The Hound of Ulster PDF/EPUB ´ The Hound ePUB ¹

The Hound of Ulster This saga of the Irish Celts is re told by Rosemary Sutcliff with a magical weaving together of passion and poetry The boy who takes up the spear and shield of Manhood on this day will become the most renowned of all the warriors of Ireland men will follow at his call to the world's end and his enemies will shudder at the thunder of his chariot wheels So the prophecy went and as the boy Cuchulain heard it he went forward to claim the weapons of his manhood This is the story of how he became the greatest of heroes—the Hound of Ulster Wonderful re telling of a very strange but powerful story Prolific English children's author Rosemary Sutcliff perhaps best known for her novels set in Roman Britain here retells the life story of Cú Chulainn one the greatest figures of Irish myth and folklore The son of Dectera Deichtire here a half fairy woman the boy Setanta is sent to be raised by his kinsman Conor Mac Nessa and gains his true name Cú Chulainn the Hound of Cullan through an act of boyhood bravery in which he slays a fearsome dog The narrative follows him through his wooing of Emer his youthful training with the woman warrior Skatha Scáthach and his many battles and heroic deeds The book climaxes with the great war between Ulster and Connacht in which Cú Chulainn the champion of Ulster kills his own son Connla before realizing who he is The story concludes with the death of the hero at the hands of the three Witch Daughters of CalatinAlthough uite familiar with the character of Cú Chulainn who is the hero of the ancient Irish epic The Táin Bó Cúailnge The Cattle Raid of Cooley which has been described as the Irish Iliad and which chronicles the events of the ancient war between Connacht and Ulster I had never read anything that took all of the stories about him and tied them together into one narrative of his life I was therefore pleased when Sutcliff's The Hound of Ulster was assigned as a text in the course I took on the history of children's literature while getting my masters particularly as I had already read and greatly enjoyed her historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth I found this telling immensely engaging and was interested to see Sutcliff's take on this famous tale I do wish that she had discussed her specific sources in her too brief foreword but leaving aside that criticism this is one I would highly recommend to any middle grade reader or older reader of middle grade books who enjoys fantasy andor mythology Irish violent heroic pagan and in general reminiscent of Beowulf knights and stories of honor and revengeAbout half the women suffer and the other half are bad asses Maeve and the witches make some great antagonists Cuchulain himself seems to be positioned against women and they end up being his downfallA few of the episodes are definitely borrowed from other tales the Champion chapter in particular is just a recycled version of Sir Gawain and the Green KnightI'm not one for a violent masculine hero tale but this was okay Reading Sutcliff's forward is I think necessary for a full adult understanding of the tale she's retelling Cuchulain was my favorite of the Irish hero legendsfairy stories as a child and in the intervening time I really haven't read anything about them So rediscovering the story so well written was fascinating Not to put too fine a point on it but everyone's kind of an asshole in these stories which is great because Sutcliff never shies away from describing the awful things people do to one another The greatness of the Irish legends was that they retained so much of their humanity even in their hero lights making them easy to relate to as grand figures Kind of like the Greek gods I think Not infallible Anyway this is something I would love to go back into time and hand to my twelve year old self; in lieu of that though I'm going to stick it into the hands of every kid I meet She's just so damn talented

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