TAKING SIDES

A Boy. A Girl. A Nation Torn Apart.

By
Brian Gallagher
Taking Sides

Dublin, 1922. Working class Annie Reilly is thrilled to win a scholarship to Eccles Street School. Through a classmate she meets Peter Scanlon, a student in Belvedere College. Peter sides with the rebels in the Civil War and carries messages for them. When Annie’s life is threatened, he has to decide where his loyalties lie.

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Paperback:
224 pages
Size:
196x130 mm
ISBN:
9781847172792

Also available as an Electronic Book (ePub)

ISBN:
9781847173836

In the Dublin of 1922 with Civil War about to break out, working class Annie Reilly is thrilled to win a scholarship to Eccles Street Convent School. A little frozen out by her old friends, yet not wholly accepted by all of her new classmates, she is pleased to be befriended by Susie O'Neill an easy-going girl from a much more comfortable background. Through Susie's brother, Annie meets Peter Scanlon, a neighbour of the O'Neill's and a pupil at Belvedere college. Having been radicalised by the execution of Kevin Barry, another Belvedere pupil, Peter becomes involved with the rebels who oppose the Treaty with Britain, and who are in conflict with the forces of the newly formed Irish Free State.

As families and friends across the nation are forced to choose sides, and with Peter's conservative parents unaware of the dangerous role their son is adopting, Annie and Peter find their friendship coming under strain.

Torn socially between her old friends and the exciting opportunities her new school presents, Annie is further confused when fighting breaks out on the streets of the city, with Irishmen now fighting other Irishmen. When Peter comes under suspicion from the police he asks Annie to cover for him. Reluctantly she provides him with an alibi, knowing that this also places her at risk of arrest - and with it the loss of her vitally-important scholarship.

While all of the friends try to enjoy normal life - engaging in after-school classes, sports and concerts - there is no escaping the conflict that is rocking the country. Annie and Peter argue, but despite disagreeing with his secret activities as a messenger for the Die Hards, Annie keeps his secret.

Annie's father, who drives a hackney that is often used by government officials, is targeted by the rebels, and Annie is kidnapped at gunpoint to force her father to co-operate in an assassination bid. Knowing that both sides have become increasingly brutal and ruthless, Peter is horrified when he learns of the danger that Annie now faces.

Torn between his convictions and the debt that he owes to Annie, Peter has a stark choice to make. And when he risks everything for his friend, Annie too has to struggle with loyalty and the notion of informing on a friend, when other peoples' lives are in the balance.

BRIAN GALLAGHER was born in Dublin. He is
a full-time writer whose plays and short stories
have been produced in Ireland, Britain and Canada.
He has worked extensively in radio and television,
writing many dramas and documentaries.
Brian is the author of four adult novels, and his
other books of historical fiction for young readers
are One Good Turn and Friend or Foe – both set in
Dublin in 1916; Stormclouds, which takes place in
Northern Ireland during the turbulent summer of
1969; Secrets and Shadows, a spy novel that begins
with the North Strand bombings during the Second
World War; Taking Sides, about the Irish Civil War;
Across the Divide, set during the 1913 Lockout,
Arrivals, a time-slip novel set between modern and
early-twentieth-century Ontario, and Pawns, set
during Ireland’s War of Independence. Brian lives
with his family in Dublin. His new book, Spies, is a sequel to Pawns and is coming soon!

Find out more about Brian's books at briangallagherwriter.com 

'grey areas of life are well explored and Gallagher introduces ethical, moral, social and gender issues without polarisation - the notion of life often being a 'contest of two or more rights' is well presented ... Gallagher’s historical research is sound

Inis Magazine

'a vivid portrayal of a torn city and divided loyalties’ ‘perfect historical fiction read for ages 10 years+'

Primary Times

'gripping ... a great Christmas stocking filler ... a perfect accompaniment to historical studies'

Woman’s Way

'riveting'

Sunday Independent

'gripping right from its first page'

Evening Echo

'A 'hold your breath' story ... that's one of the great things about both Brian's books - they are set in the past, but they are set in a real and still recognisable Dublin ... Like most people my age (and no, I'm not telling!) I grew up reading books set

Dublin Public Libraries website

'Gallagher writes well evoking the period and the characters in an accessible and believable way. This is a great way to introduce children to history and bravely tackles a subject that many historians shy away from.'

Books Ireland

'Gripping right from its first page ... surpasses it [Across the Divide] in dramatic action and storytelling skill'

Evening Echo

'the themes of loyalty, friendship and the class divide are dealt with thoroughly against the vivid historical backcloth'

School Librarian Magazine

'an involving, exciting read ... a first class adventure'

Carousel Magazine
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Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Peter Heaney

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Other books by this author
  • Across the Divide
  • Secrets and Shadows
  • Stormclouds
  • Friend or Foe

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