Blood Brother, Swan Sister

Blood Brother, Swan Sister

1014 Clontarf; A Battle Begins

A thrilling tale of magic and warfare in ancient Ireland.
Three children's lives are drawn together amidst the intrigue and magic of an epic battle.


Literacy Association of Ireland Book Award - 2015

- Joint winner

Paperback: €8.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781847175670

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781847176516

Category: Children's fiction

A thrilling tale of magic and warfare in ancient Ireland.

April 1014. Dubliner Elva watches helplessly as her sister comes under the control of an evil queen. Dara marches towards the city as part of Brian Boru’s army, while Skari sails from the Orkneys to fight with King Sitric of Dublin. As the armies come ever closer to each other, no one knows what will happen when they meet to fight what has been called the last battle. Nor do the children realise that their fates are linked in ways they could never have imagined, ways which will test all their courage and loyalty.

Eithne Massey

Eithne Massey has written many books for both adults and children, mainly based on the legends of Ireland. Her adaptation of the award-winning movie The Secret of Kells is set in the time of the early Viking raids; The Silver Stag of Bunratty and Where the Stones Sing are set in Norman Ireland; and Blood Brother, Swan Sister at the time of the Battle of Clontarf. All blend together historical detail with myths, legends and folklore, resulting in stories which will appeal to ‘young readers who enjoy an adventure with well-rounded characters and a touch of magic and history’ (

an enjoyable way to spark interest in the excitement of Clontarf

CBI Recommended Reads Guide 2014

exciting and engaging … Massey offers up a unique twist on an iconic chapter in Irish history

Through the Looking Glass

exciting and engaging … Massey offers up a unique twist on an iconic chapter in Irish history

Through the Looking Glass

very interesting, well written and exciting … very balanced and give equal treatment to both the Norse and Irish viewpoints … fast moving … ideal for the senior classes in a primary school. It could be used as in religion, geography, SPHE and undoubtedly history classes


I really enjoyed this book. Like Rosemary Sutcliff, a writer I much admire, Eithne Massey has the ability to get across the emotional complexities of divided loyalties. And the fierce determination of the Norsemen to conquer Ireland, no matter what the cost, comes across vividly; as does the Iron Age half-Pagan, half-Christian way of life. Clontarf was a real battle, but tales of sorcery have sprung up around it. Eithne Massey weaves these into the story in a way which is completely believable. Highly recommended for imaginative children of 11 plus

an intriguing confluence of fact, fiction and fable, marking the battle’s millennial anniversary

Evening Echo

a skilful blend of fiction, mythology and folklore … an atmospheric and exciting tale that will be a very enjoyable read for children aged 9 and over

interesting … characters were well made and it was good overall … exciting, interesting and adventurous

gripping … magic and warfare are unexpectedly but skilfully mingled in this atmospheric tale … engrossing

treats the reader to an excellent mix of fact and folklore, centred …. around the Battle of Clontarf … the atmosphere of Viking Dublin is brilliantly delineated

Irish Examiner

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Liz Morris

Also by Eithne Massey:

Best-Loved Irish Legends
The Secret of Kells
Michael Collins
Best-Loved Irish Legends
Corazón de Irlanda, sus más bellas leyendas

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