Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review - "Rebels" by Peter de Rosa

I read Peter de Rosa's excellent historical novel about the 1916 Rising while on holiday in Spain this summer, but took my time writing a review for Amazon. The review is reproduced below. I also note for the first time that I have dropped out of the Top 500 Reviewers at - at the time of writing this I'm now ranked #502.

5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical novel, 5 Sep 2009
By EFMOL "eugeneol" (Dublin) - See all my reviews
Peter de Rosa's historical novel is an excellent read and and will give the reader a detailed account of what it must have been like during the 1916 rebellion. All the intrigues of a rebellion are there for all to see. I'm told that there are historical inaccuracies in the book, but even though I am very familiar with this period of Irish history I didn't notice anything wrong.

Events are highly dramatized - particularly towards the end of the book when the executions take place. Written evidence records that the 1916 leaders had accepted their fate, but this book paints them all as angelic heroes sacrificing their lives in the cause of Irish freedom - Pearse would "go through death without hurt". Even he must have felt some terror facing a firing squad, but there is no hint of it for any of the leaders facing death. No one can know what was going through their minds at the time, and de Rosa does an excellent job on what it must have been like.

The 1916 Rebellion had a lot of characters and de Rosa keeps the plot and story going with ease. Countess Markievicz makes for an excellent hero, General Maxwell is the villain, Roger Casement is treated favorably - though his part in the rising is almost a distraction in this book, and all the leaders are heroes too. Almost 500 people were killed in the Rebellion and some of the savagery that took place - especially in North King Street, is graphically described.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to potential readers. Whether you are Irish or not you will enjoy reading about this dramatic period in Irish history. Any Irish person reading this will find that your heart will almost be bursting with pride reading about the rebels and their failed dream of an Irish Republic.

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