SOS Lusitania by Kevin Kiely

SOS Lusitania

Written by Kevin Kiely
Illustrated by


SOS Lusitania by Kevin Kiely

One of the most dramatic seafaring tragedies ever ... Thirteen-year-old Finbar Kennedy runs away from home in Queenstown (Cobh) to follow his sea-captain father onto the Lusitania. On the return journey from New York, Finbar works as a deck-hand, and running messages gives him a lot of information. He begins to understand that something strange is happening. But what can he do? And whom can he trust? Fact is stranger than fiction: In May 1915 the huge liner, the Lusitania, sank off the Cork coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. This happened during the First World War. But, unlike the Titanic tragedy, this was no accident. The ship was torpedoed by a German submarine. Rumour had it that there were spies, arms and gold on board the Lusitania. These rumours were true.


'a compelling mix of fact and fiction ... gripping' 'a tense and dramatic story

'Kiely's well-plotted story, told by Finbar himself, is deftly knitted into the true story of the [Lusitania]'

'a most enjoyable book'

.com 'it would suit young and old in any setting, be it at home or school

.com 'this fictional reworking is intriguing and fleshes out a past event

.com 'Kielys book would be perfect as a class novel

.com 'Kiely uses genius foreshadowing in this plot to build suspense and hope

.com 'Kevin Kiely manages to capture the essence of the early 1900s using subtle apt language, home life and innocence

.com 'I just couldn't put it down! Brilliant ... I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends

.com 'an intriguing read


'well researched and contains many fascinating nuggets of historical fact'

'a fantastic read ... fascinating'

... I wish the book was longer and I have recommended it to all my friends -- a deftly plotted novel which skilfully captures the significance of the momentous tragedy, SOS Lusitania will appeal to history fans young and old -- fans of Nicola Pierce's Spirit of the Titanic will enjoy this action-packed book -- an uncomplicated easy read -- Books Ireland this is Finbar's story, and the narrative from his young viewpoint is both fascinating and immediate -- Books Ireland an exciting seafaring adventure -- Books Ireland 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 -- Our Book Reviews will bring a lump to the reader's throat more than once -- Our Book Reviews a great story ... told extremely well -- Our Book Reviews a work of fiction to entertain the younger reader - something it will do in aces -- Our Book Reviews an exciting story based on a real event which is sure to appeal to boys of 10 plus -- Historical Novel Society a novel that runs smoothly from start to finish, where all that you see is not as it seems! -- InTouch well suited to novel reading in senior classes of both boys and girls, with possibly the boys enjoying the talk of spies and war a little more -- InTouch a good account of life in Queenstown in 1915 -- InTouch a lovely children's novel written in the overall brand of The Da Vinci Code -- InTouch a moving story that pays great attention to detail in bringing history to life -- Children's Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013 an ingenuous mix of fact and fiction ... a compelling read -- Children's Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013 powerfully descriptive ... an excellent read ... stranger than fiction -- IBBY atmosphere of wartime threat keeps the story bowling along ... tense and action-packed -- SLA Magazine

About the Author

Kevin Kiely has had several collections of poetry published, had plays broadcast on RTE and is engaged in literary journalism and editing. He has received Literature Bursary Awards from the Irish Arts Council, and is Honorary Fellow in Writing with the University of Iowa. This is his first book for young readers.

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Book Info


208 pages
Interest Age: From 9 years


Kevin Kiely
More books by Kevin Kiely


O'Brien Press Ltd

Publication date

25th February 2013



Publisher Profile

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.

Publisher's Website

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