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Consumed in Freedom's Flame

Liam, Cathal

Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Padraic Press


Consumed in Freedom's Flame

Plot Summary

The novel begins near the end of the Easter Rising, flashing back and forth between the present and the past events that led up to it. Part of a group led by The O’Rahilly and tasked with capturing a British barricade, Aran Roe O’Neill—one of the Rising’s key snipers—is one of very few who manages to escape with his life. Staying hidden as he tries to find the new rebel headquarters, he realizes that his side has surrendered. He is soon spotted, arrested and brought to a crowded cell to await sentencing.

The next day, though, during a march with the other prisoners, Aran jumps into the Liffey and escapes through an underwater tunnel. He manages to reach a farm outside Dublin, where he is able to recuperate in exchange for doing some farm work. He quickly falls in love with the young woman who runs the farm, Brigid, and vows to return to her.

Shortly after, Aran travels to Limerick to come to the aid of some fellow republicans. Together, they decide that they must leave Ireland for the time being. But on their way to a ship bound for America, the group is gunned down. Again, Aran barely escapes; this time, though, he is injured badly by two bullets to the side of his head and comes extremely close to death.

In Virginia, Aran and his group are taken care of by the McCracken family. Meanwhile, news reaches them that Brigid was thrown off her horse and killed while being chased by drunken members of the British Army. Then, after a long winter, a multinational assassination team attacks the McCracken farm and the group is again forced to flee. This time, accompanied by the McCrackens, they return to Ireland.

The rest of the novel describes the raids in which Aran takes part as Green Section Commandant of the Flying Gaels, a group of guerilla fighters who regularly attack and burn isolated army and police barracks in order to collect weapons for the IRA. Meanwhile, Aran and Sarah Anne become romantically involved. Throughout the War of Independence, British practices become increasingly contradictory to the rules of international humanitarian law, and the Irish people slowly come to support the wishes of the IRA. The novel ends when truce terms come into effect on July 11, 1921.

Main Characters

  • Aran Roe O’Neill

Significant Minor Characters

  • Lady Augusta Gregory

  • Robert Gregory

  • Patrick Pearse

  • The O’Rahilly

  • Michael Collins

  • Liam Mellowes

  • Brigid O’Mahony

  • Richard “Shadow” Doyle

  • Gabriel McCracken

  • Larry McCracken

  • Sarah Anne McCracken

  • Turlough Molloy

  • Danny Kelly

  • Major Hawkins

Publication History

The novel was initially published in hardcover in January, 2001 by St. Padraic Press (Cincinnati, Ohio). It was reprinted again in hardcover by the same publisher three months later. In 2002, St. Padraic Press reprinted it twice in paperback. Subsequent paperback reprints were issued in October, 2004, May 2007, and May 2008. Novel is currently in print.

Additional Notes

The novel was nominated for the 2001 Book-of-the-Year award by Foreword Magazine (Traverse City, MI). It received the bronze medal for historical fiction. It was Liam’s first novel.

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