Uprooted from city life by the death of his father, Dark is beckoned into a rath or fairy ring as he wanders the fields near his new home. There, he meets people big and small whose magnificent stories of warriors, monsters and the fairy people provide an escape from his crumbling school and home life and take him deep into the world of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna.
O’Neill’s powerful new tales of adventure, heroism, treachery, weakness and redemption entwine with ancient Irish folklore as Dark realises that he, like his eccentric uncle Connie, belongs to two very different worlds.
See www.irishfables.com for more from Tom O'Neill, Dark and several characters from the book, or read about them on Wikipedia.
PRAISE FOR OLD FRIENDS
‘Wonderfully irreverent, engrossing … a tour-de-force of storytelling’ Gemma Hussey, former Minister for Education
‘Gripping and gory and vivid’
Máire Uí Mhaicin, academic and folklore specialist
'[O'Neill] takes his young teen readers time-travelling with protagonist Dark through tales that straddle the knowable and the imaginary. There is nothing implausible about the emotions that course through these latter-day folktales that bring LED lighting to fairy raths; no false notes dim their sense of loss and betrayal or, indeed, O’Neill’s idiomatic style. This is a book straight from the oral tradition – it would sparkle if read aloud'
Mary Shine Thompson, The Irish Times
'Tom O' Neill manages to bring new twists and new ideas into the tales in this book. You get really engrossed in the characters' lives and they seem real, not just myth and legend anymore. Tom O'Neill really brings the characters, and the stories themselves, to life. I really liked this book and was absorbed in the story from the very beginning'
Bríd, age 14, Leitrim