25 May 2017

SWEARING ALLEGIANCE by Jana Petken


Amazon UK £2.79 £12.00
Amazon US  $3.45 $16.99
Amazon CA $22.64

Military
WWI / Irish Uprising
England and Ireland

This is a thoroughly researched novel that begins with the Irish rebellion in Dubin in 1916 and moves to the front lines of World War I. It is the first of The Carmody Saga, a fictional family, but the events with which they become entangled are all too real. The week long “rising” in April 1916 and its aftermath, is followed by imprisonment in Frongoch, in North Wales, for young Danny.

Danny's father is shot whilst collecting important research papers from the College of Surgeons and the family moves to his mother-in-law's home in Greenwich. Danny's older brother, Patrick, training to become a surgeon like his late father, joins a hospital ship. Their sister, Jenny, is injured in a Zeppelin raid. Meanwhile a close family friend, also a medic, treats injured soldiers.

Later Danny becomes a reluctant recruit to the British army. The depictions of the horrors of war are graphic. The rivalries and romances of the family members drawn with conviction. The many twists and turns of fate and fortune that afflict each member, and the way each responds, kept me turning the pages. This powerfully written novel provides moments of pleasure and pain, drama and horror that never fails to excite.

Given this is book one, and occupies two very turbulent years in Irish and British history, it is hard to imagine how Ms Petken will match the excitement as the family leaves the war behind. Of course, there is the violence of the guerrilla warfare that preceded Irish independence, and the brief but bloody civil war that followed. Danny, the passionate believer in Irish Independence, will surely have a part to play in these events that formed the Irish nation. What, though, of the other family members with their careers in medicine? Perhaps you can see that I am completely hooked, and desperate to read the next instalment.


Cover selected for Cover of the Month


© Frank Parker

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