Monday, August 1, 2011

The Children of Erin

Die Kinder von Erin.Die Kinder von Erin. by Helmut W. Pesch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as part of the Reading is my Escape Monthly Challenge. It was actually a re-read but I read it so long ago, that I couldn’t remember a lot of it, besides the fact that I loved it. Ad here again I read it in almost one sitting.

“Die Kinder von Erin” which in English means “The Children of Erin” is the second instalment in a series by Helmut W. Pesch.

In the first novel “The Children of the Nibelungen” the protagonists, Siggi, Gunhild and their English friend Hagen were in Germany travelling with the help of an ancient ring into the mythical world of the Nibelungen. Each kid personalized one of the main characters of the old legend about Siegfried the Dragon killer with the same name. (Hagen started to act like the Hagen of the old legend, Gunhild like the mythical version of Gunhild and Siggi, well you can guess that…) While delving deep into the ancient legend the problems of their heroes endangered the kids, as they witnessed the beginning and the ending of an old tale.
So in the second book, one year later the three are on vacation in Dunvegan Castle, and old baronial castle in Ireland.

While the short prologue leaves us wondering who this mysterious man is and why he waited to long for the kids, magic starts in the first paragraph of chapter one. The beautiful melody of a harp wakes Gunhild in the middle of the night and calls her into the ancient world of Erin, the mythological Ireland.

Just like one year before it is the night of the summer solstice and the veil of our world and the Otherworld is thin. Gunhild doesn’t know, it she is ready for yet another adventure. She remembers the beauty that comes with the magic, but also tears and blood. And she doesn’t know if she is ready for the feelings between herself and Hagen that are again growing stronger. Her little, 15-year old, brother Siggi on the other hand is ready to jump into any new adventure to prove once again that he is a real hero. Siggi as the Sunny boy is the perfect counterweight to the more melancholy Hagen. They couldn’t be any more different, yet the characters are working perfectly together.
When dangerous creatures enter the castle Gunhild and Hagen have no other choice than fleeing into the night. Accompanied by the full moon and followed by monsters from the Otherworld they are running for their lives. Their last chance: A Gate in a hill, known to belong to the old goddess of Erin…

While Helmut W. Pesch has a wonderful writing style the glossary at the back of the novel is full with gaelic words and how to pronounce them, maps and names of heroes, places and gods from Irish mythology.
So it is indeed a great resource for further studies and a good place to start delving deeper into the mythological world of the Celts.
The author is able to weave old legends (like the stories about sidhe) into a new tale, a story that you almost believe as true…

He is able to hide all those themes that are typical for Celtic mythology in his story like he was part of it himself. Which makes his characters even more real and believable. When Amergin tells Siggi the old story about Erin and says “I know it, I was there…” (which he says a lot) You believe him that he knows, that he was there. Because Helmut W. Pesch knows what he is talking about, though I’m not quite sure that he was there…

After I read a book I’m always wondering when the author caught me and if there was a time when I could have walked away from the book without ever looking back again. Helmut W. Pesch, the author of this fabulous piece of work got me interested with the quote he put at the beginning:

“Fantasy is a journey into the subconscious of the human mind. She can be dangerous and she can change you” by Ursula K. Le Guin (freely translated)

And after the first chapter there was no getting away from this one. And it got better and better with every page.
Back in the days when I read it for the first time I would have given it five out of five stars. Since I’m now older and the book is for a younger audience (13+) I will give it only four stars. But it is still a recommendation to everyone who loves fantasy and ancient stories, no matter which age. And it was definitely a close call between five and four stars.

And now I’m leaving you guessing what the third (and the in my opinion best book of the series) “The Children of Avalon” may be about. Here is a little tip: They are finding a sword at the beginning of the book…
And thanks to Helmut W. Pesch for a night without sleep and a wonderful tale that will surely follow me around a little longer and reminded me once again why I love fantasy, especially the old European legends so much.

Greetings and a wonderful August full with words and stories

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