Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Finn Mac Cool” as Want to Read:
Finn Mac Cool
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Finn Mac Cool

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,584 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Somewhere in the shadowy borderland between myth and history lies the territory of Finn Mac Cool, Mightiest of the Irish heroes, leader of the invincible army of Fianna, he was a man of many faces: warrior, poet, lover, creator, destroyer.He had it all and lost it all, but in the end he gained immortality.

Morgan Llywelyn, bestselling author of Lion of Ireland, has enthrall
Mass Market Paperback, 531 pages
Published March 15th 1995 by Tor Books (first published 1994)
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 Finn Mac Cool, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Finn Mac Cool

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Vittoria Liant
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bingo2016
Davvero, davvero bello questo libro che affonda le sue origini nella mitologia celtica. Qui si narra la storia di un uomo che è diventato una leggenda e noi, da bravi spettatori assistiamo a come questa leggenda sia nata. Conosciamo Finn attraverso i suoi stessi occhi e partecipiamo all'intricato intreccio che sono verità è leggenda, fatti e magia, che aleggiano intorno a questo straordinario personaggio. La Llywelyn ha saputo creare un personaggio ricco di sfaccettature ed intensità che non pot ...more
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Morgan Llywelyn writes historical fiction based on figures from Irish history and so called myth. This one is based on the Finn Mac Cool legends. I thought it was worth reading but not nearly as good as Lion of Ireland or Red Branch. She throws in a lot of silly crap like Finn Mac Cool having problems with premature ejaculation! However whats good in this is really good so its certainly of interest to any Celtophile, or if you like fantasy or mythology.
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel, Morgan Llywelyn takes Irish folk hero Finn Mac Cool and puts him in a historical context, explaining how he grew to be a larger-than-life figure in folklore. I read this book in a week, which is incredibly fast for me; Llywelyn has a quick and smooth writing style that immediately draws you in and doesn't relent until the final page. All of the characters felt real and tangible, and Llywelyn does an excellent job of portraying many of her characters - even the minor ones - in such ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
IMHO, even though Ms. Llywelyn has "adopted" Ireland over her native Wales, she is probably the best "fictional history" author of Irish myths and legends out there.

Here, she has brought the tales and myths of the great warrior, Finn Mac Cool (Chuchulain), together in a way that makes the myths more easy to understand by giving you the landscape, context and background of the country and times.

Myths and legends - by the mere fact that they were almost wiped out by Christianity via absorbtion or
Douglas Hayes
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it
I generally enjoyed the story. It's fascinating to read a fictional story about a tremendously popular historical personage. I find myself wondering if what I am reading is documented in history, or just part of the fictional packaging. The author provided a fairly extensive bibliography.

The hero (the great Finn Mac Cool) is rather an anti-climactic and a-historic personality in the story. He was clearly a gifted, charismatic and exceptional man - and yet the end of his life is so disappointing
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really want to read a good retelling of Irish legend, but this book wasn't it. There were sparks of humor, sparks of good characterization, sparks of mystery and the thrill you get in your bones when an old old tale is retold well--in other words, sparks of what I am looking for--but they were just sparks. As a whole, I was left flat. I also must confess that the author note on the jacket--pointing out the author's lofty IQ and membership in Mensa--may have biased me against the book from the ...more
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buy
It was very good but i felt like the ending was very half done. I was pretty disappointed after being so enthralled and in love with this book, and then to have it just kind of trail off was upsetting. I would still recommend it, just be prepared.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Heather by: self
Such an interesting book. I love the myths and legends of Ireland! To this day, I remember the way the men ran for days in this book every time I run anywhere (OK, that isn't very often, but hey!). I enjoyed the characters in this book and the magic of Ireland.
Alethea Hammer
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it

A re-telling of the Celtic legend in more human terms. Rather the same approach Mary Stewart used in her Merlyn Trilogy. I didn't really enjoy it as much, perhaps because I was less familiar with the various versions of the Finn Mac Cool legend.
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finn Mac Cool is a man who became a legend, whose life story grew beyond the realm of history and into myth itself. Finn has been described as “the mightiest of all Irish heroes.” He was born as one of the lowest members of ancient Irish society, raised by foster parents and apprenticed to a local poet. He grew to become the legendary leader of the first army of Ireland – and much more.

For fans of Historical Fiction, Morgan Llywelyn’s books are must reads. Her works span much of Ireland’s rich h
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finn Mac Cool was, for me, a riveting read. Although it is fiction and should be taken as such, it serves both as a good introduction to Irish history and mythology and as an attempt to somewhat disect the mythos surrounding one of Ireland's most venerated heroes.

Morgan Llywelyn plays with the various legends about the great man, offering realistic scenarios that are then spun by Finn or others to make him seem supernatural or just superhuman. Unfortunately, the problems really start when he be
Keith Bell
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated by Irish folklore since my teens. Read this when it was first published and recently dug through some old books and dove back in. Llyewelyn does a great job of bringing the legends to life with a hint of magic/fantasy but never crossing over to it explicitly. She blurs reality to make it seem magical; it's all in the perception.
Dawn Lennon
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Medieval myths could be construed as a kind of an early (very early) form of "reality" entertainment, so full of oversized characters, fantastic feats, extraordinary coincidences often mysterious and surreal. They pit man against man, man against nature, and man against himself simultaneously. This is what we get in this novel, named for the legendary Irish mythical hero, Finn Mac Cool.

Based on this legendary hero from the Fenian Cycle of Irish folklore, it paints an in-depth picture of the comp
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it
I always see references to Finn Mac Cool, but I didn't really know much about who he was or what he did. It was very interesting to see how the author crafted this legendary ancient Celtic figure into life. I learned a lot about how the Celtic tribes were run and how Finn was in charge of the High King's warriors at one time. It was interesting to learn about Brehon law and their different degrees of marriage and other types of laws of that time. Finn was a warrior and poet and leader. He had a ...more
Jonathan Olivier
Dec 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clunky, stilted and boring. Poorly told story, flat characters, and dialogue straight out of a Hollywood B movie. I couldn't take it any longer or stay awake and have up before I started hating Irish legends as much as I hated the author for butchering them to a yawning end.
Jan 11, 2009 added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tommy /|\
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
While I am a huge fan of Llewelyn's - and very into the mythologies related to the Celts, I was initially disappointed with this novel. Through the first 100 to 150 pages - I found the story wandering a great deal with no strong focus. However, once the story gets rolling -- it definitely gets rolling, and I was sucked straight in. The last two-thirds of the book were very difficult to put down - and I found myself with a great deal of empathy for the main character throughout. The detail of the ...more
Josh Olsen
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
I was sceptical about this book when I first picked it up, but if was a great book. Morgan Llywelyn took the mythical tales of the Tuatha de dannan and bent some reality about their feats, she took the stories of Fionn MacChumhail and put a wonderful spin on some fairly fantastic and unbelievable actions. Excellent job of combing the mythos with more realistic reasoning to give a possible explanation for the tales, without ever truly harming the tales beneath. She made the hero into a man, and m ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. Finn MacCool starts very slowly for me. It took me a while to get into the story proper. I found the book to have a lot of filler that was a little ridiculous and unnecessary; overall it was very hit and miss. The core myths relating to Fionn MacCumhaill are what make this more than a decent work of fiction. The stories are (for anyone who knows them) captivating and awe-inspiring. Llywelyn captures the magic of the tales and presents them well. This book is a ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
It helps to know several of the Finn Mac Cool (Fionn mac Comhaill) myths before starting this booth. Morgan Llywelyn spins fascinating story-behind-the-story explanations as to how Finn became larger than life. What's more, we find a bit of ourselves in the, complex, flawed, likable, tragic hero. Llywelyn also manages to leave just enough mystery, not allowing our modern sandpaper eyes to rub all of the luster from the mysterious world we live in. I have read a lot of Morgan Llywelyn and I say t ...more
May 31, 2009 rated it liked it
I finally finished this book. It seemed to take me quite awhile to get into it. For me it was somewhat similar to Juliet Marrillier's books, in that is was taking a legend and telling how it could have come about. I knew nothing about the mythical Finn Mac Cool before reading this. I enjoyed this book, and even cried at the end which surprised me.
Justin Anthony
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and was really not sure what to expect. I'd love to know how much of this is actually true about the person Finn Mac Cool but the author does an excellent job of making you love, hate, and feel truly sorry for several of the characters. Great read if you're interested in plausible stories of a historical character.
Laurie Williams
I read Morgan Llwelyn's LION OF IRELAND when I was in high school. I have been a Llwelyn fan ever since. I like the flesh and blood Finn Mac Cool she presents, including his flaws. He is a very plausible human being in this version instead of a larger than life character. I also enjoyed rich the historical context.
Oct 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Finn Mac Cool is an interesting man, someone who blends legend with fact until he is also uncertain how much of his colourful history in story is actually true. As a matter of fact, true magic does seem to overlap with the magic he invented. The character had a great deal of appeal and was certainly sympathetic, but the story tended to drag here and there, especially at the end.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Llywelyn crafts another well-researched novel about an iconic Irish figure. She treats Finn as an historical figure, and presents a tale bordering between magic and reality in which Finn creates the myth of himself. The novel has some annoying parts, when the author jumps between the minds of several characters in a confusing fashion, but overall this is a solid story.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true Celtic Epic!! I just love this author and have never been disappointed by any of her works. This tale of early Gaelic warriors and kings is an adventure to relish. It also has a bit of Sidh magic which is a must in the world of the Celts!!!
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: irish history and myth lovers
Finn MacCool is one of the many characters in Irish history that is part real human, part myth, with little to no known separation between the two. Another interesting read by Llywelyn, weaving together the numerous myths, legends, and historical facts into one fascinating story.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Usually I get hooked off of the back page description of the book, but this one left everything up to the imagination. It ended up being a really good story that keeps you guessing as to what is fantasy and what is reality.
Patricia M. Hawkins
Editing Spoils Enjoyment of Good Tale.

Trying to read a book with so many mistakes made it difficult to get through. It was a chore rather than an enjoyment. I made it through as it was a good story.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • I Am of Irelaunde: A Novel of Patrick and Osian
  • The Book of Kells
  • The Great Shame: And the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World
  • Sherwood (Sherwood, #1)
  • Celtic Myths and Legends (Myths of the World)
  • The Táin: From the Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge
  • The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom: A Celtic Shaman's Sourcebook
  • Ars Magica
  • Brigid of Kildare
  • Circle of Stones (Circle, #1)
  • De Historia Et Veritate Unicornis/on the History   and Truth of the Unicorn
  • Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy
  • Mordred's Curse
  • Dreaming the Hound (Boudica, #3)
  • Celtic Mythology
  • Kingdom of Summer
  • The Irish Fairy Book
  • The Wild Hunt
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »