I was intrigued by a recent image I came across from Polish illustrator Piotr Chrzanowski, as it includes an intriguing level of cultural authenticity that lifts him far above the usual visual representations of (what passes for) early Irish warriors/culture. Chrzanowski’s own description notes on the image describe it as:
‘Gaelic Irish raiders’ – a slavers warband. From the 7th century. Some wearing captured Saxon or Norse helmets.
For me, Chrzanowski’s image and note are particularly interesting as:
- he doesn’t fall into the well-trodden fantasy trap of using the word ‘Celtic’ to describe Gaelic, Welsh, Manx, Breton and other cultures
- his notes display a level of knowledge of certain ancient Irish culture/history that most people don’t have
What probably intrigued me most about the image was the reference to ‘slavers’ as it covers an aspect of ancient Irish culture many people prefer to gloss over – Irish slavery. Not to be confused with the “Irish were the First Slaves’ fantasy pushed by white supremacist nutters, this actually refers to the period when the Roman Empire deserted current-day Great Britain. For two to three centuries afterward, the country was left in such disarray, opportunistic Irish raiders were able to raid parts of it on a regular basis for goods and slaves.
That is, after all, how we managed to snaffle our national saint!
Apart from this personally appealing snippet, Chrzanowski’s work is worth checking out as his character design illustrations are particularly well done. You can find him at: https://www.facebook.com/piotr.chrzanowski.art/
Ireland: 192 A.D. A time of strife and treachery.
Ireland 2020: Somewhat similar but now we have the Covid-19 virus as well.
Just for information, I’ve set up a new cover for the digital version of FIONN: Defence of Rath Bladhma which you can see above.
The paperback version (currently only at Amazon – here) will retain the existing version although by next month (December) any bookshops will be able to order you the updated cover for the paperback version as well.
There is a plan (kinda) here somewhere. New developments are happening on the Fionn front and that’ll be come apparent early next year.
In case you’re interested; here’s the blurb for the actual book:
Ireland: 192 A.D.
A time of strife and treachery. Political ambition and inter-tribal conflict has set the country on edge, testing the strength of long-established alliances.
Following the massacre of their enemies at the battle of Cnucha, Clann Morna are hungry for power. Elsewhere, a mysterious war party roams the forests of the ‘Great Wild’ and a ruthless magician is intent on murder.
In the secluded valley of Glenn Ceoch, disgraced druid Bodhmhall and the woman warrior Liath Luachra have successfully avoided the bloodshed for many years. Now, the arrival of a pregnant refugee threatens the peace they have created together. Run or fight, the odds are overwhelming.
And death stalks on every side.
Based on the ancient Fenian Cycle texts, the Fionn mac Cumhaill Series by Irish author Brian O’Sullivan is a gritty and authentic retelling of the birth and early adventures of Ireland’s greatest hero, Fionn mac Cumhaill. Gripping, insightful and utterly action-packed, this is Irish/Celtic fiction as you’ve never read it before.