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First in a series of historical novels about Dublin, Ireland. This book deals with the founding of Dublin in Gaelic times and goes on to the coming of the Vikings in 837 A.D.and the aftermath. It deals with the conflict between Dervilla, grand-daughter of King Finian the founder of Dublin, and Harald the Viking leader who displaces her. Dervilla succeeds, after a life-time of struggle in re-capturing Dublin but her victory becomes ashes in her mouth. She has failed to realise that the people of Dublin have accommodated to Viking ways and do not want to be "rescued".
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Pauline and Declan grew up in Dublin, products of middle-class conservative Catholic families.
They met in 1951 when Declan was 17 and Pauline 16, when they were representing their schools in the final of a school quiz show on national radio. Their friendship developed and they were married in 1959.
By that time Pauline was pursuing a secretarial and accounting career in Dublin, and Declan was an engineer with the Electricity Supply Board. His work took him to various parts of rural Ireland on the rural electrification scheme, and then in power stations.
They started their married life in Lanesboro, a pretty town on the Shannon, in the heart of Ireland's boglands. It was there that they were captivated by the sense of history that pervades their native land, and their interest in history has grown ever since.
They moved to Portarlington, another bogland town, founded by Hugenouts displaced by religious persecution in France. Finally they settled back in Dublin when Declan went to work in the Pigeon House Power Station. This station is located in the middle of Dublin Bay and its office block was the Pigeon Hotel, built in the 17th century to accommodate passengers on the packet ships to and from England, particularly the better-off travellers who journed in posh (port out, starboard home) style. There, passen-gers could rest before undertaking the perilous journey up the causeway to the city of Dublin. In the early 1800's this site was fortified to repel an invasion by Napoleon.
The Whelans pursued their interest in history in this richly endowed environment. They lived near Loughlinstown, and dis-covered that the area was named after the Loughlins i.e. the Norsemen who settled in the area of Dublin.
Ten years, and four children later, the couple decided to relo-cate to Canada and settled in Deep River in the Ottawa Valley, where Declan went to work for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. There they adopted their fifth child, Angela.
In 1970, the Whelans went to Birmingham, England where Declan took a Master Degree in Nuclear Power, while Pauline supported the family by her work as a Statistics Clerk.
Declan's work then hauled them around Ontario, to Oakville, Kincardine, Ottawa, then overseas to Seoul, Korea, back to Ottawa and again to Kincardine. In 1993 they moved to the area of Saint John New Brunswick where Declan works as a nuclear consultant for N.B. Power.
During this odyssey Pauline looked after their five children, took a diploma in social work, a degree in Arts and History, and, in her spare time, worked as a real estate agent.
The Whelans' interest in history started to manifest itself when they wrote short articles about Irish emigration to Canada: the trial of Patrick Whelan for the murder of Darcy McGee, the Peter Robinson settlement around Peterboro, the settlement of the London area by Thomas Talbot from Malahide, Dublin, etc.
All this time they had the dream of a magnum opus, a series of historical novels of their native city. They wrote parts of the first book over the past several years, and in the last two years started to focus on complet-ing it. They honed their literary skills at the New Brunswick Consortium of Writers, and at a course conducted by Yvonne Wilson at the Univer-sity of New Brunswick.
Finally, they produced the first book in the series, a novel dealing with the early settlement of the city, the arrival of the Vikings and the bitter enmity between their leader Harald and Dervilla, the supplanted daughter of merchant kings.
At last, "a terrible beauty is born," (W.B. Yeats)Review:
DAUGHTER OF MERCHANT KINGS by P.D. WHELAN - This is the first in a projected series of historical novels centred on the development of Dublin as a settlement and important trading post from the eighth century. The waves of invasion and counter-invasion are linked together by Evlana, a member of the Tuath! a De Danaan who chose to inhabit the dark pool where the Rivers Poddle and Liffey meet, following the defeat of her people by the Celts. The Celts are represented by Finian, a king's son who turns his back on his kingdom to establish trading links in Europe. In turn his son, Dermot, brings home a wife from France and it is their daughter, Dervilla, who occupies much of the narrative.
Captured, held hostage and raped by Norseman Harald, she devotes her life to seeking vengeance on the man and the warlike people who have stolen her inheritance. The fortunes of war mean that Dublin/Dyflin changes hands many times during the course of the ninth century and the conflict between Dervilla and Harald, intensified by the torn loyalties of their son Asmund, is the channel through which the author relates the history of the city. The detailed descriptions of both location and artefacts points to a wealth of research into the subject, with only one or two jarring notes. For instance, when the seafaring Finian is contemplating buying a horse from Ronan, his wife Orla says to him, "You can talk to him after Mass tomorrow". While it is probably entirely accurate, the phrase itself seems to belong more to the mid-20th century than the 8th century. However in general this is an enjoyable lesson on the history of our capital city wrapped up in a well-constructed work of fiction. -- Irish Emigrant DUBLIN
Deft use of dialogue spins an intriguing tale of ancient Ireland and the trade and warring adventures which made the fortunes of its capital city ,Dublin in this evocative historical novel. Author P.D. Whelan draws skillfully on the devices of romantic fiction to paint a remarkable picture of how the Irish capital evolved from 730 A.D. to 875 A.D. It's the precursor of more to come, in a work which demonstrates the author's personal grasp of both geography and history, in a memorable lesson which doesn't seem like a lesson. Fascinating reading. -- Fred Hazel Saint John Evening Times-Globe
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Book Description WW Publishing. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Very good condition - book only shows a small amount of wear. Seller Inventory # G1894372026I4N00