Blog Tour: The Chronicles of Iona by Paula de Fougerolles

Hi Blisses,

TITLE: The Chronicles of Iona: Exile
BY: Paula de Fougerolles
SERIES: The Chronicles of Iona #1
GENRE: Historical Fiction
LENGTH: 394 pages
PUBLICATION: May 25th 2012 by Careswell Press
NOTES: I received an e-copy from the author via the blog tour host in exchange for an honest review and promotion. My review is honest and unbiased.

BLURB

The Chronicles of Iona: Exile tells the story of the Irish monk and Scottish warrior, Saint Columba and Aedan mac Gabran, who would band together to lay the foundation of the nation of Scotland.  They were a real-life 6th-century Merlin and King Arthur and their story has never been told.

The book begins in 563 A.D.  The Roman Empire is long gone, freeing the region of Scotland from the threat of imperial rule but opening it to chaos from warring tribes vying for control. Columba, a powerful abbot-prince, is exiled from Ireland to the pagan colony of Dal Riata on Scotland’s west coast for an act of violence. There he encounters Aedan, the down-and-out second son of the colony’s former king, slain by the Picts.

Together, this unlikely pair travels the breadth of a divided realm, each in search of his own kind of unity.  Their path is fraught with blood feuds, lost love, treachery, dark gods and monsters, but also with miracles and valor.  Beset on all sides, their only hope is to become allies—and to forge a daring alliance with the pagan Picts.

How Columba overcame exile and a crisis of faith to found the famous monastery of Iona (one of the greatest centers of learning in Dark Age Europe) and, from it, the Celtic Church in the British Isles; and how Aedan avenged his father’s death and became, against all odds, the progenitor of Scottish kings and the greatest warlord of his age, begins here.

For both, what begins as a personal imperative becomes a series of events that lead to the foundation of Iona and the kingdom of Scotland—events that literally change the world.

TWO-SENTENCE REVIEW

This is so well-written and held my interest till the end. Definitely a must-read even if you’re not a history lover.

REVIEW

First of all, I have no idea of this part of history and who these people are before reading this book. LOL. But spoiler alert, I enjoyed reading this book so much.

This book is set in 6th century A.D. and to be honest, at first, that was enough for me to lose interest. If not for this blog tour, I don’t think I will ever pick a book that is set in that period. The story follows an Irish monk, St. Columba, and a Scottish warlord by the of Aedan mac Gabran, who eventually became Columba’s advisor. I always find it hard to describe the qualities of characters that are based on real people. All I can say is if I enjoyed how they were depicted in the story, and in this case, they were. I really enjoyed reading the historical accounts in the eyes of the characters.

It is also fascinating for me to see these characters not only in the events that were written in history but also in very mundane things. I love seeing historical figures doing mundane stuff. They become human beings in my eyes and not just figures in the history books. And I think the author really did a great job at introducing the Columba and Aedan to the readers. As I said, I have no idea about this part of history and these people before reading this book, and still, I find the characters and the events very interesting to read and definitely worth my time. I mean all parts of history are worth our time but like I always say in my reviews of historical fiction, I’m not a fan of history.

The thing about writing historical fiction that is based closely on real events is it’s important for the author to choose the events that she will include in the book. Sure, every part of the history is important but in Historical Fiction, the author must decide which ones really matter to the story she’s telling and themes she’s trying to tackle. And I think in Chronicles of Iona, the author did a great job at it.

I was so fascinated by how the events unfold. It’s like I was watching a movie and everything was clear and makes sense. I was seriously trying to remember every part of the history that was featured. This book made me feel like I will do wrong if I don’t remember what I read. That doesn’t sound sensible but whatever. LOL.

The writing is superb. Though I must say this isn’t a book that aims to entertain. The Chronicles of Iona is the kind of book that needs undivided attention from the reader. But it isn’t hard to read as well. The writing is designed to make the reader glued to the pages.

RATING: 4.5 blissful pages with lilies

This book is surprisingly a page-turner. I was interested in what I’m reading till the end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula de Fougerolles has a doctorate from the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, and has taught and published in the field. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Scotland and Ireland, including a prestigious year-long Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in which she criss-crossed Europe in search of the physical remains of the so-called Dark Ages–research which ultimately led to this award-winning historical fiction series.

LINKS

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Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.

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