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Druids “Mine was the vast dark sky and the spaces between the stars that called out to me; mine was the promise of magic”So spoke the young Celt Ainvar centuries before the enchanted age of Arthur and Merlin An orphan taken in by the chief druid of the Carnutes in Gaul Ainvar possessed talents that would lead him to master the druid mysteries of thought healing magic and battle— talents that would make him a soul friend to the Prince Vercingetorix though the two youths were as different as fire and iceYet Ainvar’s destiny lay with Vercingetorix the sun bright warrior king Together they traveled through bitter winters and starlit summers in Gaul rallying the splintered Celtic tribes against the encroaching might of Julius Caesar and the soulless legions of Rome From the Paperback edition

10 thoughts on “Druids

  1. says:

    Ainvar is a young Celt of the tribe of the Carnutes He has always been fascinated by the druids of his clan those wise men who know earth magic and are responsible for so many of the important moments of life for the Celts in Free Gaul One night he slips away to watch a ceremony in which the druids hope to end the harsh winter which has been dragging on longer than normal What Ainvar does not know is that his grandmother his only living relative is to play an important part in this ceremony In his ignorance Ainvar intervenes and what happens when he does causes the chief druid Menua to take the boy into his lodge and begin training him as a druidWe don't really know all that much about the early Celts They had no written history so the main sources of information about them are from their enemies and eventual conuerors such as Julius Caesar Llywelyn did a wonderful job taking what was known and imagining a little then blending it all with the history of Gaul in early Roman times She tells a wonderful story but I must admit that even though I rated the book four stars I struggled through much of the second half It seemed like at some point the only thing we were all doing was waiting for Caesar to attack This got a bit dull at times but the parts with Ainvar learning and performing his druid magics were much interestingWhen Menua first took the boy into his lodge for example he was an awkward young thing all accident prone and clumsy Here is what happens when Menua scolds him about behaving that way I couldn't help but laugh Look to nature he advised me Every creature that emerges from the Cauldron of Creation is as graceful as it can be according to its physical abilities Thus do willow tree and water rat alike honor the life within themselves Life is sacred a spark from the Source of All BeingBut you blunder about as if your joints were untied AinvarThere is scolding then Menua points at the boy and yells Celebrate yourself and his 'bones obeyed' He uit slumping he noticed for the first time how cleverly his hands worked One last bit of lecture from Menua and then these thoughts from Ainvar The chief druid never made an awkward gesture even when he scratched himself Every movement was fluid celebrating the ability to moveI was so impressed I even believed he farted musically Ainvar and his druid magic try to protect the people of Free Gaul from Caesar and his legions The final section of the book is full of their war seen here from the Gaul's point of view Specifically from the druid point of view At one point when a newly planted vineyard is destroyed by the enemy Ainvar says The polluted earth cried out to us begging to be healedWouldn't it be wonderful if there were still druids among us? People who could feel and hear the earth understand its magic and try to make up for everything we humans have done to it? I wonder if they would be successfulor has too much time passed?I've already started on the seuel to this book titled The Greener Shore I think it will make me wish even than this book did that I had the magic of the druids

  2. says:

    Walking through a used bookstore I noticed the name Morgan Llywelyn on a 1 book; I knew the name and saw on goodreads that it had gotten roughly 4 stars so I thought I'd pick it up and add it to my Roman themed reading list A semi historical fiction novel about the Gauls in the time of Julius Caesar Druids tells the story of Vercingetorix's friends Ainvar the Chief Druid at the timeAinvar is a total asshole And I don't just mean that in a contemporary morality kind of way; he is repeatedly shown to be an asshole in the context of his morality system spoiler take for instance his cuckolding of his best friend just because he was horny Oh I mean he needed 'sex magic' Not that there are ever any conseuences for these actions; other characters are just there to be used by him He also is kind of an idiot He's supposed to be super smart but he keeps confidently making predictions that turn out WRONG giving suggestions that a dumb etc etcOK so the main character isn't great What about the story? Well it is kind of kind of the story of Vercingetorix's Gaulish confederacy but it's about Ainvar the Druid and how Awesome he supposedly is and how many women he has As great as it is to see the parts about The Druid Llywelyn goes a bit over the top in making these people sound like the spiritually perfect savagesEven worse the final section of the fight against Caesar is just terrible It reads like a list of battles which isn't very fun to read And some of the greatest battles where some pretty amazing things happen Caesar's siege of Alesia which are ripe for explication and description are left underexplainedIt's disappointing because at first the book seemed like it had a lot of potential but it all got wasted

  3. says:

    First a masterful story told by a masterful storyteller I found it fascinating that the author was able to remain true to history and left the story with a sad ending However she told the story well enough that I did not feel sad at the end but triumphant A recurring motif in the book was that death is not the end a tenet of Druid beliefA very enchanting story of spiritual Gauls Wonderful incorporation of real Celtic myths and real history Caesar invades Gaul in the book as he does in history but this book tells the story of the besieged Too often we simply say that Caesar made his name in conuering Gaul What of the residents of Gaul? What was their fate?Highly recommended as a dramatized historical account political commentary collection of forgotten Celtic religious myths and even economic contrast between the economies of ancient Gaul and Roman Empire

  4. says:

    This story is one of my all time favorites that weaves history magic and culture with a breathtakingly inspired style of storytelling Everywhere I travel to that has a bookstore I search for this book and currently own 3 copies of this gem

  5. says:

    On a whim I bought this book at the Goodwill Store seeing the author's name and knowing her reputation I was uite pleased with my purchase and I really enjoyed this story I was impressed how Ms Llywelyn took what scant information there is on the Druids added her own literary license and combined them into a plausible recreation of Druidic practices and beliefs The Chief Druid of the Carnutes in Gaul recognizes that a young orphan boy Ainvar has a druidic gift within him and wants to fan it into flame He and the other Druids teach Ainvar Druid lore Ainvar becomes Chief Druid after years of study He becomes soulfriend to Vercingetorix of the Arverni after their manhood ceremony together at fifteen The druids believed life is a continuum you live you die you are reborn Soulfriend would mean you had a close friendship in a past lifetime as well as in this one Celtic Christian monks had the same soulfriend concept Gallia Narbonensis today's Provence France is already under Roman control; Caesar comes as proconsul He then tries to conuer the rest of Gaul as well as tribes to the North and West Belgae and Nervi Tribe after tribe are subdued Vercingetorix unites many of the unconuered tribes and with Ainvar at his side resists Caesar's onslaughts until the conuest of Gaul is completed at the bloody Battle of AlesiaThe writing was excellent as well as characterizations and dialogue I was glad to read something from the indigenous people's point of view for once With their view of nature and spirituality Druids sounded like Native Americans from the author's concept I enjoyed reading about the Celtic daily lifestyle and customs The Romans were minor characters Highly recommended

  6. says:

    This is one of my favorite books by Morgan Llywelyn especially because it presents the untold perspective of the Gauls facing the invasion of Caesar Llewelyn does a superb job of combining historical fact into the story without making it a dry read which is proof why she is one of the master's of Celtic fiction She also does an excellent job of showing the human sides of the larger than life characters Ainvar and Vercingetorix who share a spiritual friendship often characterized by conflict and opposing views in the real world of stopping Caesar Two small complaints against this book which can be attributed to literary license Llywelyn's incorrect etymologies for names for example Vercingetorix as king of the world and her use of Irish names instead of Gaulish names for some of the characters But despite these two personal pet peeves a very well written and masterful tale full of magic hope determination and ultimately loss

  7. says:

    This book is fabulous It chronicles the ending of the height of the Druids as Ceasar brings into Gaul the ways of the Romans and their Christian religion This is the movie I would make if I had the money and talent

  8. says:

    According to the great Wiki A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain Ireland and Gaul and possibly other parts of Celtic western Europe during the Iron Age Very little is currently known about the ancient druids because they left no written accounts about themselves and the only evidence of them is a few descriptions left by Greek and Roman authors and stories created by later medieval Irish writers While archaeological evidence has been uncovered pertaining to the religious practices of the Iron Age people 'not one single artefact or image has been unearthed that can undoubtedly be connected with the ancient Druids' Various recurring themes emerge in a number of the Greco Roman accounts of the druids including that they performed human sacrifice believed in a form of reincarnation and that they held a high position in Gaulish society Next to nothing is known about their cultic practice except for the ritual of oak and mistletoe as described by Pliny the Elder With this information in mind little as it is the author wrote a wonderfully compelling tale about the Roman invasion of the Gaul lands This area encompassed today's France Luxembourg and Belgium most of Switzerland the western part of Northern Italy as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine Llywelyn created Druid characters and Gaul personalities who war to repel the invading Romans The tribes the author uses are listed among the Gaul tribes Prince Vercingetorix was a real leader who united the tribes to war against the Romans The story is embellished in a wonderful way by the author as he details the battles the Druid influence and includes family and friendship connections I truly enjoyed this read as I knew little about the Druids and the Gauls prior to reading this novel Well done

  9. says:

    The rituals that made me a little sueamish just because it's me aside I adored this book Listening to the main character a druid talk about nature and the earth and the connectedness of it all was just what I needed I had been missing that You don't hear alot of natural balance talk in this townI had this in the back of my mind as one to read for a bit and I'm glad I finally took the plunge and read it I know only bits and pieces of druid lore mostly from movies and other books but I loved the historical setting of this novel pre Roman conuestThe characters were all well developed I thought and had failings which I always appreciate Those too perfect people in some books make me a little nauseated and I always feel like that are not nearly as real as the ones that make a butt load of mistakes you know like the rest of us doAll in all read it skim the parts that make you sueamish and revel in the celebration of life

  10. says:

    The first of the Llywelyn books I read mainly because of my interest in Druidry and those bits and pieces of history that get brushed aside in the interest of providing an overview of World history this is an interestingly fictionalized account of what it may have been like back thenIt certainly opened my eyes as to the increasingly inaccurate views of modern Druidry that have sprung up since the 1940's especially during the hippie movement of the 1960 when rebellion was the norm and doing anything anti Christian was considered coolWhile Christianity has certainly not left me feeling fulfilled it is still a part of me and my spiritual path Ms Llywelyn's writing certainly helped me put some of that in perspective taking it out of the realm of Peace Love and putting it back into that of the WarriorIt's a good work of fiction and from my readings well researched though colored with Ms Llywelyn's own viewtake on things

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