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Liath Luachra: The Grey One

(Irish Woman Warrior #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Ireland 188 A.D: A land of tribal affiliations, secret alliances and treacherous rivalries.

Youthful woman warrior Liath Luachra has survived two brutal years fighting with mercenary war party “The Friendly Ones” but now the winds are shifting.
Dispatched on a murderous errand where nothing is as it seems, she must survive a group of treacherous comrades, the unwanted
Paperback, 276 pages
Published December 2015 by Irish Imbas Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full review is here, on my blog.

This might be one of the first Irish mythology characters whose name I pronounce correctly in my head. That’s notable, because to a native English speaker with no real experience of the Irish language, it is probably one of the least ‘it’s pronounced like it’s spelled’ languages in the history of languages. That said, I find it such a pretty language, and so Brian O’Sullivan’s books are intriguing to me because he uses Irish in a way that even I can somewhat
D.M. Murray
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t get an awful lot of time to read at the moment, so I tend to select my next reads with a fair degree of scrutiny. I had noticed the covers of Brian O’Sullivan’s books via SPFBO and generally online via the fantasy community. I was very intrigued by the setting of these stories - ancient Ireland. I grew up saturated in the myths and legends of that fine island, and so I picked up Liath Luachra: The Grey One as my next read.

I was really impressed by the book. It is short, but that doesn’t
Anne O'Connor
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m not generally an avid fan of fantasy fiction but Liath Luachra: The Grey One had me on the edge of my seat from the first shocking chapter to the very last page. An unusual novel by Irish author Brian O’Sullivan, the story focuses on a young female warrior who through a terrible back-story (which comes to light later in the book) ends up eking a precarious existence as a member of a violent mercenary war-band.

Traumatised by her own past, Liath Luachra has little to live for beyond that band
Elle Lewis
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cannot give the author enough praise for this book. Liath Luachra; The Grey One has entered my list of favorite books of all time. Although it is set in the Iron Age of Ireland, a time that is so far away from our own, the main character Liath Luachra is vividly real. Her inner dialogue is heart breaking but charming. So many times her words and thoughts hit my heart like an arrow, resonating with my own pain and dark experiences. I hope the author reads this review, Mr. O'Sullivan please ...more
Peter Cornell
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

Despite the Gaelic phrases that nobody could pronounce, it was an interesting read. The character of Liath was well done. I enjoyed the story. Accurate history is not as important or fun as a good adventure.
Peter Skelton
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book extremely engaging and full of action, I couldn’t put it down.
Liath Luachra (The Grey One) is a fascinating character. She’s intelligent, a lethal warrior, holds her own drinking with the boys, has lesbian sexual fantasies and a penchant for magic mushrooms (and she’s only 16!). Despite her line of work and her horrific upbringing, she still has a moral compass and tries her best to do the right thing.
Part of a violent band of mercenaries (some more dangerous than the enemies
Peter Buckmaster
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My luck with good books continues. The cover for another novel by the same author caught my eye so I investigated and bought this one. Cover art again excellent. For the first hundred pages, this was a 4-star for me. I really felt myself lost in the world of 2nd century Ireland due to the authenticity of the writing and highly descriptive prose. Some historical fiction can be very accurate but a bit dry and heavy-going. Definitely not the case here. At about the 100-page mark though, it really ...more
Mike Thompson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The 'Liath Luachra' prequel provides us with the background story to ‘The Grey One’, which O’Sullivan develops further in the Fionn series. Liath Luachra is an engaging protagonist – deliciously sensual, yet calculatingly violent when the cause demands it. Never a dull moment, difficult to put down.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am often hesitant when I read warrior stories, for they can be terribly predictable. However, despite guessing at the plot the characters encourage emotional investment in the story itself, which is more my kind of read. There are moments when the novel touches upon the utter depravity that mankind is capable of, but tempers this with a story woven with social constraints, moral obligations and personal desires. I found it overall very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more of the ...more
Wayne Mcauliffe
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a Grand read.How i think those times would of been-no romantic times.The lead reminds of the Girl with the Dragon tattoo but in 2nd century Ireland.Bores it up the men who mistreat her.Bring on the next novel
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
The main character was interesting, but it fell a little flat for me. Perhaps because it was at the end of a reading binge of mine, but hey, I can't help how I feel about a book.
Bryan Ewert
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely marvelous. Great characters, richly detailed world, wonderful storytelling.
Anne Deville
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another very satisfying read from the Irish author. In this book (a prequel to the Fionn series) the focus is on the woman warrior, Liath Luachra and I particularly enjoyed learning about her backstory - alluded to but never fully explained in the series. In many ways, I couldn't help comparing her to Lisbeth Salandar (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as both heroines are very similar. Both have had a horrific childhood, struggle to communicate with other people and yet both are very competent, ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was momentarily disappointed that this book was part of the "back story", not the next in the series chronologically . But once I put that aside, I re-immersed myself in the very believable world the author creates, and couldn't put the book down until I had finished it. It shed so much light on the character of Liath - her grim experiences and her strength in the face of adversity. I am now going back to reread the other books, which I am sure will be all the richer for a greater ...more
Louise Mulligan
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have thoroughly enjoyed this novel. After reading others in Brian O'Sullivan's Fionn series, I had a real interest in finding out more about the incredible Liath Luachra. This is a fast paced traverse through bush trails and battles with a female heroine who is commanding and fascinating. The story has lots of twists and turns, each providing a bit more insight to Liath Luachra but always leaving just enough to keep you thinking about her complexities and about how she ties in with the ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the legends of Fionn mac Cumhaill, Liath Luachra is an intriguing name with minimal context, but in Brian O'Sullivan's adaptions she becomes a most fascinating and formidable character in her own right. Her backstory is a great read; brigands and bloodshed, second-guessings and double-crossings. This is an Ancient Ireland that is entrancing and savage, much like Liath Luachra herself. I'm really looking forward to the next volume of this excellent series. Liath Luachra abú!
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This fictional tale of ancient historical figure Liath Luachra is great reading. Cleverly put together, this book draws the reader into the world of tribal warriors where our heroine is carving a powerful but lonely niche for herself. The historical setting and deadly twists and turns are almost a little reminiscent of George R R Martin's books. By a third of the way in I was completely engrossed and couldn't put the book down.
Gemma Kiernan
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very solid and in-depth fantasy adventure about a young warrior woman forced into a compromising position to survive in a brutal Iron Age Ireland. I really came to love this strong but traumatised woman and her attempts to survive. Her adventures involve several twists and turns that you won't see coming but which are as emotionally satisfying as they are adrenaline-filled.
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Nov 02, 2017
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Sep 17, 2018
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Oct 24, 2019
Ira Silvertein
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Jan 13, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2019
Neville Dick
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Oct 10, 2017
Paul Daly
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Dec 03, 2017
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Apr 03, 2017
Dianne Graham
rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2018
Per Bressendorff
rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2019
Nat Murphy
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very clever plot and characters and Liath Luachra is as amazing as ever!
rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2017
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Goodreads Librari...: Problem with series 7 38 May 19, 2018 03:56PM  

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Brian O'Sullivan was born in county Cork, Ireland. On completing a degree at University College Cork, he went on to travel extensively. He is now based in New Zealand with his family but returns to Ireland on a regular basis.

Brian writes fiction that incorporates strong elements of Irish culture, language, history and mythology. These include literary short stories (The Irish Muse collection),

Other books in the series

Irish Woman Warrior (2 books)
  • Liath Luachra: The Swallowed (Irish Woman Warrior, #2)