Their Boyne starwatching complex had been active for centuries. The ancestors who dreamed and planned these mounds were long deceased.
Their descendants completed the work in stages and returned to older villages in the northwest, or began new villages elsewhere. Final alignment and carving of the stones proceeded bit by bit. Many Starwatchers declared that their grand mounds at the Boyne would never be duplicated. And, replied some, these mounds would never be finished.
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Their banter belied an unspoken fear. Fear had arrived with the intruders and their long bronze knives. Oghma saw his people working with a new urgency. He nodded at the bowmaker who was steaming pliant yew for bows, and again at the young man close by hewing hard ash for tools. The latter put down his flint adz and caught up with Oghma. Let us hope that Cian has both qualities.
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His people had little use for making weapons. Stacks of hides, rushes, willow stems, wool and bast, sinew and bone, awaited their artful hands. All, even scraps, would be made into useful items. He saw a woman, hair greying at her temples, bundling rushes to make a broom. It would have a sleek wooden handle, welcoming to the touch. He blinked hard, flooded with a vivid memory of his wife sweeping the flags around their hearth, and turned away.
He looked to see that livestock had been secured inside holding pens. He checked stores of cereals and roots, and hid his dismay at their depleted food supply in this young season of the sun.
That meager amount would have to suffice in the event— Villagers interrupted him with whispered queries about the boat sighted at dawn. He ordered a few young fellows to break from what they were doing and help Tadhg make pikes, wood poles sharpened into a spear point. Her ritual acts with fire transformed raw clay into ceramic. Pots held water and food essential for life, and pots enfolded their death-ashes. From the pliant brownish-red clay, she shaped a bowl with wide shoulders and squat body, then smoothed this pot with a curved bone and set it aside to cure. She was young and pretty but focused on her work, like his Boann.
She looked up and smiled.
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Your visit honors me. Have you decided yet on a marriage? She picked up a cured pot to decorate its leathery surface, and he caught his breath. If the vessel were less than perfect, the potter must discard it and begin again. Using a bone comb, she made intricate grooves meet flawlessly around its girth. The master potter showed her well—before taken by the fever, and now who could she take on as her own apprentice? He helped to stoke the kiln then wished her luck again, secretly humbled.
These huge mounds stood taller than a tall tree and spanned many trees across. His carving with stone chisel and mallet gave meaning to the mighty upright stones lining the passages and to the boulders forming the high kerb around the outside. His painstaking labor suited Oghma, it contented him. But on this equinox, the impending boat loaded with men and deadly weapons from afar irritated him like a thorn. Upon seeing copper, the Starwatchers hoped to learn how these strangers turned red-hot stones into a material that shone like the sun and cooled to the color of a shadow moon.
They allowed the miners to come and go in peace at that far coast. Starwatcher scouts followed the strangers who searched along the Boyne, poking at outcroppings and leaving behind piles of shattered and scorched rocks. The intruders wandered ever farther from their camp and began to take cattle and game as they pleased, despite the coming winter. Starwatchers avoided contact, fearing the metal knives—and fever. The strangers brought the death of his wife and others, too many others.
Then Cian quit his own people to live among the warriors, a thing almost unthinkable.
Bending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland
What should be done to protect their children? Should the Starwatchers confront these intruders? Will we tolerate another boatload of armed strangers, Oghma asked himself. His green eyes were clouding, his stone chisel slipping in his hand. Over his seasons, he buried two wives, and of his children only Boann survived.
Twice as many Starwatcher men survived beyond the age of twenty-five suns than did women; his people cherished their scarce women, and all children. He had lived a long time and only the Dagda counted more suns among those at the Boyne. While a young man, Oghma measured in the night skies and tracked daylight with the astronomers. Led by his mentor who was descended from the revered ancestor Coll, he learned to style the stones at the great starchambers with crisp precision, completing work on each stone at fairly regular intervals.
But that was decades ago. Pain shot through his joints in the damp chill, his shins stuck to the freezing soil as he knelt. His lean shoulders became stooped, and his thick dark hair whitened. Oghma toiled on in order to finish carving the massive kerbstones, with a quip to the Dagda that the stones might finish him first. All his hopes rested on Boann. In time, he might see his grandchild.
He was glad enough to see newborn lambs and the promise of flowers on this bright morning of the spring equinox. We have mastered the rhythms of the soil, of the salmon from the ocean, and especially those of the sky. Even the least clever among us know how to prosper here. Well before any Celts, marauders invade the island seeking copper and gold.
The young astronomer Boann and the enigmatic Cian need all their wits and courage to save their people and their great Boyne mounds, when long bronze knives challenge the peaceful native starwatchers. Banished to far coasts, Cian discovers how to outwit the invaders at their own game. Tensions on Eire between new and old cultures and between Boann, Elcmar, and her son Aengus, ultimately explode.
What emerges from the rubble of battle are the legends of Ireland s beginnings in a totally new light. Bending The Boyne draws on 21st century archaeology to show the lasting impact when early metal mining and trade take hold along north Atlantic coasts. Carved megaliths and stunning gold artifacts, from the Pyrenees up to the Boyne, come to life in this researched historical fiction.
A useful fleshing of the bones of an interesting archaeological story. Bang-on with the latest archaeological debates. Learn more click to open popover Customers who bought this item also bought Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1 This shopping feature will continue to load items. In order to navigate out of this carousel please use your heading shortcut key to navigate to the next or previous heading. Back Only the Stones Survive: A feel-good Irish springtime read.
The Buckley family of Dunderrig have always faced trouble head on, but as Europe blazes with war, they must decide where loyalties lie. A feel-good Irish summer read. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, click here. Boann is vivid and powerful and is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of this book.
She is a full- fledged character whose nuances create a relatable and realistic rendition of a young woman in the Bronze Age. This is a superb novel that will be of particular interest to readers of historical fiction as well as those with a keen interest in archeology and mythmaking.
Bending the Boyne is a masterful weaving of myth, prehistory, and modern reality that reads faultlessly. The author lived in Ireland and traveled the north Atlantic coasts during the past decade, to research and complete this historical fiction set in the early Bronze Age. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
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Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers. There, during each winter solstice , the sun's rays would energize the spirits to come forth and communicate with the living up to our own time. The prologue to the novel sets the scene of ancient Ireland with the winter solstice at Newgrange the centrepiece. The Stonehenge Scrolls by K. Did Irish Builders Design Stonehenge? This historical novel says that Irish builders designed Stonehenge. Boyne Valley Day Tours. Boyne Valley Tours Private Tour with pick up and return to your accommodation.