Official Review: Ogham`s Realm:The Celtic Wolves

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Yolimari
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Official Review: Ogham`s Realm:The Celtic Wolves

Post by Yolimari » 02 Apr 2019, 02:18

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ogham`s Realm:The Celtic Wolves" by Rosemarie Shields.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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A pack of wolves, led by Faolchu, lives peacefully in the magnificent Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. In 1649, Lord Oliver Cromwell, a strict Protestant who hunts Catholics, invades Ireland. He orders his army to pursue and execute rebels, seize farms and lands, evict and kill peasants, and raze the forests. Lord Cromwell is also a hateful man who dislikes wolves, so he puts a bounty on them. On Hallows’ Eve of 1650, Rufus, Lord Cromwell’s favorite wolfhound, kills Faolchu. Mactire, Faolchu’s son, becomes the new pack leader. With the help of Ogham, a druid who is immortal and protects the realm between Earth and the eternal, and his dragon named Acorn, the pack of wolves flees to find a new home. Spoteen, a small but daring terrier, tags along with them. But Lord Cromwell and his army are not the only obstacles in the wolves’ journey, as Eeval, a sadistic banshee who thrives on destruction, famine, and plague, is roaming the lands. What will happen to the pack of wolves? Can Ogham guide them to safety?

Ogham’s Realm: The Celtic Wolves by Rosemarie Shields is a historical fiction and fantasy debut novel consisting of 200 pages. Shields’ writing is wonderful. Her style reminded me of the French historian Fernand Braudel, who came up with the idea of telling history while considering geography, nature, and cultural groups. Shields does that in this book by having wolves escaping an advancing army as the main characters and peasants suffering at the hands of the troops as the secondary characters. It allows her to show how Lord Cromwell and his forces devastated the Irish lands and committed inhuman acts against the Irish peasants during the invasion.

Shields also infuses this historical fiction story with a considerable dose of Irish folklore that gives the book its fantastical quality. The reader enjoys learning about druids, banshees, leprechauns, curses, clauricauns, and Celtic traditions, which are all central elements of Irish folktales. One of the scenes that impressed me the most was when the clauricauns attacked a soldier in an eerie, horrifying manner that I was not expecting at all.

A significant aspect of this book is the themes it covers. Shields captures how Lord Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland had destructive consequences on the environment and the population. For example, Lord Cromwell ordered the bounty on the wolves because they started to pray on the farm animals after the armies leveled the forests to the ground. The conquerors used the wood to build forts for the soldiers and houses for the new landlords. The lack of food and shelter caused famine and plague among the displaced population. To sum up, the reader grasps the damaging effects of war on the natural habitat of a country.

Ogham’s Realm: The Celtic Wolves deserves a 4 out of 4 stars rating. Shields’ writing is excellent. The story is full of fantastic Irish folklore. The themes of the book are timeless, yet not much talked about in history. Plus, the editing is outstanding. I cannot think of something I did not like about it. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and Irish folktales. Historians who adhere to the Annales school of thought would consider this a great historical fiction read too.

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Ogham`s Realm:The Celtic Wolves
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Ellylion
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Post by Ellylion » 09 Apr 2019, 13:06

I consider Irish folklore an essential part of world cultural heritage, it's so rich and unique! The book where historical fiction meets fantasy is really worth reading. And a story of a brave wolf pack makes it even more interesting :)

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Post by kandscreeley » 09 Apr 2019, 14:57

It sounds like this is one of those books that teaches you something while you are entertained. I love those types of books, as this is a time period I know little about. Sounds interesting. Thanks so much.
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 09 Apr 2019, 21:38

You had me at "a dragon named acorn." What an informed and thorough review! I tend to stay away from historical texts, but this mixture of history and fantastical folklore sounds thrilling. I trust that a reviewer who writes as well as you must know good writing when she sees. I think I could definitely give this book a try.

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Post by kdstrack » 09 Apr 2019, 23:34

The author uses an ingenious method of immersing the reader in history. I loved your summary of the book. Your description of the author's writing style makes me want to read this book. Thanks so much for your fascinating review.

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Post by Yolimari » 12 Apr 2019, 02:33

Ellylion wrote: ↑
09 Apr 2019, 13:06
I consider Irish folklore an essential part of world cultural heritage, it's so rich and unique! The book where historical fiction meets fantasy is really worth reading. And a story of a brave wolf pack makes it even more interesting :)
I was excited about reading it because I recently found out I have a bit of Irish blood (I did the ancestry DNA test), and I was not disappointed. I learned so much about Irish folklore through this story. The author did a fantastic job mixing fantasy, folklore, and history. Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

-Gabriel García Márquez

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Post by Yolimari » 12 Apr 2019, 02:44

kandscreeley wrote: ↑
09 Apr 2019, 14:57
It sounds like this is one of those books that teaches you something while you are entertained. I love those types of books, as this is a time period I know little about. Sounds interesting. Thanks so much.
Yes, I learned many things about Irish history and folklore through it. Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

-Gabriel García Márquez

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Yolimari
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Post by Yolimari » 12 Apr 2019, 02:55

Janelle Juncos wrote: ↑
09 Apr 2019, 21:38
You had me at "a dragon named acorn." What an informed and thorough review! I tend to stay away from historical texts, but this mixture of history and fantastical folklore sounds thrilling. I trust that a reviewer who writes as well as you must know good writing when she sees. I think I could definitely give this book a try.
Yes, the dragon has a cool name! The author does an excellent job mixing the genres. Thanks for the kind words! :D
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

-Gabriel García Márquez

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Post by Ellylion » 12 Apr 2019, 03:44

Yolimari wrote: ↑
12 Apr 2019, 02:33
Ellylion wrote: ↑
09 Apr 2019, 13:06
I consider Irish folklore an essential part of world cultural heritage, it's so rich and unique! The book where historical fiction meets fantasy is really worth reading. And a story of a brave wolf pack makes it even more interesting :)
I was excited about reading it because I recently found out I have a bit of Irish blood (I did the ancestry DNA test), and I was not disappointed. I learned so much about Irish folklore through this story. The author did a fantastic job mixing fantasy, folklore, and history. Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
Irish folklore is a constant source of inspiration to me. I always try to read and watch everything based on it I can reach! How great that this book helped you to explore your Irish heritage. :)

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Post by Prisallen » 14 Apr 2019, 08:55

A history and fantasy book sound like a strange combination, but it seems to work well together. This sounds like a very interesting novel. I will have to put it on my to read list. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Vscholz » 14 Apr 2019, 14:27

I've noticed that a lot of historical fiction shies away from the mythical and mystical beliefs of the time. Or maybe it is just history that focuses on the more Christian aspect. Folklore is such an important part of our lives, and, as a fan of the history of the British Isles, I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Chrystal Oaks » 14 Apr 2019, 20:19

Wow! This appears to be a fantastic book and sounds like it has the potential to be a classic. Irish folklore, fantasy, and historical fiction are all areas I enjoy reading. Thank you for the fantastic review!
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