Friday, September 14, 2007

Reference Book of the Week

This week's pick: Life of St Columba by Adomnan of Iona, translated by Richard Sharpe. Retail price $16.00, currently $12.00 on Amazon. Running to 432 pages, including 10 pages of maps and geneologcial tables, an introduction (100 pages), the translated Life (134 pages), scholarly footnotes (144 pages), bibliography and index, this is almost two books in one, and good value for the modest price.

I began reading this book reluctantly as part of the research for my Storyteller series, because Columba's life (521?-597) spans the period of my stories. I expected a dry, boring read: I was wrong. The introduction is interesting and well-written, with a large amount of helpful historical detail about the people and customs of this period, and the Life itself is lively and entertaining. Columba and his monastic family were important figures in 6th-8th century Scotland and Ireland, and anyone interested in this period should know their acts and history. If you fall in this category, buy this book now and read it: at only $12, you have no excuse. Highly recommended.


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