Oisín McGann
The Gods and their Machines

Two worlds. Two different lives. Divided by hate and violence. Thrown together by chance.


Bisto Merit Award 2005 - 2005


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240 pages
196x130 mm

Also available as an E-Book (ePub)


Two worlds. Two different lives. Divided by hate and violence. Thrown together by chance.

Chamus's nightmare begins when he survives a massacre. Suicide-bombers from neighbouring Bartokhrin are terrorising his country, Altima. How do you fight someone who isn't afraid of death?

Across the border, Riadni is no ordinary Bartokhrin girl; she dresses like a boy, fights like a boy, spits and rides her horse like a boy. When the Hadram Cassal set up camp on her father's land, she is drawn to these rebels who are prepared to fight -- and to die -- for their homeland.

A crash-landing in Bartokhrin territory forces Chamus and Riadni together and they find themselves on the run, hunted by killers. Danger and death are closing in on them from all sides.

Oisín McGann studied art at Ballyfermot Senior College and Dún Laoghaire School of Art and Design, and went on to work in illustration, design and film animation. He moved to London in 1998, where he eventually found work as an art director and copy writer for an advertising agency. He now lives in Meath and works as an author, freelance illustrator and artist. You can check out Oisín's own website at

'Completely fantastical yet totally relevant'

Eoin Colfer

'A pacy, action-filled plot with very real characters facing gripping dilemmas'

Mark O'Sullivan

'Original, intelligent fantasy with plenty of contemporary relevance.'

Celia Rees, author of Pirates!

'McGann has created a clever, sharply constructed novel with credible characters and dialogue and tension-filled action. An excellent read.'

The Sunday Tribune

'... Literary excellence'

Inis Magazine

'This excellent novel is a fantasy, yet every word of it has direct and understated relevance for our own political world ... The novel is chiefly a fast-paced, tense and highly convincing thriller. But McGann's impeccably fair-minded and intelligent hints at parallels with Israel and Palestine, or America and the Middle East, or the secular west and Islam, are impossible to miss, and his even-handed narrative is all the more effective in consequence. Exciting as fantasy adventure, thoughtful in present-day relevance, the book is a fine achievement and is strongly recommended.'

The School Librarian
Peter Hollindale - The School Librarian

'An exciting and well plotted debut novel'

Evening Herald
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Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the novel by Judy Deacon

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