Derry author pens first book Swordland

War, death, lust, and scheming in the starkly beautiful landscapes of medieval Ireland and Wales is the backdrop to a County Derry-born author’s debut novel.

Swordland, by Edward Ruadh Butler, was published in paperback and e-book form by Accent Press at the start of the month.

The novel has already garnered acclaim from reviewers who praised its ‘intrigue and spine-chilling bloody action’, and its ‘lucid, descriptive style’ which ‘brings to life landscapes, characters and battles’ of the 12th century.

Swordland tells the story of Robert FitzStephen, an arrogant but brilliant Norman warrior from the Welsh frontier whose struggles to subdue the native princes leads to his defeat and imprisonment. Disgraced, he seems doomed to a life of obscurity and shame. Then Diarmait Mac Murchada comes seeking FitzStephen’s help to recover his Irish throne after the High King forced him to flee his homeland.

With nothing left to lose – and perhaps a great deal to gain – FitzStephen agrees to lead the Irishman’s armies, and to drive Diarmait’s enemies from his kingdom.

His price? Approval and glory, or perhaps even a realm of his own?

“I started writing Swordland after doing some research into my family tree,” said Butler. “This brought me back to the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 - something that I knew only the scantest details about.

“Swordland is as bloody as any chapter from Game of Thrones, and the characters are as conniving as any from House of Cards. But this isn’t fiction - the events in the book actually took place in this country and were carried out by our ancestors.”

Swordland is available to buy in e-book and paperback form through and