Monday, October 23, 2006

Druids--4th Time's the Charmer

I have three non-fiction books titled Druids:

1. Peter Beresford Ellis’, which I devoured.
2. Nora Chadwick’s, which I slugged through and grumbled over,
3. Stuart Piggott’s, which, to be honest, I’m still edging through—but with surges of delight, because it really is a wonderful tome.

Now I’ve read a fourth book with the name Druids, by Morgan Llywellyn. It’s fiction. And a lot of fun.

Llywellyn's hero is a druid of the Carnute tribe who comes of age just before Caesar’s march through Gaul. His best—no, soul—friend is Vercingetorix, so you can see where the story’s going.

Llywellyn imagines a cosmology, customs, rituals, and philosophy for her druids that holds together and heightens the drama. I loved the book; it moved fast

99% imagination, though. I can see someone coming away from the book believing that sex magic was an important part of druidic practices in Iron Age Gaul. Hmmm.....

My only criticisms are that she left some loose ends. Why have a kidnapping that remains unresolved, for example? These are minor items.

The biggest thing that bothered me is that her character calls Vercingetorix “Rix.”

I completely agree that Vercingetorix is an unwieldy name for a main character and he needed something shorter. But Rix? Yo, king-dude? No!

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