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Francisco and the Chieftain's Wife
Historical Novel

John P. Rooney

€12.00 EUR

Ethnic cleansing, famine, assassination - these were the means used to stamp out the Gaelic way of life in Ireland at the end of the sixteenth century; and nowhere more so than in the mountains of North Leitrim.

Here the MacClancy clan was engaged in an unending and unequal struggle with the rapacious Bingham brothers: George, the Sheriff of Sligo, and Sir Richard, the Governor of Connacht. It was a war with no quarter asked for or given.

Into this battle ground stumbled Captain Francisco De Cuellar, survivor of the Spanish Armada, whose ship had been wrecked on the nearby Sligo coast. Given sanctuary by the clan, he was to spend three months in Rosclogher Castle, living with and like the Irish.

He, a cultured product of the European Renaissance, had to adjust to a way of life that had changed little in a thousand years, where wealth was counted in cattle, and where only the strongest could survive.

A compensation, however as far as DeCuellar was concerned, was the attractiveness of Irish women; the chieftain's wife in particular he found "beautiful in the extreme."

The author weaves a tale of romance, heroism, betrayal and murder around the known historical facts, using his imagination to fill in the gaps in DeCuellar's own narrative.

Presented here is a microcosm of Ireland's condition at this dark time, a time heralding the build up to the Nine years War, the Flight of The Earls, and - eventually - the ending of the old Gaelic Order.

The author, whose grandfather was from Glenade, County Leitrim, was born in Belfast, and, apart from four years spent variously in Australia, London and Dublin, has lived there all his life.

He has written for stage and radio, with many radio plays produced by BBC and RTE. A first novel Bottling it Up - a black comedy set in Belfast - was published by Blackstaff Press in 2003.


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