s still great debate among Celtic historians as to whether Boru united all of the island of Erin or failed on the last few acres. The debates of the character of Boru himself will never cease, as histor ...more
Jul 02, 2017 Geneva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was verry enjoyable. In some places, it was verry aorrowful, and it made me cry. This in my opinion it's a good book. I gave it four stars because sometimes there was way too much detail and I had to put the book down because I got tired of it. All in all though, it was a very enjoyable book.
Mar 25, 2017 Dru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading about Brian, who grew to be king of Ireland. While it's a historical fiction, I felt as if I was transported to Ireland with the detailed scenery and the culture that defined the Irish.

One thing to consider- I'm an Irish American so I might enjoy it more than a person without any Irish heritage.
Inspired by tales of Charlemagne, Brian Boru rallies his countrymen, uniting them into a cohesive force to defeat the viking invaders.
I think I'd rather see Ms. Llywelyn's knowledge of Ireland told in a book style like "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew."
Jul 09, 2017 Data rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another timeless tale; Brian of Boruma reigns in my heart. Here is a fully realized world created out of the past.
Jun 27, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, where, Kincora! is Brian the Great?
And where is the beauty that once was thine ?
Oh, where are the princes and nobles that sate
At the feast in thy halls, and drank the red wine?
Where, oh, Kincora?

Oh, where, Kincora! are thy valorous lords?
Oh, whither, thou Hospitable! are they gone?
Oh, where are the Dalcassians of the Golden Swords?
And where are the warriors that Brian led on?
Where, oh, Kincora?

- From the Lamentation of Mac Liag for Kincora

Ireland. A land of beauty. A land of stretching green
Jul 03, 2013 Methos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
che si può dire di questo romanzo se non FA-VO-LO-SO!!!! anch'io come è già stato detto da olio&rucola sono stata un pò restia ad iniziare la lettura per le 544 pagine continuando a preferire letture più "veloci",ma una volta iniziato non sono stata più in grado di fermarmi! la lettura non va in discesa, è una vera e propria caduta libera nella storia di Erin che ti avvolge, ti travolge e ti abbaglia! la Llywelyn è incredibile; riesce a rendere viva e splendente una storia che ormai ha più d ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Cathy0584 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-authors
This is by far the best historical fiction book I've read in the past year. The author is also an accomplished writer of non-fiction, and thus has done her research on the 10th and early 11th century in Irish history and the Colossus remembered as Brian Boru. The story of how this man was able to bring much of Ireland's warring tribes together to rout the Northmen and Vikings after being plundered and pillaged for generations is an early look at coalition building. All the elements of a well-pac ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Love and Loyalty 2 30 Aug 23, 2013 05:35PM  
Nothing But Readi...: Llywelyn, Morgan ; Lion of Ireland "Informal Buddy Read" (Start Date: July 1, 2013) 19 412 Jul 07, 2013 11:12AM  
  • I Am of Irelaunde: A Novel of Patrick and Osian
  • The Eagle and the Raven
  • Danegeld
  • The Book of Kells
  • The Tenants of Time  (The Thomas Flanagan Trilogy #2)
  • The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, #2)
  • The Claddagh Ring: Ireland's Cherished Symbol of Friendship, Loyalty, and Love
  • Firelord (Firelord, #1)
  • Confessions of a Pagan Nun
  • Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims (Kingmaker, #1)
  • Lady of the Glen: A Novel of 17th-Century Scotland and the Massacre of Glencoe
  • Dreaming the Bull (Boudica, #2)
  • The Sea Road
  • The White Raven
  • Circle of Stones (Circle, #1)
  • Patrick: Son of Ireland
  • Galway Bay
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
Morgan Llywelyn (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
More about Morgan Llywelyn...

Other Books in the Series

Brian Boru (2 books)
  • Pride of Lions

Share This Book

“He took her into his arms again, using all his strength to be gentle, and let his lips touch hers so lightly he could hardly feel it.” 26 likes
“If you would have peace, genuine peace, you must accept all the aspects of your personality and learn to be comfortable with them.” 4 likes
More quotes…