My review of Fiery Arrow by Sheila Lamb is now published on the Historical Novel Society website.
This novel was the second instalment in a series set in ancient Ireland. It is the tale of Saint Patrick, largely told from the perspective of Brigid. The role of Brigid alternates between that of a young girl and the goddess of Irish myth, an interesting juxtaposition. The novel details Patrick’s capture and servitude in Ireland, a common practice of the time, as well as Brigid’s druid training and past life as the goddess. There is a connection between Patrick and Brigid, which is gradually built upon throughout their various adventures, culminating when they realize they had been together in their past lives.
Their tale is, presumably, continued in a subsequent novel. This novel has great potential, but the narration was a bit disjointed at times, although it might not have felt that way if I had read the first instalment of the series. One thing that could use some further revision is after Patrick’s escape, where the time jumps ahead nearly twenty years with no warning. It made the plot difficult to follow. The perspective changed from first person, which was used for Brigid, and third person, used for Patrick. It was helpful for keeping track of who was speaking as there was not always an indication that the narrator had changed. The minor quibbles with the editing aside, this was an interesting novel and should appeal to those with an affinity for the mythic prehistory of Ireland, and its conversion to Christianity.