Football mad, twelve- year- old Dan is a trusted messenger for Ireland’s rebel leader, Michael Collins. He promises his cousin Molly to never fire a gun, but after the dramatic events of “Bloody Sunday” in Croke Park, he is pulled deeper into the struggle. Hunted by a vengeful Intelligence Officer, Molly and Dan are forced to flee Dublin. But unknown to Dan, he holds the key to a deadly plot. And his enemy will stop at nothing to track him down. On the run, they meet Flying Columns and narrowly escape death But as Cork burns can Dan continue to outrun his enemy?
The mean-faced Tan moved forward and cocked a gun in my direction. “You with the ball! Stop, you little Fenian brat, or I’ll shoot!”
He advanced towards me, his eyes flaming down the barrel of the gun. I thought I was going to wet myself with fear.
On impulse, I skied the ball straight up to heaven. It soared higher than the rooftops. Everyone tilted their heads. From the corner of my eye I glimpsed the young rebel making a run for it towards Saint Andrew’s church on the opposite side of the road.
“POW!” a shot rang out.
I prayed it wasn’t the rebel. But the lifeless thud of my ball was almost as bad. The Tan had shot my dearest possession. But they hadn’t even seen the gunman!
REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 12 years, 11 months
MAY CONTAIN SPOILER:
This book was fascinating and full of mischief.
My favorite character is Molly because she helps Dan. She encourages him to be the best person he can be which is not an attitude most people have.
My favorite part is when Dan keeps the ball up in front of the soldiers because a couple doubt him, but he proves them wrong which shows how determined he can be.
I recommend this book for anyone who likes history, bravery, and a good fight.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up.
AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:
She is also an award-winning Producer/Director of primetime documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. These include Children of Helen House on the Oxford children’s hospice for BBC. She created and filmed the launch programmes of Born to Be Different the Channel 4 flagship series following six children with disabilities through the 21st century. Other films include Behind the Crime about criminals and Raised by the State on growing up in care. She has also made Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4.
Links to buy Deadly Shot – Dan’s Diary
Links to buy Molly’s Diary
AUTHOR TOP TEN:
The Top 10 Historical Events that mean something to me and why
1. The Birth of Jesus
Whether or not you are a Christian, the birth of Jesus was a turning point in the birth of Western Civilisation. It’s not just how we mark our calendar – Before Christ and Anno Domini. It also began a new era in world history and how people related to each other. Love thy neighbor, embracing peace, rejecting materialism were radical new ideas. Plus we remember it every Christmas – one of my favorite times of the year.
2. The Writing of the Book of Kells
I was a student at Trinity College Dublin where this incomparable illuminated manuscript is housed. It was completed around 800 A.D and is one of the greatest works of the so-called Dark Ages – a fusion of Celtic script and the Gospels lovingly illustrated by monks working by candlelight. One of the delights is a little poem by a bored monk who wrote about his cat Pangur Bán – “Hunting mice is his delight/Hunting words I sit all night.” Kids can learn all about it in a fantastic award-winning children’s animation called The Secret of Kells made by a brilliant Irish company called Cartoon Saloon.
3.The Renaissance – the Painting of Mona Lisa’s smile
It took four years to accomplish, but it still captivates five centuries later. Da Vinci invented a technique sfumato, meaning “smoke” in Italian, that blurs the lines and allowed for the creation of the enigmatic smile. It’s a major work of the Renaissance. From Botticelli’s Venus to Michaelangelo’s David all the canonical artworks came from this frenetic period in Italy. The leap forward from stiff medieval painting to the psychologically insightful and technically masterful paintings must have been astonishing at the time.
4. The voyages of Christopher Columbus
As an adventure story, the voyage to the America’s is hard to beat. The re-discovery by Europeans of a whole new continent opened up the world of the Native Americans with their respect for nature and the environment. And also the cultures of the Incas and the Andes. Unfortunately, it also exposed them to European diseases and greed. But it tilted the earth’s axis with far reaching consequences.
5.The Industrial Revolution
From the invention of the cotton jenny to the railways, the “dark satanic mills” of England gave birth to the age of steam and steel. The arrival of modern industry, the factory system and the growth of cities all ushered in our modern era. Everything that defines our global, industrial age began in this crucible of change.
6. The Irish Potato Famine
This was a watershed in Irish history when the potato blight failed, and the population of Ireland halved from eight to four million. Millions emigrated to the United States and Britain, creating the Irish diaspora. The traumatic, historical memory of the famine is perhaps what marks the development of modern Ireland more than any other event.
7. The Easter Rising 1916 in Dublin
This is the subject of my children’s novel The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary. It charts the most cataclysmic week in Irish history when a small band of Irish nationalists refused to fight for Britain in World War One and staged a rebellion in Dublin. Initially a failure, it led to the foundation of the Irish Republic. But it was also a world event that signified the end of the British Empire. It showed that if Britain couldn’t control dissent in her own back yard, it could no longer rule her vast network of colonies. It directly influenced the Indian independence movement and even the Russian revolution by showing that huge empires were vulnerable.
8.The Irish War of Independence 1919-1921
This era saw the invention of guerrilla war as we know it when anarchy and violence roamed the land. It’s the subject of my latest children’s novel, Deadly Shot – Dan’s War of Independence 1920-22. This is the first era of history that really came alive for me because I had a direct oral link with my late grandfather, on whom the character of Dan is loosely based. He was a very talented footballer who played for Ireland’s youth team. But he was also in the Fianna Irish rebel boy scouts and told me stories of running messages, burying guns and being a lookout. In later life, he was very anti-violence and tolerant of difference. When I was a child, I was enthralled by the adventure. But later on, I often wondered about how the experiences must have marked him. His accounts sparked my interest in history that I went on to study at university.
9. The Civil War in Ireland
This was a bitter and bloody war 1922-23 about whether to accept the limited freedom offered by Britain or hold out for a Republic with the threat of a resumption of all-out war. Instead, former comrades turned their guns on each other. One man signed the death warrant of his best man. Brother fought brother, and it divided Irish society for decades to come. I’m deep in research at the moment as it’s the subject of my next book. It’s about an Irish-American girl who returns to live in present day Dublin after her parent’s messy divorce. She finds a cache of hidden documents and a sliver of a diamond that plunges her into a mystery that takes her into Ireland’s civil war, American politics and the Russian revolution.
10. 9/11 The Twin Towers
This is the moment in contemporary history when everyone remembers where they were. I watched it all unfold in the BBC current affairs department where I was working on a documentary on children in care. Someone shouted that New York was being bombed, and we all left our desks to crowd around the television screens. It truly was a moment of shock and awe. I remember the deathly silence as we watched in disbelief. I had just returned from New York and had a vivid memory of the vista of the Twin Towers from the Staten Island ferry. My first thought was that the New York skyline would never be the same again. And then the questions and the horror came crowding in. What about all those people trapped in the towers? The citizens of New York? Would there be more atrocities? We all just knew it was a terrorist attack. There were several veteran reporters and producers in the room, and the professional media response swung into action. But I remember those first tense, hushed minutes when we gazed bewildered at the screen – the most powerful country in the world that had never been invaded under attack. It was as if those planes had pierced the skin of history.
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