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Lion of Ireland (Brian Boru #1)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  2,836 ratings  ·  162 reviews
King, warrior, and lover Brian Boru was stronger, braver, and wiser than all other men-the greatest king Ireland has ever known. Out of the mists of the country's most violent age, he merged to lead his people to the peak of their golden era.

His women were as remarkable as his adventures: Fiona, the druidess with mystical powers; Deirdre, beautiful victim of a Norse invade
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 6th 2002 by Tor Books (first published February 26th 1980)
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Outlander by Diana GabaldonDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierDragonfly in Amber by Diana GabaldonVoyager by Diana GabaldonSon of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
Great Celtic Fiction
14th out of 245 books — 305 voters
Outlander by Diana GabaldonThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Best Historical Fiction Set in UK and Ireland
93rd out of 973 books — 1,075 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Feb 04, 2008 Saoirseobx rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Mike (the Paladin)
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
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.
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.
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
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
Teri Heyer
Jan 29, 2013 Teri Heyer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
Bart Breen
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
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
Would of been 5 stars if not for the repeated sex scenes.
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.
David Teachout
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.
by Ax

Questo romanzo ha nelle sue fondamenta alcune premesse che mi sono care: ambientazione storica, personaggi fieri e umani, esempi di forza e magnanimità, grandi battaglie. Racconta le gesta di Bian Boru, entrato nella leggenda per aver strenuamente combattuto, in nome della sua amata Irlanda, contro i vichinghi intorno all'anno mille.
Mi sono avvicinato con sincero affetto, ma devo ammettere che non sono riuscito a calarmi nell'atmosfera. È mancato un certo senso di potenza e imperiosità
Aug 09, 2015 Tess rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love Ireland, people who love A Song of Ice and Fire
Fascinating look at a time period I knew nothing about. Felt like it should have been an epic fantasy, but it's really about a historical figure. Definitely enjoyed it, though I wish Fiona had been in the story more. Maybe she's a spin off in another book by the same author? (hope hope hope)
I read this because it was on a list of books to read while you're waiting for more A Song of Ice and Fire - A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, an
Brian mac Cennedi, born 941 in Thoman, northern Munster, became a galvanizing force in repelling the Norseman invaders and in appeasing (or conquering) the bickering Irish warlords to transform Ireland into a cohesive national union (circa 1,002 AD). Not much from recorded history is known about this military/political figure. Accordingly, author Morgan Llewelyn was free to paint with broad strokes the picture of Ireland's first king (Brian Boru in her novel) as a man large in stature with a str ...more
The story of Brian Boru, the greatest high King of Ireland. It's historical fiction, about the struggles of all the Irish in the end of the first century, and the awesome rise of a leader who followed his dream for a better Ireland. Of course the future he envisioned could not , and would not come without great sacrifice. He was awe inspiring to his followers as well as his enemies. He was intelligent and brave, deeply introspective. This story was told in such an intriguing way that I could not ...more
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
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
The carry-me-away interest that Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley accomplished in their Arthurian novels of Britain, Ms. Llywelyn failed to achieve for Ireland in the Dark Ages with this book. Frankly, the Wikipedia entry for Brian Boru was more interesting and a lot clearer, despite the difficult Celtic names.

A good historical novel engages my interest by giving me a broad sense of the culture, events, and environment in which the book is set. This book feels very generic to me: insert her
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
Being part Irish and having a son named Brian, I found a lot to like in this book. I learned quite a bit about Irish history, which is one of the things I love to find in my literary choices. The author is well known for her research and knowledge of Irish history, and it shows. I confess to skipping through some of the battle scenes and the formal court hooha, but for the most part, this book held my interest and kept me reading too late at night.

I loved the main character, Brian Bóruma mac Cen
3.75 stars. I was slightly disappointed with this book. I guess I thought I was going to love it and although it was well written I found myself struggling to continue reading this one over the other books I was working on at the same time. I don't feel like I ever grew really attached to any of the characters. There was one spot at the very end that I thought had a nice emotional touch but it was short lived. There were also a lot of loose strings that were never resolved. That is never a good ...more
A fascinating(and fantastic) fictionalised biopic of Brian Boru's bloody rise to High King Of Ireland. Set in the 10th & 11th centuries,Morgan Llywelyn recreates an Ireland ravaged by fierce Viking hordes,while it's own clans bicker amongst themselves. Obviously well-researched,the graphic battle scenes and complex political intrigue leap from the page,and Boru is an enigmatic leader of men,and yet he is human too,and his often dark relationships with first his brother,and then the three ver ...more
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Love and Loyalty 2 29 Aug 23, 2013 05:35PM  
Novel Books & Rea...: Llywelyn, Morgan ; Lion of Ireland "Informal Buddy Read" (Start Date: July 1, 2013) 19 268 Jul 07, 2013 11:12AM  
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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...

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