Darach Ó Scolaí‘s latest novel will please fans of his earlier prize-winning historical novel An Cléireach and will delight anyone who enjoys stories of dynastic succession, conspiracy, intrigue and shifting alliances.
Set more than a hundred years earlier that his previous historical novel, Súil an Daill is set in mid sixteenth century Gaelic Ulster, last bastion of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland and under growing threat from English forces intent on subduing the Gaelic lords of the north.
However, that historical element lies on the fringes of this story which centres on internal rivalries between those vying to succeed Conn Bacach Ó Néill as Earl of Tyrone.
There are constant tensions between Conn Bacach, his son Feilimí Caoch, his nephew and tanáiste Niall Conallach and their assorted allies and enemies among the native Irish and Scottish mercenaries.
Add to this unstable situation a mix of church politics and influence, unresolved land disputes and shifting allegiances and we find ourselves in a world where no one is sure where the next threat will come from, who will strike the next blow or what the eventual outcome will be. This is a tale where most of the characters actually have cloaks and daggers.
Darach Ó Scolaí is an Irish novelist playwright, publisher, and artist living in the County Galway Gaeltacht of Connemara.
His novel An Cléireach (Leabhar Breac, 2007), named by Comhar as ‘the best novel since the turn of the century’, won the Oireachtas Prize 2007 and Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin ‘Book of the Year’ 2008. He published two retellings of the mediaeval tales An Ceithearnach Caolriabhach (2002) and Feis Tigh Chonáin (2000), as well as translations of two novels by Robert Louis Stevenson, Oileán an Órchiste (2014) and An Fuadach (2016). For young readers he has written An Bradán Feasa, Dóiteoir na Samhna and Bodach an Chóta Lachna in the series ‘Fionn’. His edition of Táin Bó Cuailnge has been awarded the Aodán Mac Póilín Commemorative Prize, and will be published in 2017.
He has toured the country with his plays An tSeanbhróg (2009), Craos (2008) and An Braon Aníos (2007). His play Coinneáil Orainn (2006) won the Walter Macken Prize and a BBC Stewart Parker Award, and both Coinneáil Orainn and An Braon Aníos were adapted for the radio in 2009. As well as prose works and plays, he has written screenplays for the short films Cosa Nite (1998) and An Leabhar (2000), and for the television series Na Cloigne (2010).