Secrets of the Nire
by Anne Durand-Athy

"These are the covenants that were established by the first ones, the rightful heirs to the Celtic Isles, the Fourteen Tribes of Galway, Ireland -- the rightful Celtic monarchy, De Athy!"

It’s not every day you find out you’re the rightful king to the Celtic Isles, but that’s exactly what happens to the protagonist when a Hollywood film company comes to the Nire Valley in Ireland to film a movie. When William Thomas Athy is asked to be a consultant for the production team, he soon learns that the movie is based off a book his father wrote, Secrets of the Nire, and that the book is a factual account of the history of the Athy family. The Athy family secret is powerful and can lead to the ruin of the British monarchy, a fact that someone tries to prevent as they orchestrate attacks against the film crew. As William grapples with his newfound destiny, his family and friends help coach him to prepare for his coronation, while also trying to figure out who is behind the attacks.

Flipping the narrative between present-day and 13th-century Galway, this novel imagines a rich family history and mixes it with mystery, danger, and a little Hollywood magic. Obviously drawing inspiration from both Irish history and British history, the novel imagines a what-if scenario and brings it to life with wonderful detail and imagery. The author also states that the novel was inspired by her own family heritage as well, and has taken great care into presenting it in a realistic but believable manner. William is a likable character. Headstrong at first and refusing to accept he is king, he eventually complies for the sake of his family. He is written as a kind, smart, and stern man, and it would be interesting to see how his character grows once he starts to perform his royal duties.

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