First in the Irish Century historical fiction series, 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion begins the saga of the Halloran family during Ireland's long struggle fror independence.
At age fifteen, Ned Halloran lost both of his parents--and almost his own life--when the Titanic sank. Determined to keep what little he has, he returns to his homeland of Ireland and enrolls at Saint Edna's school in Dublin. Saint Edna's headmaster is the renowned scholar and poet, Patrick Pearse--who is soon to gain greater fame as a rebel and patriot. Ned becomes deeply involved with the growing revolution . . . and the sacrifices it will demand.
Through Ned's eyes, Morgan Llywelyn's 1916 examines the Irish fight for freedom--inspired by poets and schoolteachers, fueled by a desperate desire for independence, and played out in the historic streets of Dublin against the background of World War I. It is a story of the brave men and heroic women who, for a few unforgettable days, managed to hold out against the might of the British Empire.
The Irish Century Novels
1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion
1921: The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War
1949: A Novel of the Irish Free State
1972: A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution
1999: A Novel of the Celtic Tiger and the Search for Peace
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Llywelyn's second novel in the series she inaugurated with 1916 (1998) furthers her investigation of Irish history by focusing on Ireland's struggle for freedom from Britain. This volume begins in 1917 in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and carries through to the civil war and the establishment of the Republic of Ireland. That Llywelyn knows her Irish history, culture, language and ambience is unquestionable. Unfortunately, in her attempt to amalgamate her encyclopedic knowledge of Ireland with the fictional adventures of Henry Mooney, a journalist torn between the traditional demands of family and personal ambition and his commitment to his country, she produces a story that is as dense as an Irish bog and nearly as confusing to navigate. Henry, a supporter of the Republican cause but a political moderate and neutral observer by nature, moves with alacrity among the various factions, apparently enjoying journalistic immunity as he uses his pen to further the Irish cause and attack the British. As the situation in the country deteriorates, Henry's personal life becomes more complex. Smitten with passionate S le Halloran, but unable to possess her since she is the wife of his best friend and Easter veteran Ned (protagonist of 1916), Henry falls in love with beautiful Anglo-Irish siren Ella Rutledge, further dividing his loyalties. Often sliding into essayistic prose, with footnotes supplementing the text, the novel depicts events and political developments in exhaustive detail. Though the account of the civil war is thorough and nuanced, readers of 1916 and other popular books by Llywelyn (Lion of Ireland; Bard, etc.) may be taken aback by the historical heft of this offering. Forecasts: Llywelyn is a popular writer and this book won't hurt her sales record, boosted as it will be by an excerpt in the mass market edition of The Last Prince of Ireland (due out March 1), an eight-city author tour, national ad/promo and the availability of a reading group guide (the book is caboosed by 17 pages of source notes and bibliography).
This is my favorite book! Read it once a year! Worn out two copies!