for military school)
Its protagonist is a fearsome physical specimen, but mainly he's clever. I mean, you don't want to mess with a guy who
"struck off their four heads from themselves Eirr and Indell and from Foich and Fochlam, their drivers, and he fixed a head of each man of them on each of the prongs of the pole."but it's his cunning that makes him stand out. When just a child, he overhears from a great distance a priest's instructions to his pupils, then uses those instructions as the authority to obtain arms not normally available to one of his age. "Hey," he as much as says when caught, "the priest said so," earning him in my edition the angry epithet of "bewitched elf-man."
My edition gives the English translations of some of character names in brackets after the originals. Some of those names are epithets, and the effect is like that of colorful Mafia nicknames: "Bascell ('the Lunatic')."
And finally, after mentioning Declan Burke's allusions to Irish myth in his more than fine new novel Slaughter's Hound, I noted this passage in The Táin: "And Culann came out, and he saw his slaughter-hound in many pieces."
© Peter Rozovsky 2012