Eickhoff has been writing novelistic translations of the great medieval Irish texts called the Ulster Cycle, sources of the stories of the greatest legendary Irish heroes. In this addition to the series, which includes The Raid (1997) and The Feast (1999), Eickhoff goes for the mythological gold--to wit, the tale of the great raid on northern Ulster by Queen Maeve of the western province of Connaught for the sake of a magical brown bull. This tale, the so-called Iliad of Ireland, is the centerpiece of an interconnected sequence of stories about its main characters: studly Fergus Mac Roich, unbeatable Cuchulainn, sorrowful Macha, evil but magical Cathbad, raped Nessa, sharp-tongued Aithirne, as well as queenly Maeve and the wild goddess who shadows her, the black-winged Morrigan. Eickhoff has kept true to the texts while employing a sleek modern tone that makes these great ancient tales accessible and vital. Patricia Monaghan
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