The Silver Branch: A Novel of the Keltiad by Patricia Kennealy

March 2003

This book is a prequel to The Copper Crown and The Throne of Scone, both of which I read as a teenager and have just finished re-reading in the past few weeks. These novels are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It's not that the writing is bad or that the story is particularly stupid; the writing is fine, and the idea behind the story - that Brendan the Navigator was actually Brendan the Astrogator who took his people not to the New World, but into space - is pretty clever as far as these things go. What's embarrassing is more the New-Agey glorification of the Celtic (or Keltic) race and the stereotypical characters Ms. Kennealy conjures up (the beautiful, fiery-tempered, red-haired queen; the dark and brooding warrior/musician; the Earth woman of Irish descent who finds her true spiritual home among her long-lost Celtic kindred in space...). It's all a bit cringeworthy at times, I suppose, but I lapped it up as a kid and I'm not above admitting that I'm quite enjoying it now, too. No, I have no shame.

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