Warrior Daughter

Written by Janet Paisley
Review by Gwen Sly

In the Isle we now know as Skye, Kerrigan, Iron Age Queen of Warriors, has met a premature death. Living in a powerful matriarchy, women were highly regarded. Considered twice the value of men, they were mistresses of their own destinies, uninhibited sexually and trained in all the attributes of war. Kerrigan’s daughters, however, too young to claim leadership, have become outcasts. Skaaha, the eldest at eleven years old, leaves home with a father she did not know she had, to learn from the craft of a smith working in bronze, iron and silver.

Janet Paisley has drawn her latest novel, Warrior Daughter, from historical legend and gleaned the early life of Skaaha from archaeological and anthropological research. The rite of passage to womanhood is convincingly written, the author seeming totally immersed in the distant world she has created. The warrior lifestyle of the Celts is well attested to by Plutarch and Tacitus; Druidic culture had only oral tradition.

This is in many ways a surprising book that totally enthrals. It is also very erotic and gives warning in its overt feminism to the male species – be aware and cautious; remember, patriarchy was only brought to Britannia by the Roman conquest.

Placing her novel in the setting where remnants of the prehistoric past remain, exchanging possible facts for mythical elements, Ms Paisley has written a compelling story. I do not wish to detract from this but even the second Iron Age had ended by 25 BC, so why choose a birth date of 1 AD for Skaaha?