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The Sword and the Song ~ Review and Author Interview

The Sword and the Song
The Song of Seare 3
By C.E. Laureano

They may have won a reprieve in the war against the Red Druid but the war is just getting started. If they can't find a key, a weapon, to use against the Red Druid Seare is just the start of the end.  The evil refuses to be stopped.

The Brotherhood is no more and Ard Dhaimhin has become a place of refuge to those fleeing the war.  The city can't long survive its unexpected growth after the losses it suffered in the last battle. But hope has not been lost.

Eoghan won't claim the throne as High King, much to Conor's dismay who is ruling the city and the people in his stead.  Comdiu has yet to lead Eoghan to this path and he refuses to take the initiative on his own.  This situation is creating a rift between these two friends who are like brothers.  Can their bond survive the coming attacks?

In the midst of this despair there is joy, Aine and Conor are expecting their first child.  But this results in a new danger to Aine keeping her confined within the city's safety.  But safety within the city is soon to be called into question when an attack in launched from within.  But who is working against them from within?  Can they find out before it too late?

War is coming and time is against them as they race to keep Niall from the prize he seeks.  But to win the war a price must be paid...

This is the third book in the Song of Seare trilogy and it is an emotionally charged conclusion that will keep you reading, wondering what will come next.  To truly understand and appreciate this book you need to read the first two books in the series.  This series is Aine and Conor's story - a story that has its moments of heartbreak and joy.  This is a beautiful and moving conclusion that you don't want to miss.

C.E. Laureno has created a world that one would like to revisit again.  Fans of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Patrick Carr, and Chris Walley will delight in this series and the timeless battle of good vs. evil.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through their blogger program in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:
A clash of brothers. A terrible sacrifice. 

In the face of powerful darkness, who will prevail?

The island of Seare is at war. The Red Druid is gathering strength and power to stand against Conor, Eoghan, and the brotherhood.  But there is strife within the brotherhood as well. Eoghan still refuses to claim his rightful rule, and the resulting conflict creates an uncomfortable distance between him and Conor.  When Conor leaves to find the key to defeating the Red Druid, Eoghan and Aine worry he will succumb to the danger, and they attempt their own mission to defeat the Red Druid through Aine’s magical gifts.

Author Interview:

1. How did the Song of Seare Trilogy come about? 
I’m a longtime fantasy reader, starting as a child with the Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit, but this particular series began with a single premise: what happens when you have a young man who is raised to rule, but his personal, religious, and philosophical beliefs are different than the country over which he’s meant to reign? The story went through a number of iterations. In the early drafts, Conor was already in his twenties and about to take the throne of Tigh. But I realized that the real story began much earlier, where those personal beliefs were formed: his fosterage with a rival king. As I dug into the story, I realized that Conor was only a small part— or maybe the culmination—of a generations-long struggle that has at last come to a breaking point. And so the final storyline of the Song of Seare trilogy was conceived.

2. Why Celtic fantasy?
I’ve been interested in Ireland for as long as I can remember, maybe because of my distant Irish heritage. I had the opportunity to travel there during college, and I’ve never felt such an instant affinity for a place. While America will likely always be the place I “hang my hat”, I realized that Ireland was my heart’s home. Ever since then, I’ve written Irish characters and settings. But it was only when I started reading books by Juliet Marillier—wonderful historical fantasies that showed the pagan/Christian conflict from the pagan point of view—I knew I wanted to do something similar with a Christian slant.

3. How much is based on history and how much was made up?
The culture of Seare is very much based on ancient Ireland before the 10th century, but since relatively little is known about that time period, much of it is extrapolated from research done in the 1920’s. (Some of that research, like the idea that the Irish wore kilts, has since been disproven.) But the food, weaponry, law, and social structure of Seare is very similar to how things might have been in ancient Ireland. Of course, the addition of magic changes things, so I got to imagine how the existence of supernatural gifts and blood magic might have affected their culture. I also re-envisioned the faerie mythology from a neutral, mischievous role into something more malevolent.

4. What kind of research did you do to write this book? 
I have a fairly extensive library on Irish history, and what I wasn’t able to buy, I checked out from the library (thank goodness for inter-library loan…some of my books came all the way from Nebraska.) Because Seare was united by a man who had been a mercenary in the Holy Land, I also did a lot of research on the Near East and the Roman Empire from that time period. You’ll see traces of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Greco-Roman influence in the Fíréin brotherhood, especially their fighting and training styles. I also used my background as a martial artist and fencer to create a fighting style that was believably cross-cultural.

5. If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be?
Aine…because it guarantees that I would also get to spend time with Conor and Eoghan! After all, one or the other is always shadowing her. Plus, she just seems like the type of person I’d like to hang out with: practical, no nonsense, and filled with interesting knowledge. She’s also the one you want around if you’re going to do something dangerous—her healing ability would come in handy!