Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “From A Clear Blue Sky” as Want to Read:
From A Clear Blue Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

From A Clear Blue Sky

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A powerful survivor's account of the IRA bomb that killed the author's 14-year-old twin brother, his grandparents and a family friend, published on the 30th anniversary of the atrocity. Winner of the 2011 Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Award, and nominated for the 2009-2010 PEN/JR Ackerley prize.

On the August bank holiday weekend in 1979, 14-year-old Timothy Knatchbull w
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 31st 2009 by Hutchinson (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about From A Clear Blue Sky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about From A Clear Blue Sky

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  214 ratings  ·  31 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of From A Clear Blue Sky
Nicholas Whyte
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This is quite a gruelling read. In August 1979, 14-year-old Timothy Knatchbull was seriously injured when the IRA blew up his grandfather’s boat; his parents were also seriously injured, but survived; his maternal grandfather, his paternal grandmother, a teenage boy who was helping out on the boat, and also Timothy’s twin brother Nicholas were all killed. This would be a shocking enough event no matter who the victims were, but the boys’ grandfather was
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The amazing thing about belonging to a bookclub is that you are exposed to books you would never normally choose to read. I was just 17 when the IRA blew up a boat off the west coast of Ireland, just south of the line separating north from south. Way down at the bottom of the world in New Zealand, I distinctly remember the event, and the international horror and outrage at this act. I gathered the main target was a very important person but no real idea of who he was or what he had done. And tha ...more
Nancy Kennedy
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kind of grisly, this is a very in-depth look into the assassination of the Earl of Montbatten back in 1979.
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was fascinating. If you are a fan of The Crown, and have seen Season 4, Episode 1, you’ll already have some back story on the IRA’s assassination of Lord Mountbatten (a*k*a “Dickie”). This book was written by the one of only 3 survivors in that boat explosion... the surviving twin brother, Timothy Knatchbull.
Knatchbull, now a 55 year old man, has written this incredibly researched and meticulously detailed account of this shocking tragedy and his life-long pursuit to uncover the detai
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was born in Northern Ireland in 1996, two years before the Good Friday Agreement was signed. I spent most of my childhood between Northern Ireland, and across the border at my grandma's house in Donegal and was, for the most part, largely unaware of the situation around me.

I've been wanting to read and learn more about Ireland's history for most of my life; and it is only recently that I have come to appreciate why we couldn't learn about it in school to any real depth. The Troubles were polar
Eric Grounds
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone who knows about the murder of Lord Mountbatten at Mullaghmore in 1979. The author was one of the victims; his twin brother died, as did his paternal grandmother and the teenager who served as boatman and family helper. The book has been put together really well. It is intensely readable and deeply humbling in parts.
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling read ...

especially if you remember!
Tim shares his journey of pain, loss, searching and seeking understanding as he tells his own story of this remarkable family and this terrible event.
Bev Newton
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I started this book interested to learn more about something that I remember from when I was young- but got tired of the endless name dropping and did not finish it
Sarah Holt
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
Well written. Privileged. Moving in places and factually interesting. Just didn’t quite hit the spot
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book about the time Lord Mountbatten's boat was blown up by the IRA in Sligo. Naturally, this book , written by his grandson who had survived the bombing and whose identical twin brother was killed in the explosion, has a very sentimental view of Lord Mountbatten. On a human level , it's very touching, exploring his eventual recovery from the trauma. I had forgotten the depths of hatred some Irish people felt for the British and , in particular, members of the Royal family. ...more
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books added to my list to read several years ago... probably as a result of something heard on the radio but then forgotten. I feel the experience of the book was different for being an audiobook narrated by the author and listened to initially on a trip to London which in itself provided a reminder that there is another 'half' (very much less than a half) who live differently.

The narration was superb, beautifully clear and paced. I was fascinated by the details of upper cl
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it. After overdosing on light reading I needed a tonic so I did a 180 by reading this book. I was interested in it because I'd always heard about Lord Mountbatten (LM) being killed by an IRA bomb but I didn't know any of the details and wanted to know them. This book was written by LM's grandson who was on the boat when the bomb exploded. He survived but his twin brother was killed along with LM and their paternal grandmother. This book is an interesting combination of history, personal ...more
Kasandra Keith
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the August bank holiday weekend in the UK in 1979, 14-year-old Timothy Knatchbull went out on a boat trip off the shore of Mullaghmore in County Sligo, Ireland. It was a trip that would cost four lives -- and change his own for ever.

The IRA bomb that exploded in their boat killed Knatchbull's grandfather Lord Mountbatten (cousin of the Queen), his grandmother Lady Brabourne, his twin brother Nicholas, and local teenager Paul Maxwell. In telling this story for the first time, Knatchbull is not
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the most moving and humbling books I have ever read. It is particularly poignant for me because I am a lone twin and this book describes the murder of Tim Knatchbull's twin brother, along with his Grandfather Lord Mountbatten, when their boat was bombed off the coast of Ireland in August 1977.

Tim describes growing up with his twin, Nicky, the relationship between them, the events leading up to the bombing and the aftermath. Although a high profile family you realise they we
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was much better than expected. I also really liked the fact it was narrated by the author (audio version). It started a little slowly but once Tim started to describe the bombing and it's aftermath, it was incredibly moving. He went on to talk about the issues he faced having lost his brother. In the final section he returns to Ireland to meet those who helped his family and also to learn more about the trial of those accused. I knew very little about the troubles in Ireland and this book g ...more
Saturday's Child
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very open and honest account from a young man who survived an act of terrorisim. An IRA bomb claimed the life of not just his grandmother Lady Brabourne and grandfather Lord Mountbatten but also his twin brother Nicholas and a young Irish lad Paul Maxwell. Timothy's well written account tells of not jut his but his family's will to overcome such a tragedy. It is told without bitterness or hostility just real human emotion. ...more
Andrew Porteus
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting chronicle of the mental and emotional healing process undertaken by Knatchbull after he survived the bomb that killed his twin brother, his grandfather Lord Mountabatten, his grandmother, and a family friend. Meticulously researched, with many interviews with rescuers, police, medical staff etc. to set the background against which such atrocities occur, and the impact they have on all who come in touch with it.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
The fact that I live in Sligo may have coloured my opinion slightly but overall this book was so insightful but mostly heartbreaking and at times harrowing, stories such as this are sometimes difficult to take on board as the experience was so "unreal", the mind can not fully comprehend it. The author courageously faced so much of his pain, grief and the trauma of the past while writing this book and I admire him greatly for doing so. ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I kept forgetting what a privileged kid Knatchbull was and became engrossed in how tragedy resonates for so long and is so personal. It's impressive that he chose to write about his slow and complicated recovery. As a "single," it was very interesting to get some insight into the different experience of twinship. ...more
Lisa of Hopewell
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
Very interesting to read about the murder of Lord Mountbatten--written by the surviving twin grandson. Nice to see an extremely well off, well-known family do such a great job as parents. They all sound decent.
Tazar Oo
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
What happen when a twin was separated from his intimate one due to disaster? It is the authentic story of psychological struggles.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really interesting read and very emotional at times and obviously cathartic for the author. Well written.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult read. Harrowing.
Michelle Wilson
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, read last year----but extremely disturbing, had nightmares for a few nights! Very captivating, like you were there....
Tricia Phillips
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting and historical. Would like to read more about twins!
Debs Erwin
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not the kind of book I would normally go for but it was compelling reading. A very personal journey, well-written and placed in context of Ireland during and after the conflict.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Although it is hard-hitting first person account of an IRA attack, it is also a story of personal growth and healing. Maybe not something I would read over and over, but I highly recommend it
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Historical autobiography. Interest, a little dry and repetitive in places.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Th author is on a voyage of discovery that is helping him deal with loss. Fascinating perspective of Ireland during the "Troubles". ...more
Owen Mccarthy
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Timothy Knackbull is a wonderful person, and should be offered a place in the Irish Seanad.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
  • The Panther in My Kitchen: My Life With Wild Animals
  • War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line
  • The Girl in the Corner
  • Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady
  • Hamnet
  • The Daydream Cabin
  • The Stolen Girls (Detective Lottie Parker, #2)
  • The Missing Ones (Detective Lottie Parker, #1)
  • My One True North
  • Apple Tree Yard
  • The Pale Horse (Ariadne Oliver, #5)
  • Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
  • Night of Miracles (Mason, #2)
  • The Woolgrower’s Companion
  • Life in His Hands; the True Story of a Neurosurgeon and a Pianist
  • A Bird on My Shoulder: A memoir
  • Australian Farming Families
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Jenny Lawson is the funniest person you know. And if you don’t know her, just read one of her books and she becomes the funniest person you...
88 likes · 17 comments