Master of Earth and Water

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Paxson ( The White Raven ) and Martine-Barnes invent the childhood and adolescence of the legendary (possibly third century A.D.) Irish outlaw/poet, Fionn mac Cumhal in this first of several promised volumes. Raised in hiding by the wisewoman Bodbmall and the Liath Luachra (female warrior) to save him from his murderous druid grandfather, Demne (Fionn's childhood name) is torn by his foster mothers between a life of learning and one of action. As a youth he wins the spear-toss in the festival games, is honored by High King Conn and then must flee from Clan Morna, blood enemies of his dead father, warrior Cumhal mac Trenmor. Wandering nameless through the land, gaining knowledge of the world as he works as dog boy, fire tender and then apprentice to a smith, he eventually encounters his father's discredited fian (martial band) after killing an enchanted boar. Passing the fian 's manhood tests, he is set to join them, possibly as their next leader, when he feels impelled to flee once more to avert their destruction by Clan Morna. The mythic and mundane are artfully blended in this heroic, highly satisfying coming-of-age saga. (May)
Library Journal
Raised in isolation by a druid and a warrior-woman to protect him from those who would kill him, the young man called Demne spends his boyhood learning the paths of wisdom and war until a fateful encounter with the outside world awakens him to his larger destiny. Celtic specialist Martine-Barnes and fantasy author Paxson ( The Wolf and the Raven , LJ 3/15/93) combine their talents to recount the adventures of one of Ireland's legendary heroes. Vividly detailed and meticulously researched, this title will appeal to Celtophiles and fans of heroic fantasy.
Pat Monaghan
This first volume of a projected trilogy based on Ireland's epic cycle concerning Fionn mac Cumhal (Finn McCool) should be classed with Evangeline Walton's memorable novelizations of the Welsh mythic compendium, the "Mabinogian". Paxson and Martine-Barnes know their Celtic mythology superbly, but this is more than a simple retelling of old tales. The two have vividly imagined a world suitable to the magical exploits of Fionn and his foster mothers, the sorceress Bodbmall and the warrior Liath Luachra. Some of the magical incidents--as when the goddess Brigid appears to Fionn spiraled by swirling colors, or when Liath Luachra reveals her sea-serpent self--are not only eloquent within the context of this book but have the internal coherence of real myth. Splendidly paced, action-filled, gorgeously written, "Master of Earth and Water" whets the appetite for the rest of the trilogy.
From Barnes & Noble
This first chronicle of Fionn mac Cumhall tells the story of Ireland's greatest hero, left alone at a tender age to seek his true identity in lands perilous and strange, unaware of mysterious parentage & remarkable destiny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380758012
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Series: Legends of Fionn Maccumhall Ser.
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana L. Paxson is the award-winning author of The Lord of Horses, The Wolf and the Raven, The Dragons of the Rhine, The White Raven, and The Serpents Tooth, and coauthor (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes) of Master of Earth and Water, The Shield Between the Worlds, and Sword of Fire and Shadow, the chronicles of Fionn mac Cumhal. She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Master of Earth and Water

    This book tells the story of a boy and his childhood and coming of age. There is alot to this story as Demne is destined for greatness, but first must find his identity and come into the legacy left by his parents. I could not put it down and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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