I read George W MacPherson’s Sgaith Amazon Queen of Skye straight through in about four hours. It seemed to me an early draft. There were a number of grammatical errors. Characters seemed one dimensional. Descriptive prose that did take hold was often spoiled by an over-reliance on cliche. Here are a few examples from the start of the book.
Without further ado, she stepped forward naked as she was born
The cold and the dark seeped into her very bones
Just as she thought she was drowned, the water suddenly receded and she dropped on the floor of the chamber like a rag doll.
blade was fairly broad and not too long, its point sharp as a needle; [cut] through the hardened leather armour as if through butter
The story mirrors, in many ways, Arthurian legends, but with female faces. The rhetoric claiming the druidic and poetic tradition of learning by the spoken word has been erased by a different kind of vessel, the written word is, ironically, failed by the written words of the author.
Sgaith’s rise to power and the retention of power takes over 300 years. Women were made of better stuff in those day. A subplot, Sgaith being bound by oath not to harm her sister, is in mythology a gift or a curse, often both.
Let’s jump to what we know will happen. Aoife, is raped by Sgaith’s would be lover, Cuchullin. Aoife has had none of the training of Sgaith, yet she matches the legendary Cuchullin in battle. Not only does rape subdue her, but she also falls in love with her rapist and bears his child. Sgaith planned this misogynistic stew. She loves Cuchullin too.
I’ll finish with that less than poetic flourish. This book didn’t resonate with me, but might with you. Read on.