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Book Reviews (Children's)

The Secret Of Kells by Eithne Massey

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The Secret Of Kells by Eithne Massey

Published by O’Brien Press Ltd.

Reviewed by Miltown Malbay Library Children’s Book Club

This book is a fictional account of the creation of the Book of Kells. The story centres around an orphaned boy called Brendan who is been looked after by his uncle Cellach, Abbot of the monastery at Kells. Brendan is not allowed outside the monastery gates and his uncle is obsessed with building a wall tall enough and strong enough to keep the Vikings from entering and destroying the monastery. All is well until one day the illuminator Aidan of Iona arrives with his cat Pangur Bán. Brendan becomes fascinated with the Book of Iona that Aidan is working on and becomes an apprentice in the scriptorium.

Aidan asks Brendan to venture into the forest to get berries that he requires for making ink. Although Brendan is forbidden to enter the forest by his uncle, he eventually defies him and sneaks off. It is in this forest that Brendan’s adventure really begins. He meets a strange fairy girl called Aisling and is attacked by wolves. They also stumble upon the cave of the evil Crom Cruach the Dark One.

Much excitement and danger follows throughout the remainder of the book and we wonder will the monastery and its inhabitants survive the arrival of the Vikings.

Though this book is a work of fiction, the children found that it gave great insight in to the history of the Book of Kells and what Ireland might have been like during the time of the Vikings.

Most of the group enjoyed reading this book and gave it 8/10.