Posted Mon, 05/01/06
Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon playing variations of Mahjong, reading The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd, and grazing on Chinese food: chicken chow mein, ham fried rice, broccoli & beef, and Kung Pao chicken. All of the above mentioned edibles were quaffed down with Arizona Iced Tea with Lemon.
Since Wilbert sleeps most of the day, I've taken to spreading a blanket on the floor, on top of which I pile several pillows and another blanket. I lie down to read and write, or watch television as the mood strikes me, with Foofer and Rainee surrounding me. The weather has recently turned warm, so our central air is now set to automatic. It can get quite chilly on the floor, thus the second blanket. The pooches love the arrangement, liking nothing better than to stretch out on the softness of the bottom-layer decorative throw. Talk about babies on a blanket…
My father mailed me a box of books on loan, one of which was The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd. I love lengthy and especially well-written books, so The Princes of Ireland suits me (776 pages). The author writes in Michener-like fashion, which I appreciate most heartily. No flimsy reads for me.
The following is a partial description of the story from Random House:
While vividly and movingly conveying the passions and struggles that shaped the character of Dublin, Rutherfurd portrays the major events in Irish history: The tribal culture of pagan Ireland; the mission of St. Patrick; the coming of the Vikings and the founding of Dublin; the glories of the great nearby monastery of Glendalough and the making of treasures like the Book of Kells; the extraordinary career of Brian Boru; the trickery of Henry II, which gave England its first foothold in Medieval Ireland. The stage is then set for the great conflict between the English kings and the princes of Ireland, and the disastrous Irish invasion of England, which incurred the wrath of Henry VIII and where this book, the first of the two part Dublin Saga, draws to a close, as the path of Irish history takes a dramatic and irrevocable turn.
The book reads well, and blends fact into fiction quite effortlessly. The characters are rich and alive, threading together splendidly. Rutherfurd is an amazing writer; one all authors should take notes from. I don't mean take as in stealing naturally, but observing his style could possibly give rise to some individual inspiration and/or direction.
Dad also sent me part two of Rutherfurd's Dublin Saga, The Rebels of Ireland, which is even longer than the first volume (863 pages). I'm looking forward to delving into that tale, and I'm going to investigate Rutherfurd's other works as well (Sarum, Russka, London, and The Forest).
My father was given the books as a gift last Christmas by a colleague who travels quite a bit. I imagine this friend does a lot of reading as he flies across the globe each year. I can see why he chose Rutherfurd's writing first and foremost.