by Edward Rutherford is the sequel to his Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga, which covers the period from AD 430 up to 1534. The second book in the series takes us up to 1925. Princes of Ireland was the most interesting of the two books by far. I cannot really endorse the second book to anyone who is not really into Irish history (but then they will probably already know most of the information relayed in the novel) and does not really like long historical novels. The characters in this novel were not really brought to life as well as the ones in the first book. If I had not bought this book I would not have finished it (I learned long ago from Samuel Johnson that it is OK to not finish a book) and as it was I ended up speed reading through the last 400 pages. The standard of the prose is way below that of the Irish writers whose work I have lately been reading. Probably much of the historical data in the book is in Wikipedia. Rutherford brings in historical figure like Johnathan Swift and William Butler Yeats but it just does not work, for me anyway. I found this book to be a disappointment.
I am currently reading Ireland by Frank Delaney and it is much better written and the stories of old Ireland are way more interesting.
Please share with us your experience with Irish historical novels. Which ones should I read to advance my knowledge of Irish history. Is there a must read Irish general history besides that of Roy Foster's? Is Declan Kibard's Inventing Ireland the best modern literary history of Ireland?