Savage Her Reply

As a child, I loved to read stories from all over the world, but those based on Irish mythology were the ones I liked best. Although I was familiar with the story of the Children of Lir, it was never one of my favourites and I haven’t revisited the tale in years.

In this retelling, Sullivan gives us the story from the villain’s point of view. At least, that is how Aífe is more commonly portrayed: the evil, jealous stepmother who turns her sister’s children into swans. But no story is quite so simple, and that is what this book explores. Why do we accept warriors and soldiers as heroes yet condemn others? It is a fascinating question and one that Sullivan handles wonderfully. She never attempts to erase the wrong that Aífe did, or excuse her actions, but she does offer reasons and motivations that make the character of Aífe come alive.

This is a story about stories and how they shape the world, or at the very least shape our understanding of the world. It is a story full of suffering yet it remains easy to read and easy to get lost in. Each chapter heading is a short poem, its layout inspired by the ogham alphabet, and they are wonderful and heartfelt.

A powerful look at an old familiar story, this book offers a fresh perspective and hopefully makes the reader see that every tale has its own truth depending on the teller.

About the Author
Headshot of Deirdre Sullivan
Deirdre Sullivan is a writer and teacher from Galway. She has written seven acclaimed books for young adults, and was the recipient of the CBI Book of the Year Award in 2018 and 2021 and the An Post Irish Book Award for YA in 2020.
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About the Illustrator
Headshot of Karen Vaughan
Karen Vaughan is an award- winning designer and illustrator with a particular love for pen and ink. She studied illustration in the North Wales School of Art and Design. Her intricate illustrations are inspired by folk tales, nature and the elaborate patterns and fashions of long ago.
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Book Cover - Savage Her Reply
Publication Date
October 2020