This work by Mr. King is a very interesting read, though difficult to get started into. It is full of factual information, scholarly discoveries and ideas that make even experienced followers of the path sit back and think. Despite the utility and genius of the book, there are a few things that I didn't like about it.
First, the title is deceiving. A little less than half of the book is actually about the cycles of the Celtic year, and even less about the holidays and rituals. The entirety of the first 4 5 chapters is general background information on the Celts and the Druids. While this information is useful, and accurate, it is also replicated in 100 other books.
Second, Mr. King makes an interesting case that the Druids were the remnant of a long-forgotten Pythagorean cult, at best a dubious proposition and a laughable one at worst. Though his points are interesting, it is all conjecture with very little solid information to back it up.
Lastly, Mr. King doesn't delve deeply enough into the various subjects he explores. Though the information is good as a primer, it is hardly an advanced book on the subject of the Celts and the Druids. Most of the information can be found in any other book.
I gave the book 4 stars because Mr. King makes some points that are glossed over, skipped or ignored by other writers. While its true that he does this to try to prove his pet theories correct, the information is made no less valid. The few unique things in this book turn out to be rare gems in the sand.
This is my first reading of anything Celtic and I absolutely loved the book. My intention when I purchased the book was to find out about ancient agricultural societies and how they viewed the world, how they functioned as a whole, and what beliefs they held. Interestingly enough, my interest changed to actually enjoying the history behind the Druids and the society in which they were held in such high regard.
I enjoyed the book for several other reasons as well: King made a valid argument as to the location on the calendar as to where the Celtic year would begin and end. It is logical, to me at least, that for an agricultural society they would celebrate in the summer when food was plentiful and the days long; not in the winter when they were possibly starving and living off of the meager rations that they could eat from the salting of meat.
One of the other reasons that I liked this book so much was because it dealt with so much of the Celtic society in such a relatively short novel. King touches on religion, roman influence, cultural oversights by previous historians, and of course the calendar and their alphabet (which takes up a large portion of the later half of the novel for obvious reasons).
As a reviewer I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Celtic philosophy and Society who haven't read any or much Celtic history as of yet. What I got out of this book was that I wanted to read more about the society; to find out more about the Druids, the Bards (or Ovates) and their incredible---and sometimes magical---lives. Great read.