Kings of the Boyne by Nicola Pierce

Kings of the Boyne

Written by Nicola Pierce
Illustrated by


Kings of the Boyne by Nicola Pierce

Two kings, Three young soldiers. One battle to end all battles. Eager to prove his courage and defend his family honour, young Irish noble Gerald O'Connor rides his warhorse Troy north in King James's cavalry. Brothers Robert and Daniel Sherrard march south from the once-besieged city of Derry with King William's army. The chosen field of battle - the Boyne - lies waiting, where victory will decide who rules the lands of England, and of Ireland. And the fighting will decide who survives the deadly game of war.


Pierce draws together her characters

-life and the fictional, with great skill, and presents a vivid picture of this important slice of history, with compassion for all involved, and in ways that will be catch the imagination of readers of all ages -- full of action, fast-moving and very descriptive, this is an engrossing account with some exceptionally strongly drawn characters. It really brings the period to life, and will help young people understand this key event in Irish history -- Parents in Touch Author of a number of very fine historical novels for children, Nicola Pierce here continues the story that began in Behind the Walls ... Once again the storytelling is taut and compelling and reveals without overstatement how all great historical events are composed of and shaped by the actions and experiences of those caught up in them, from king to foot soldier. The book opens with a heart-rending scene that sets the tone for what follows ... The tactics of the battle are clearly described (though without any whiff of textbook) as is the horror of hand to hand fighting. The awfulness of battle feels more terrible because of the space in the book given to lighter moments and for drama that has nothing to do with war; we are always conscious too of the ordinary home lives going on as they always have and not far from the battlefield at all ... As well as the main teen protagonists, Pierce allows readers to see much of the action through the eyes of the kings at the head of the armies, James and William. Both are worried about their families, are shown to be struggling under the weight of responsibility, and are convincing and even sympathetic figures... Pierce draws together her characters

-life and the fictional, with great skill, and presents a vivid picture of this important slice of history, with compassion for all involved, and in ways that will be catch the imagination of readers of all ages -- Books for Keeps would be excellent to accompany history lessons -- The Irish News the multiple perspectives and unsentimental writing place the reader deep in the action and serve as a potent reminder of the madness of war and its terrible cost. Both history buffs and casual readers will find this novel a royal feast of storytelling -- CBI Recommended Reads 2016 Once again with clarity and passion, Pierce gives us an intimate picture of the reality of a pivotal historical event ... the characters, their relationships and actions/reactions are entirely genuine. The voices telling this story are strong and true. The research into the real Battle of the Boyne seeps through subtly, but with unfading accuracy. The pacing is perfect, matching the actuality of historical events. And the writing is utterly superb, placing the reader firmly in the lives of all the characters, their feelings and the horrific incidents taking place around, though it was over 300 years ago....the reader is there. These are very big concepts related with compassion and honesty, but also with an ease of story-telling that makes the book sing. While historical fiction can be a bit of a 'hard-sell

books. The ring of truth and the ability to be drawn into to the narrative make this book an incredible reading experience of great impact. Like all her others, simply amazing, a beautiful read and highly recommended to everyone

About the Author

Nicola Pierce

Nicola Pierce lives in the town of Drogheda in Ireland. Following her many successful ghostwritten books for adults, Nicola published her first book for children, Spirit of the Titanic. The book received rave reviews, and ran to five printings within its first twelve months. City of Fate is her second book for children and transports the reader deep into the Russian city of Stalingrad during World War II.

Q+A for Nicola Pierce

Q: Nicola, when did you first start writing?

From the very beginning I was a big reader and somehow writing just seemed to be wrapped up with my love of reading. I have diaries that I kept when I was a young child; they were as precious to me as my Enid Blyton collection.

Q: You write historical fiction novels – were you really into history when you were in school?

Q: Where did the idea for Behind the Walls come from?

I was asked to write a novel about the Battle of the Boyne in1690. During my research I discovered that a lot of the soldiers at the battle had fought at the siege of Derry in 1689 and so I felt that I should at least give it a mention. However, when I read about the siege it was such an exciting and dramatic story that I immediately knew it deserved an entire book to itself.

Honestly, the most interesting time period to research is whatever I’m in the middle of researching. I set out to discover as much as I can about the event and become hugely absorbed in that particular period – thanks to some wonderful documentaries on Youtube and the books that I find in my library and bookshop.

Q: How do you write historical fiction – research first and then write, or research as you go along?

Q: Where and when do you write?

I am not a disciplined writer. I aim to write 2,000 words a day and I try various ways and means of achieving this. I handwrite my novels so that means when I get tired of working in the house I can go out to a café and try working there. There are the days of glory when I reach 2,000 words before midday but these are usually followed by long, dark days when no matter how many times I count what I’ve written my total doesn’t add up to even half of what it should be.

Q: What was your favourite book when you were a teenager?

In my teens I re-read favourite books like “Little Women”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Children of the Oregon Trail”. I also loved “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”. I also spent my teens falling in love with most of the characters in books like “The Outsiders” and “Rumblefish”.

Q: Did you think that one day you'd write a novel that would actually be published?

Q: What advice can you give would-be children's authors in getting published?

This is a tough one as I realise how lucky I was and how difficult it is to get published today. What I can add to the reams of advice out there except to say try not be led by fashion. Ignore that best-selling fantasy book and write your own story honestly and from the heart. I’ve had some people smirk at me as they ask how long young readers will want to read historical fiction. Who knows the answer to such a question? I firmly believe there is a reader for every story.

Q: Favourite place in the world and why?

Two places: San Francisco and Portland, Oregon in America. Okay, so I haven’t yet been to either of them but that is going to change in May of this year. I can hardly believe that I am finally going to America for what I hope is just my first visit. I have read American writers for years and years and am very much looking forward to visiting the City Light’s Bookstore in San Francisco and Powell’s Bookstore in Oregon. I am also extremely excited to be anywhere near the possible destination of ‘Children of the Oregon Trail’.

Lordy, what a question! I would have liked to have seen Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in Woodstock in 1969 because they are two of my favourite singers/musicians. I would have liked to visit Paris/Berlin in the 1920/30s when they were crammed full of writers, artists and musicians before Hitler obliterated everything. I would also have liked to have been a cowboy on the great plains in America after the end of the Civil War and before Abraham Lincoln was murdered.

By far my number one passion has always been reading. I do it every day and can do anywhere. And I spend a small fortune on this particular hobby.

I love listening to music – loud, really loud! I’ve already mentioned Hendrix and Joplin. As I’m typing this I’m listening to a double album of The Temptations.

10 things you didn't know about Nicola Pierce

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Book Info


336 pages


Nicola Pierce
More books by Nicola Pierce


O'Brien Press Ltd

Publication date

26th September 2016



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.

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