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A Celtic unsung heroine, the scourage of the Western Approaches is how the author sums Grace O'Malley. Daughter of a clan chief in County Mayo, Grace's story is stranger than any fiction. Married at fifteen, she soon had a fleet of galleys under her command, and was to rule the waves around Ireland for 30 years.
Judith Cook has delved deep into records of plunder, kidnapping, piracy and general mayhem that made up Grace's life. She tells of Grace's terrible revenge for the murder of her lover; her dramatic rescue from the scaffold; her intriguing meeting with Queen Elizabeth. Grace and Elizabeth, both powerful women in a man's world, had more than a little in common. Was Grace an intelligencer for Elizabeth's spymaster Walsingham? Was the price of her freedom? There are many intriguing questions in the life of this astonishing woman.