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A lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, reigniting the tale of Deirdre-the Irish Helen of Troy-in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty-and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple of his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man's possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi.

His heart charged with bitterness towards the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster - and into a war of wits, sword, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

Brimming with life and its lusts, here is a soaring tale of enchantment and eternal passions - and of a woman who became legend.


When I knew that I would be receiving an advanced copy of The Swan Maiden, I sat down to do research. After all, it was being sold as a retelling of one of Ireland's most enduring myths. Unfortunately, being a well-known myth doesn't automatically qualify for premiere internet status. In fact, there's not much information to go on to familiarize oneself with this legend, so when I finally received the book in hand and sat down to read, it was with a fresh eye, knowing very little about the myth and how it might be retold in a unique and exciting way.

I trust Jules as both an author who will keep my attention from the start and as a researcher who will keep true to the evidence available. So it was no surprise to me when I recognised even the smallest bits of the Swan Maiden tale I'd found online sprinkled into the story. In her author's note, Jules gives the name of the original telling of the Swan Maiden's story which I hope to read some day as the tale itself was indeed a beautiful yet tragic one. Just by reading the publisher's summary of the book, those familiar with the story of Helen of Troy will recognise similarities, but at the same time, Dierdre's story is definitely her own.

I highly recommend reading this book for anyone who loves Irish mythology, anyone who has loved Jules' previous books and those who enjoy a love story without all the sugar dripping from every page.

I'd give this book 20 stars out of 20, but the rating system doesn't go that high so I guess 5/5 will have to do.


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