Review by The Mole
When 13 year old Finbar Kennedy dreams of a ship sinking at sea he decides it's an omen that his dad, Jack Kennedy- the Staff Captain of the Lusitania, is in danger and so decides to run away from home, stow away on the Lusitania and protect him. Little did anyone know of the events that were to unfold when the Lusitana was making her return to Liverpool.
We all know of the fate of the Lusitania on that trip. Or do we? In this story for the younger reader Kiely unfolds that history for the reader. Sadly I have to admit that many of the facts he includes I was not aware of - but the historical notes in the rear of the book make it clear what was fact and what was fiction and I make no dispute. Some things, like a conspiracy theory, he speculates on and does not purport to be fact but other parts, like the carrying of arms for the war and gold for the Bank of England, he states as documented fact.
But lets not get carried away with the history, yes it's there but primarily this is a work of fiction to entertain the younger reader - something it will do in aces. It's a great story and it's told extremely well. When Finbar describes the ship and it's size from his perspective and not in feet, yards, football pitches or anything else, I felt, for the first time, that I knew just how big such a ship actually was. And when Finbar sees New York for the first time... I really felt like I was seeing it through his eyes. Clearly this story, in which 1200 people will die, is not all happy and Kiely will bring a lump to the reader's throat more than once.
An excellent read for girls and boys alike. And I'm sure there are bits of history adults will meet for the first time too.
Publisher - O'Brien Press
Genre - Children's Historical Fiction 10+
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