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Summary

Circa 2200 BCE: Changes rocking the Continent reach Eire with the dawning Bronze Age. 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.

Larger than myth, this tale echoes with medieval texts, and cult heroes modern and ancient. By the final temporal twist, factual prehistory is bending into images of leprechauns who guard Eire's gold for eternity. As ever, the victors will spin the myths.

This story appeals to fans of solid historical fiction, myth and fantasy, archaeo-astronomy, and Bronze Age Europe.

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.

Awarded first place, Next Generation Indie Awards 2011 (USA). Nominated for Foreword Book of the Year Award (historical fiction); to be announced June 2012.

©2011 J. S. Dunn (P)2012 J. S. Dunn

Critic reviews

"Bang-on with the latest archaeological debates." (Peter Clark, MIFA, Director, The Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Canterbury, Kent, UK)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining story

I bought this purely because Tim Gerard Reynolds is such a good reader. However, I'm really glad I did because this is an interesting book. Dunn has taken the archaeological evidence from man's early history (the baddies are the Beaker people) and used it to create a story that's at least partly based on the facts. It is part love story, part adventure and part science, in that characters regularly discuss their lives in a way that is clearly based on the archaeology Dunn has seen. There's also a lot about the stars.
If you are expecting Game of Thrones, you will be disappointed because it's not that exciting, violent or complex, but it is a nice story and Dunn manages to get you to care about the characters. There is also a lot about the environment, notably that mankind has destroyed it since his earliest days.
I very much enjoyed it, and learned something.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gail
  • 25-10-15

Bending the Boyne

I enjoyed the story very much. I have been fascinated by Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, and I really wanted to know all the wild, esoteric secrets they held. I was very content to hear about the simple, peaceful people who used the mounds and carved the rocks. I think I enjoyed the epilogue as much as the story, and spent some time on the internet looking up artifacts and people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kulagirl
  • 15-08-15

Great Historical Fiction

Any additional comments?

Great historical fiction that gives us a look at a world so distant from what we have today. A glimpse of what we have lost when we are not in tune with the natural and spiritual world.

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  • A.Singer
  • 20-03-15

Lots of info but a dry story/reading

Would you listen to Bending the Boyne again? Why?

No. I barely hung in there to listen to it one time. I found the reading and the story dry and fairly lifeless. Maybe that is because the last couple audiobooks I listened to were particularly well read with good character voices and voice inflection where I'd expect it, and Reynold's reading had neither. I found his voice especially hard to relate to when he read female dialog.

The story itself is chocked full of detailed history and mythology, but the presentation was more akin to reading a history book than a novel. I don't know if that is the fault of the writer or the reader - or both.

What other book might you compare Bending the Boyne to and why?

none

What three words best describe Tim Gerard Reynolds’s voice?

Dry, lifeless

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

There is much to be gleaned from the story if you are interested in this kind of history and mythology and the bronze age, but the author really didn't bring the characters or the story he wove to life through his words, and the reader definitely brought little life to it. I did like the many references and descriptions of the stars and astronomy but at times those descriptions were so detailed and long that it became tedious to listen to. This book is more like a textbook than a novel in some ways.

That said, I hung in there and listened to the whole thing, and I adapted to Reynolds dry, droning voice enough to get some level of enjoyment from the story but I would never venture to pick up the book or listen to the audiobook again and I was glad when it was over.

Some people might love the story and the reader. I'm just not one of them.

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  • Codger
  • 31-10-12

Good story, but I question the lack of Mysticism

Good story on clashes of culture. A nice, if unrealistic, take on the island's inhabitants as peace loving farmers that need to be prodded to protect their own. It is more likely that the type of interaction that was described on the continent was prevalent. Intrigue and persuasion were key in all interactions and life could easily be lost - on purpose or by misfortune.

The love stories make for a diversion, but the depth, or lack of depth, in the chieftan's personality is frustrating. He obviously waited to find a mate until it would do him the most good, but his inability to connect with her on a personal level, or bend her to his will showed a lack of imagination on the author's part. Cian's marriage with the merchant-king's daughter seemed too contrived. All of the love stories were overreaching in that they are epic stories with too little character development.

The biggest stretch is that the star watchers simply recorded the heavens movements for the sake of knowledge. All people that took the time to record events in prehistory had a expectation that it would somehow make life better for themselves. They looked for the mystery of life in the records of natural events. Usually, this led to a belief in mysticism - a belief in unseen forces that they could possibly control.

Overall, this book is a pleasent diversion and I recommend it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful