Saturday, 10 March 2018

Yellow Sun by Stiofan O Nuallain

Yellow Sun by Stiofán Ó Nualláin
Published in the UK by David J Publishing in October 2017.

One of my 2018 IndieAthon Reads
One of my 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge reads

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ireland 4,000 years ago. Traditional life in a tiny farming community is irrevocably transformed by the arrival of a stranger with the magic of turning stone into metal. Not everyone is happy. Many are fearful.

“We have no need of this magic,” they protest. “We have always welcomed change, but this knowledge holds a danger far beyond our understanding.” 

So, two men from the village, Callan and Lodartha, are instructed to set on a journey to neighbouring clans to seek advice. It’s a journey that brings horror and violence, a journey and an adventure that changes lives forever. Nothing will ever be the same.

I was glad to be offered a review copy of Yellow Sun because, although I read a lot of historical fiction, it is rare for the time period to be set so far in the past. Nualláin's Ireland of 4000 years ago pre-dates, for example, Ilka Tampke's novel Skin by a good couple of millennia although I think readers who liked that book may well appreciate this one.

Nualláin has set his story on the cusp of an overwhelming and terrible sociological change as the discovery of how to smelt metal is brought to currently stone age communities. Human nature being what it is, this new 'magic' is grasped upon by men seeking wealth and power above anything else and clans with many generations of joint history suddenly find themselves torn apart, literally overnight, by greed. In Yellow Sun we follow the remnants of such clans as they flee from their ancestral homelands into the unknown. I appreciated the diversity of people we met throughout the book.

What was especially riveting for me in this story was Nualláin's detailed portrayals of stone age Irish landscapes and village settlements, as well as the information he imparts about daily life. We see typical clothes and housing, travel and survival, what foods are eaten and how they are prepared. In fact, I would have appreciated a recipe section at the end of this book because some of their food sounded delicious! The lead characters are fascinating for their similarities to present-day people and also their differences. There is a much stronger sense of self reliance and understanding of the natural world surrounding these people. Their relationships are geared towards providing for the whole community, not just their individual family groups.

As well as being interesting historically, Yellow Sun is a good adventure story. I enjoyed the tension of not knowing how our protagonists would cope with the challenges they had to face and was keen to keep reading to the end.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Stiofán Ó Nualláin / Historical fiction / Books from Ireland


  1. Wow, this sounds amazing! I think I'd really enjoy this. There should be more books about history that is older than just several centuries ago.

    1. Exactly! I can't think of more than a dozen books I've read that are set pre William the Conqueror let alone as far back as Yellow Sun.

  2. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but a book that explores history so far in the past sounds great!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. It makes a refreshing change from the usual WW2 and Victorian fare :-)