- Author: Ali Isaac
- Published: December 2012 by Walker – Isaac Publishing
- Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
Conor Kelly is not your average hero. Trapped inside a body he can’t control, Conor’s mind is as active and alert as that of any teenage boy. On the outside, however, he’s about as interactive as a lump of wood.
Then he meets Annalee. She claims to be a Sidhe Princess, some kind of fairy royalty, apparently. She offers to take him into the magical realm, where her people wield the power to help him.
But is she just some child-snatching lunatic psychopath, or can she be trusted? On the other hand, what’s he got to lose?
Book One of the Tir na Nog Trilogy begins an epic fantasy adventure which takes us back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long lost legend, where fairy kings and Gods walked amongst mortals, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship, and courage were customary.
Intriguingly, the story opens 4,000 years ago with a prologue introducing the Fir Bolg. The King has had a disturbing dream, a warning of impending disaster. And as his people are readying themselves for war, the Tuatha de Danann are landing on the shores of Connemara.
This is an epic tale of myth and magic, woven in with the present day, and a very out of the ordinary hero. Conor Kelly, 14 years old, is confined to wheelchair, unable to walk or talk. As Conor waits for his monthly physiotherapy session, unusually completely alone, he is uneasy, frustrated and getting angry as he reflects on the limitations his disability imposes on him. When at last someone comes for him, it’s not who Conor expects. The mysterious Princess Annalee of the Sidhe has come to take him through the Faeth Fiadha and into Tir na Nog. Disbelieving and feeling very vulnerable Conor realises he is at Annalee’s mercy. He has to go where she takes him. And, much to his amazement, she can hear his thoughts and communicate telepathically with him. A new and exciting experience for Conor as he cannot interact with people in the normal way.
“Be wary of the mist, Conor. It is an enchantment fashioned by the great Sea-God Manannan, to keep Tir na Nog free from unwanted attention. You are safe now because you are with me, but if you were alone, the Faeth Fiadha as it is known in Irish, the Cloak of Concealment, would not tolerate your presence.”
And so, as Conor is given a glimpse into the past through the mist, he witnesses the meeting between the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha de Dannan and their fight for supremacy. His extraordinary adventure has begun and as the plot flows between past and present via magic portals, there is so much to keep the reader engaged. Action, battles, magic and the folklore and legendary inhabitants of ancient Ireland.
Conor is tasked with the salvation of the Sidhe and must find and reclaim the Four Treasures of Eirean. As he struggles to come to terms with the frustrations of his disability and the ordeal ahead, the discovery that he is descended from Lugh, the God of Lightning helps him gain a measure of control of his fears. Conor must release, and learn to trust, his hereditary powers if he is to succeed in his quest.
An excellent, well crafted and imaginative story, rich in Irish lore and mythology, with a large cast of complex, fleshed out characters. I love the way the past and present is integrated seamlessly throughout the narrative, including beautifully evocative historical sites, which all add to the Irish mystique and atmosphere. Conor, as the unusual and distinctive hero, is a wonderful protagonist. His development is significant as he learns so much and overcomes doubts and obstacles.
I enjoyed this story very much, especially delving deep into Ireland’s legends, and look forward to the rest of the series.
About the author
I grew up on a Greek island with only my books, my sister, a dog and a donkey for company. I was always reading, often with three or four books on the go at once. I first read Watership Down when I was nine years old. As a child, my favourite book was Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliffe, I loved the illustrations by Victor Ambrus, too. I then made the leap into Fantasy with the Belgarion series by David Eddings, and never looked back.
I began writing my first novel at the age of fourteen. I never finished it, but it lurks hopefully in the bottom of my desk, patiently awaiting the day when I bring it back to life.
Now, I am a wife, mother, and owner of Ireland’s most lunatic labradoodle. I am fortunate to live in beautiful, rural Ireland, but must confess to the occasional Greek escape to enjoy a little Mediterranean sun and cuisine.
I was inspired to write ‘The Four Treasures of Eirean’ by my daughter, Carys. Like Conor, she cannot walk or talk, but I am convinced she can understand far more than she is able to indicate to us.
I also wanted to share with others Ireland’s many astounding ancient sites, and the characters and legends associated with them. I am currently working on ‘The Fenian King’, Book 2 in The Tir na Nog trilogy, and the final book is called ‘The Three Waves of Eirean’