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Synopsis

Ireland in the sixth century AD is a land of warlords and warriors. The common people live their short lives in small ring forts, fearful of sudden violence, plague, hunger and the unseen demons sent by pagan gods.

In 521 A.D. Columba is born into the royal family of the warlike Northern Neil. There are expectations that he will be their future king. But Columba is no ordinary warlord.

As a child he shows both fearless leadership and great compassion and chooses the Christian god as the most powerful one to follow. His ambition is to found big monasteries to help the common people.

Later, as a priest, Columba becomes dissatisfied when he compares his achievements to those of his friends. Proud, headstrong and ambitious, Columba is tempted by his family into joining them in a tribal war. This results in loss of innocent lives and leads to excommunication and personal crisis.

When, unexpectedly the sentence is dropped, Columba seizes his second chance. He becomes a penitent; exiles himself from his family and country and founds Iona, a monastery in Scottish Dalriada.

He chooses an unlikely monk to be his personal servant and constant advisor, but is he the right choice to help Columba control his warlike tendencies? How does Columba lead a way forwards out of paganism and ignorance, beginning in Ireland and spreading eastwards to Northumbria and then on into western Europe, in the next two centuries?

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