It is 1916 and Europe is at war. From the poverty of the Dublin slums twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway sees it all as glorious, and loves the British Army for which his father is fighting.
But when war comes to his own streets Jimmy's loyalties are divided. The rebels occupy the General Post Office and other parts of the city, and Jimmy's uncle is among them. Dublin's streets are destroyed, business comes to a halt.
In an attempt to find food for his family, Jimmy crosses the city, avoiding the shooting, weaving through the army patrols, hoping to make it home before curfew. But his quest is not easy and danger threatens at every corner.
a stirring account of the Easter Rising
Mad About Books
'An impressive first novel'
The Sunday Independent
'A fine, humane anti-war novel which young people will relish'
'A sensitive portrayal of a boy's forced and traumatic emergence into adolescence'
A striking first novel endowed with a strong sense of the conflicting passions of the time. Some of the scenes are as searing as anything in O'Casey's trilogy.
Children's Books in Ireland
We sweat it out with Jimmy as he confronts horror at every turn. Physically and emotionally in a no-man's land, the boy's perceptions of good men killing one another leave him more scarred than any bullets.
Whelan immerses readers in a harsh, yet poignant, journey that finds Jimmy learning much about the Irish people, his family, and most important, himself. The exciting plot moves effortlessly, enhanced by plenty of details to add character depth and historical context, and Whelan wisely avoids both extreme tragedy and overzealous triumph. The result is a fine adventure, with some realistic, genuinely heart-tugging twists.
Roger Leslie - Booklist
A wonderful and gripping class novel. Ideal for my 5th and 6th class, all boys!!They are currently engrossed with Jimmy Conway's life and in the capital!
A brilliant book. A+. Highly recommended for all ages
Claire on 21st February 2012
A stunning book about the Easter Rising from a child's point of view. A great read
Joanne on 14th November 2011
This book is excellant and the details are very accurate and factual. I really enjoyed it and felt very connected to the young children of 1916
Catriona on 19th July 2010
Teaching Resources: free to view and download
Teaching ideas for fifth class from O'Brien Reading Programme
Gerard Whelan answers the top 20 questions his readers ask about The Guns of Easter
Teaching guide from O'Brien Teaching Guides Collection 1