When Fergus McCann, 18, crosses the border from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic to steal peat for his uncle to sell as fuel, what he digs up is a small body, an obvious victim of violence. Are the Troubles now claiming children? he wonders. But nothing is as it seems in the late Dowd's (The London Eye Mystery) rich work, set in 1981 and exploring sacrifices made in the name of family and freedom. Archeologists suspect the body is ancient, and they overrun the hillside of Fergus's discovery. Haunted by his find, Fergus learns its story in vivid dreams. Daylight provides no respite. His brother, an imprisoned IRA member, has joined Bobby Sands's hunger strike. His father salutes; his mother grieves. Three exams away from earning entrance to medical school, Fergus doesn't understand the strikers' mission, but his brother is resolute: "A coffin's a mighty statement, Ferg." Experiencing first love with the lead archeologist's daughter, Fergus is torn when he's blackmailed into being a courier by his brother's friend. Dowd raises questions about moral choices within a compelling plot that is full of surprises, powerfully bringing home the impact of political conflict on innocent bystanders. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bog Childby Sile Bermingham
DIGGING FOR PEAT in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him—his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as… See more details below
DIGGING FOR PEAT in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him—his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what—a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.
Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.
Gr 9 Up
It is 1981, and 18-year-old Fergus lives on the border between Northern Ireland and the south. His older brother, Joe, a member of the Provisional IRA, is jailed at Long Kesh and joins a hunger strike. The family is traumatized, and Fergus does his best to comfort his mother and to convince Joe that his "sacrifice" for the cause is not worth it. Fergus has been pressured (blackmailed) to smuggle packages for the IRA, but wants nothing more than to leave Ireland and study to become a doctor. His life becomes even more complicated when he and his uncle discover the body of a young girl while pilfering peat. It turns out to be 2000 years old. Thus begins a double narrative that involves a love story and a discussion of destiny and self-sacrifice. Fergus's story includes his struggle to understand his brother's actions and his growing love for the daughter of the archaeologist called in to investigate the Iron Age discovery. Interspersed is the story of Mel, the bog child, who makes the ultimate sacrifice to unite her people, and who finds love at the end of her life. The two narratives work beautifully together. The love story between Fergus and Cora is depicted with tenderness, and their adolescent sexuality is sensitively portrayed. Readers will come away with a strong sense of the time periods (especially of the "Troubles") through dialogue and action. This compelling read is lyrically written and contains authentic dialogue and challenging and involving moral issues. It's a first, and a must-have purchase.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD
"[A] painful and moving read."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, August 2008:
"This compelling read is lyrically written and contains authentic dialogue and challenging and involving moral issues."
Starred Review, Booklist, August 1, 2008:
"A strong story that is rich in language, setting, and theme."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2008:
“Dowd raises questions about moral choices within a compelling plot that is full of surprises.”
- Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 Years
Meet the Author
Siobhan Dowd lived in Oxford with her husband, Geoff, before tragically dying from cancer in August 2007, aged 47. She was both an extraordinary writer and an extraordinary person, and leaves two unpublished novels, the first being Bog Child. All royalties from her books will go to a trust created just before her death, the Siobhan Dowd Trust, a charity set up to support the joy of reading for young people in areas of social deprivation.
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