October Books 2) The Twilight Lords, by Richard Berleth
I had got this 1977 account of the Elizabethan wars in Ireland in the expectation that it might be a somewhat traditionalist approach to the period, to counterbalance the more revisionist accounts I had been reading over the last few years. In fact it's more of a hobbyist's labour of love, concentrating very much on the sequence of events in Munster and trying boldly if not completely successfully to tie England's Irish policy to Queen Elizabeth's state of mind. I actually found Berleth's exposition of the detail of events pretty good, and enjoyed his chapter on literature, especially The Faerie Queene (which I have been reading at not quite a canto per day since July). But the internal chronology is a bit weird, jumping back and forth through decades (thus weakening the basic story which is of cycles of devastation and resettlement), and the entire Ulster war and Flight of the Earls is tacked on very hastily in a final chapter. He also combines a juicy eye for the personal detail with less convincing psychoanalysis of some of the key players, though I suppose that's a game we can all play. The maps are disappointing as well.