In the Land of the Everliving by Stephen R. Lawhead is the second book in the Eirlandia series. It’s a fantasy story of a man on a quest – not unusual for fantasy, except that the setting is in the Celtic tradition and the book is interlaced with Celtic words and Celtic-like names. The protagonist is Conor mac Ardon, who is recovering from injuries in the land of the fairies, along with two members of his wargang. As soon as he is healed, they return to their home to fight the Scala, enemies who had invaded their land. Falsely branded as a traitor, he is denied access to his castle by his brother and seeks refuge in a friendly realm. He offers his sword to the queen, but when she becomes corrupted, he must find another way to fulfill his quest.
I enjoyed this book, but it is obvious that it is the second in a series of at least three books. I had not read the first one, In the Region of the Summer Stars, and although there was enough information to enjoy this book on its own, it’s generally best to read the books in order. I’m sure I would have enjoyed In the Land of the Everliving more had I done so.
Series can be tricky. As I said, I enjoyed this book even though I hadn’t read the first. However, I found myself wanting at the end. Simply put, it was the end of a battle but not the war, and while the war must continue to the end, I would have appreciated something more substantial at the end of Book Two.
Having said all that, the characters are strong, especially that of Conor, the interrelationships work well, and there is plenty of action for those who crave that. My advice? Start with Book One and read all the way through.