The Hounds of the Morrigan

by Pat O'Shea

Paperback, 1999



Call number

PB Osh

Call number

PB Osh

Local notes

PB Osh




HarperTeen (1999), 688 pages


When a ten-year-old boy finds an old book of magic in a bookshop in Ireland, the forces of good and evil gather to do battle over it.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

688 p.; 4.19 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Cricket2014
This is a Gaelic tale about two children, Pidge and Brigit who go on an adventure to find a stone with a drop of blood on it and an ulk glas. It starts with Pidge finding an old manuscript and opening it, there he lets out an evil force which calls forth the Morrigan, a tripartite spirit of battle
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and death. The Morrigan wants the pebble and the ulk glas so she can reign over the humans and make their life horrible. Two of the Morrigan's spirits are funny, but just as evil as she is.

The Morrigan sends her hounds after the kids. As long as they don't run, the hounds can't do anything to them. During their travels, Pidge and Brigit are helped by the Dagda.

There are a lot of Celtic words in the story and I was glad to see a pronunciation guide in the back. The story is exceptionally long and falls with that of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is a good read and even though long, could be read at bedtime to older youngsters. There is a lot of fantasy type stuff in there for all kinds of imaginations. I recommend this highly
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LibraryThing member mkunruh
It took me more than 6 months to read this to the boys, mostly because late summer and fall don't lend themselves to reading before bed, but also because much of the book isn't a page turner and it was easier than most not to return to. Yet, we loved the book, my 10 year old particularly. There
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were some really great characters (Puddaneen the frog, and Cooroo the fox were two standouts), no Lord of the Rings references (hard to find in fantasy), and it wasn't twee.
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LibraryThing member Treeseed
Have you ever read a book that is so good, the characters so interesting that you wish it would go on and on? That's how I felt about this book and fortunately for me it DID go on and on! This book is 674 pages long and quite rambling, countless times introducing characters that last for a few
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pages and are never seen again. The wonderful Irish story-telling powers of Pat O'Shea make this work somehow. This book is hard to pidgeon-hole as to which readership it was intended for. It is certainly the longest Young Adult title I've seen. The main characters Pidge and Brigit are only 10 and 5 years old but they act a lot older than that, especialy 5 year old Brigit. There are more mature concepts about the Old Magics that definitely appeal to the adult reader. There are childish characters like talking earwigs and clairvoyant spiders, and outlandish and silly aspects of the triple goddess, The Morrigan, that like to ride motorcycles and torture their own shadows. This is a mish-mash of styles but once again, somehow it works. Maybe if the reader has a mish-mash of tastes as I do, the inconsistencies don't matter. This book is well written and full, I mean brimming, with Irish humor. It has great characters out of Celtic mythology like the Dagda "the Good God", the Morrigan, goddess of death and decay, the Great Queen of Phantoms, embodied as three eccentric and wicked women, Queen Maeve's sons, (the original Talking Heads, if you know what I mean) the Seven Maines, and many others. The plot is the classic good versus evil and spins into motion when 10 year old Pidge discovers a tattered old manuscript in a second hand book shop. The book causes him to accidentally release the Olc Glas, an evil serpent and that in turn causes the race to be on! The Morrigan wants the powers of Olc Glas so that she will have full control of evil and vastly multiply her own evil powers. The Dagda wants Pidge and Brigit to find magical bloodstones that will thwart this awful scheme. In order to get the stones Pidge and Brigit go on a complicated, long and magical quest with many a twist and turn. They are pursued by the hounds of the Morrigan, ravening hunters with a keen sense of smell and tracking abilities, and an insatiable hunger for the chase. All true creatures and friends of the Dagda help the children along their way. The writing is colorful, whitty, exciting, even scary at times and always thoroughly entertaining. This book is in a class by itself and should not be missed by any true lover of fantasy, young or old.
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LibraryThing member MaelBrigde
SUCH a good book. A quest book, but a thoughtful, beautifully written quest, underpinned by a strong relationship with the Irish people and countryside, as well as Irish myth and magic.
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This is a fun fairy tale about two children who undertake a journey to battle against Evil for the forces of Good. It's very picaresque, which makes it fun to read out loud because something new and bizarre happens every chapter.
LibraryThing member arelenriel
This is an excellent book that centres around traditional Irish mythology. Its main characters are well written and the plot is detailed and well thought out.
LibraryThing member piemancer
This has been one of my favorite books for nigh on twenty years now. Every so often, I go buy a few copies to give to people I love.

In addition, it irreversibly changed my relationship to the worms I find on the sidewalk.
LibraryThing member Goldengrove
I really enjoyed this, although the Harry Potter recommendation on the cover is completely misleading and annoying. Hounds is nothing like Harry Potter! It is an adventure fantasy set in Ireland and it draws on elements of Irish myth - in fact it made me wish I knew more about Irish myth. A boy
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unwittingly releases an ancient evil, and he and his sister must then choose whether to undertake the dangerous quest to prevent it falling into the hands of the Morrigan whose only purpose is destruction. Along the way they meet a wide variety of people and creatures - some frightening and some very funny. The book has been criticised for being a mish-mash of styles, but in the best tradition of tale-telling encounters with the truly aweful are ameliorated by more homely meetings, and the children's courage is strengthened by laughter. The descriptive writing is sensitive and beautiful and the story exciting.
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LibraryThing member bunwat
If I was going to rate this book only on characterization and dialogue I would give it a five. If I was going to rate it only on plot and theme I would give it a two. So I'm compromising on three.

Brigit and Pidge, two charmingly rendered Irish children, are sent on a quest for no apparent reason
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by the Dagda, and for six hundred plus pages they wander rather passively around fairy being laconically either opposed or assisted by an enormous cast of characters, most of them absolutely delightful. Then there is a fight. Then they go home.

Mostly the plot is just an excuse for the kids to travel around and meet people and animals and have conversations with them which are filled with the most terrific lyric Irish language and utterly funny, marvelous images and ideas. Much of the behavior of both the villains and the heroes is slapstick funny, some of it is quite frightening or even beautiful but somehow it just keeps falling apart into these long stretches where nothing in particular happens for page after page after page after...

The logic of the whole thing pretty much escapes me and there was little urgency to the quest, but I enjoyed it greatly in parts - and then I would completely lose interest and stop reading for a day or so. Then I'd pick it up and hit on some marvelous bit of dialogue and that would keep me going for awhile longer. If you love language there is enough wonderfulness in here to be well worth the read. If you are somebody for whom plot is important, this might not work for you.
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LibraryThing member autumnleaving
One of my all-time favorite books. That rainbow-colored worm took months to stop myself from imagining it. Never found any other book that captured my attention like O'Shea's book did. Thankful for this 3rd book out of the three books written by her.
LibraryThing member -Eva-
When 10-year-old Pidge accidentally sets free the evil serpent Olc-Glas, the powers of good do their best to assist him in rectifying the mistake, while The Morrigan works hard to gain Olc-Glas' powers for herself. This is most definitely a book that is appropriate for younger readers since,
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although the quest is serious, the main characters are never in true jeopardy and are helped at every turn by the powers of good so that the story never gets too scary. The main characters are very likable and all the characters they meet are interesting in their own right, so it was a fun read. I prefer a story that has higher stakes for the characters, but I can't really fault the book for being what it is even if it's not my type of story, so I'd recommend it highly to someone who needs a book for a younger reader who is ready for some exciting fantasy.
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LibraryThing member thesmellofbooks
My new favourite book.




(203 ratings; 4.1)
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