Call of the Morrigu

Written by Christy Nicholas
Review by Thomas j. Howley

It’s 1798, a particularly tense time in always rebellious English-occupied Ireland. However, the troubles haven’t yet reached the country estate of Strokestown in County Roscommon. Theodosia “Dosie” Latimer and her sickly but always curious grandfather, Reginald, who runs the estate, are set on exploring and finding out what ancient Irish historical artifacts may be under mysterious mounds on the property. Incredibly, they unearth a long-buried and now rejuvenated war goddess from pre-Christian Ireland’s mythical past.

Morrígan is tall, strong, beautiful and entrancing. She’s also imperious and seemingly always angry at the state of 18th-century Ireland, especially at the presence of English invaders. Poor Dosie must try to tame and educate this mythical figure while simultaneously dealing with a dubious aristocratic fiancé, the declining health of her beloved grandfather, her insane and bedridden mother, and the oncoming storm of a war of liberation. As she and Morrígan are inevitably drawn into this battle, Dosey discovers the phenomenal strength that has always been untapped within her.

This is a charming and brilliant novel combining fascinating mythology and genuine history. The female characters are almost all formidable, interesting and sometimes even humorous. My only quibble is the total lack of a single strong male character. Even the few men who are positively portrayed are either mentally or physically weak. That said, the author’s prose and storytelling talent sparkle throughout. The second half of the book is particularly riveting as mythical Morrígan becomes an integral and imaginative feature in the genuine and tragic history of the 1798 Irish rebellion. I strongly recommend this book and keenly hope this is the first in a series featuring this enticing goddess of war.