Behind the Walls: A City Besieged
Written by Nicola Pierce
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The Lovereading4Kids comment
A significant slice of historic conflict is served with authenticity and sensitivity. The siege of Derry in 1689 is a fascinating subject matter, while battle, starvation and death makes for uncomfortable and at times difficult reading, the author also highlights love, trust, courage and hope. The background to the siege is explained, followed by the first few days and weeks which include the boredom of waiting, the gossip, the scaremongering, the day to day life of a city cut off from the world. The skirmishes and attack on the walls when they come, are not glorified, the confusion and fear of battle, the lack of food and water, feel very real. The author gives an identity and personality to some of the animals, which helps to bring an alternative focus to the siege and exposes the difficult decisions that had to be made by their owners. This is a book to encourage imaginations and shows with consideration and compassion how the past is connected to today. ~ Liz Robinson
A Piece of Passion from the editor Susan Houlden Nicola Pierce is skilled at breathing life into long-ago events and well-known historical figures, making it all seem real and immediate. Why was there a siege in Derry in 1689? Why do people burn Governor Lundy as an effigy every year? In this book we find out the answers and what it is like to be trapped in a siege – a horror that is very real for other people around the world today.
Nicola introduces us to such memorable characters as the Sherrard boys, Daniel and Robert, and also local hero Adam Murray. Through their eyes we see how the siege began as the thirteen apprentice boys close the gates; we feel the tension, the fear, the suspicion and hate. We see bombardment, people fighting, starving, injured, and diseased. The storytelling creates vivid pictures in your head. Horace, Daniel's beloved dog, is among those sacrificed for food in a scene typical of Nicola’s books – one which will tear at the heart. But the Sherrard boys and the Derry people refuse to give in. Eventually, ships are sent by the Protestant King William, and the city is saved. What now for the Sherrard boys? A call to arms goes up. King William and King James are heading into battle at the Boyne.
Behind the Walls: A City Besieged by Nicola Pierce
Derry. 1689. The city's largely Protestant inhabitants resist all attempts by the Catholic King James's men to storm their gates. Outside, the Jacobite soldiers resolve to starve the populace into submission...
Inside the city, the Sherrard family are among those divided on whether to risk the lives of their loved ones or surrender the city. Tensions run high and the leaders argue. Mr Sherrard, the father of Robert and Daniel, starts to waver, angering his oldest son, Robert, who was among the 13 boys who closed the city gates in the face of the advancing Catholic army.
Meanwhile Daniel, the youngest Sherrard boy, also steps up to protect Derry. As the siege lengthens and the two sides clash in battle, the heavy price of defying the Catholic king becomes clear. People are starving, injured and diseased. Bombardment rains down on the city. Horace, Daniel's beloved dog, is among those sacrificed for food. But the Derry people remain defiant. There will be 'no surrender'. Eventually, ships, sent by the Protestant King William, laden with men and provisions, are spotted on the River Foyle. They save the city from starvation and the siege ends.
The Sherrard brothers celebrate the freeing of their city. But what now for these boys, haunted by their experiences?
'this fantastically written book will hook you from the start...this is historical fiction at its best.' The Guardian on City of Fate
About the Author
Interest Age: From 10
More books by Nicola Pierce
O'Brien Press Ltd
2nd March 2015
O'Brien Press Ltd is an imprint of O'Brien
The O'Brien Press is Ireland's leading general publisher of both adult and children's books. Our list covers a huge range, including biography, humour, photography, history, art, fiction, politics, cookery, sport, music, memoir, true crime and travel and we are constantly expanding into new and exciting areas.
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