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O.R. Melting.
Markham, ON: Puffin Books, 1983.
235pp., paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-14031664-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Time travel-Fiction.
Druids and druidism-Fiction.
Ireland-History-To 1172-Fiction.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up

Reviewed by Liora Beder.

Volume 12 Number 4
1984 July

A long past world is opened up to two teenagers from Toronto. Rosemary and Jimmy are sent by their disapproving father to Ireland to work on their relatives' farm as punishment for the bad company they keep. Beyond their wildest expectations, their stay in Ireland becomes a series of exciting adventures into pre-fifth-century mythic Celtic society. Peader, the farmhand, Rosemary and Jimmy form the magical triad that causes them to be transported into the realms of Queen Maeve of Connaught and Ulster's warrior-hero, Cuculann, during the Tain Bo Cuailnge, the "Cattle-Raid of Cooley".

The world of chieftains, heroes, druids, superstition, and magic are the essence of this work. This fantasy world is where the characters have dimension, develop, and expand. Here all is believable, as the initial impression of contrived setting and affected dialogue is eclipsed by a dramatic portrayal and an absorbing account of Ireland's national epic myth. Herein lies the success and sustaining quality of Melling's novel. Rosemary and Jimmy mature; they lose their cardboard appearance. Peader's cynicism, brusqueness, and his manifest negative energy become redirected into a more stable and amiable personality. All three learn the meaning of love and friendship. The wisdom of the wise old man bears fruit, "seek for others and ye shall find. Seek for self and ye be blind".

Liora Beder, Vancouver, BC.
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