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1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion

(Irish Century Novels #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,081 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Ned Halloran has lost both his parents--and almost his own life--to the sinking of the Titanic . Determined to keep what little he has, he returns to his homeland in Ireland and enrolls at Saint Enda's school in Dublin. Saint Enda's headmaster is the renowned scholar and poet, Patrick Pearse--who is soon to gain greater fame as a rebel and patriot. Ned becomes totally invo ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Forge Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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4.05  · 
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 ·  3,081 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With her debut novel in the Irish independence series, Morgan Llywelyn impresses readers with an attention to detail and easy narrative style. Aboard the Titanic, Ned Halloran and his family are on their way to America for a family wedding. When the boat hits an iceberg and sinks, many perish, leaving Ned an orphan. Ned arrives in New York to the astonishment of his sister, Kathleen, whose nuptials are overshadowed by the tragedy. As Ned is still a strapping teenager, he chooses to leave Kathlee ...more
If you want to understand the road to Irish Independence, I think this book is an excellent choice. Although it is a book of historical fiction, the historical facts are clear and correctly presented. A small group of fictional characters are added to the many known historical figures. The book begins with a list of characters, clearly stating which are fictional and which are real. It even states which of the historical figures died in the 1916 Rising. There are maps and a long biography. In ev ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish history fans
I loved this book. Of course, I am passionately interested in Irish history and, especially, Irish Nationalism. The fictional characters in the book are compelling enough to keep you reading, and the history is colorful, fascinating, and accurate. I appreciate the fact that she references all of her facts so that you feel you're getting "the real story." Of course, me being me, I still went online to compare the author's version with what was available in other books and was happy to find that s ...more
Melanie Moore
Over 500 pages, this is a hefty read. Even though the book is a fictional novel, it has a whole cast of historical characters. It has details that you want to slowly absorb and embrace. I paced myself at 25 pages a night at bedtime. Those who have pledged to read 3,000 books by year end will laugh at me. I think if you have experienced 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion you will agree with me, this work should be cherished at a leisurely pace.

That being said, even at a leisurely pace I would f
Llywelyn's four books on modern Ireland starting with 1916 and finishing with 1972 is perhaps the best overall introduction to Erie's sad and glorious history. You fall in love with her characters and she fleshes out the bones of history with story-telling second to none. I would recommend these four books to anyone who wants to understand Ireland and enjoys a deep, emotional reading experience.
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never expected a book on a rebellion to be slow. It started off well, but kept slipping from there as it dragged on with little of importance or interest actually happening. Most of the book was leading up to the Rising, and even the Rising itself was a bit peripheral. The main problem was that I wasn't attached to any of the characters. They just seemed a bit lifeless, which I was actually appreciative of at the end. (It is not happy and would have been much, much worse had I cared about the ...more
Bob Price
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young Ned Halloran is angry....really angry.

First his parents die on the Titanic. Next his sister marries a jerk. Then he finds out that his country has been occupied for hundreds of years. Followed by the fact that he dates a jerk...then falls in love with a prostitute...its amazing he hasn't boiled over with rage before.

Seriously, 1921 is an historical novel about the Easter uprising, with the vast part of the book setting the scene.

In this book, Llywelyn believably mixes history and fiction
Llywellyn has done it to me again!! Taken a period in time and so intricately woven a fictional character into it that at some point the two blurr together! The time she takes to research the history and know every detail allowed me to learn even more about a subject I thought I already knew! And of coarse the fictional story line has you swept up in terror and panic, first love and experiences, tears and heartbreak and cheering on the "heros" even though you know the outcome!

I have to admit th
Bernard Farrell
It's been several years since I read this historical fiction book set in Dublin during 1916. This was the year of the Easter Rising in Dublin, when a small group of armed Irish men and women took on the might of the English army.

In the end it was a dismal failure as an armed revolution, but it lit a spark that would result in England finally giving the people of Ireland control of their own country.

Llywelyn centers the book on Padraic Pearse, the schoolteacher who became the de facto leader of
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am prepping for our trip to Ireland, thus the many books with the Great Famine, the Rising, etc., as subject matter. I had read that Ireland sided with Germany in WWI but did not understand why but I understand the bringing together of peoples with a common enemy. This puts the reader right in the middle of a failed rising.
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The best part of the book is the last 50 pages, so hang in there through the sections that are more difficult. This novel is a great example of historical fiction that is more historical than fiction. Llywelyn includes copious endnotes and builds this story upon the real people who led the Irish Rebellion of 1916. Ned Halloran is technically the main character but is really just her method of telling the stories of those leaders. Ned himself is an idealistic young Irishman who finds himself a st ...more
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story set in the early 1900s culminating with the Easter Uprising in Ireland in 1916. I really enjoyed this book. To me, this is the textbook example of a historical novel, good fictional characters and a good plot whose tale is woven through significant historical events. While Llewelyn's story maybe doesn't rival those of Leon Uris, the Godfather of Historical Novels, it was good enough to keep me turning the pages. I also think of Uris because his novel "Trinity" was also about stru ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book is fairly self-explanatory. The rebellion is seen through the eyes of young Ned Halloran who becomes entranced with the idea of Ireland's freedom as taught to him by none other than Padraic Pearse. Ned joins in the fight and while this book remains fictional, his eyewitness account paints an accurate and vivid picture of the fateful months leading up to the revolution.
This book was a re-read for me. I found it on my shelf at home and since I'm poor, I decided to give it a
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know anything about the Irish Rebellion of 1916 before I read this book, and happened to hear the tune to U2's "Bloody Sunday" playing in my mind the whole time. (Not a bad thing!) I'm cautious to differentiate between truth and fiction while reading historical fiction novels, so was thankful to have the few biographical pages in the beginning. Unfortunately, I learned the fate of most before the rebellion, but that knowledge didn't detract from the suspense. Agreeing with others, I did ...more
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting blend of history and fiction -- with enough footnotes on the historical parts to bring the non-fictional characters (Pearse, et al) to life.

I'm a historical fiction fan and tend to want more history than fiction (and so I read a lot of non-fiction as well) so this book had a couple of story lines that I felt were a distraction (I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say that anything having to do with going to America or the American connection, I felt was unnecessary fil
Nov 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this was a historical novel it brought the issues and passions behind 1916 to life. Well written and interesting character development made this a great read. The book ends with the failed attempt to overthrow the post office in Dublin where the revolt ends. It is recommended to read this book then watch the film Michael Collins because this book provides all the background on the history and real life characters then Michael Collins picks up right where 1916 ends at the post office bui ...more
Taylor Bright
Oct 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I should clarify my star system. It's not that I didn't enjoy reading this book. I did. I would have liked if Llywelyn would have taken the license with the fiction to go a bit further into some of the historical figures - especially the leaders of the Easter Day rebellion - but my star system doesn't allow for historical novels to get much more than one star. At the same time, if you want a primer on the Irish rebellion and don't want to read a history book, I recommend Llwelyn's 1916
Tracie Taylor
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a student of Irish history, this book, although fictional, provides a great starting point to understanding the events and people who fought and died during the Easter Rebellion of 1916 and the road to the Irish Civil War, the troubles and even events and people today. I highly recommend the series if you are interested in the Republic of Ireland and Ulster.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictional, yet informational, account of the Irish Rebellion of 1916. Having just visited Ireland and the sites of the these events, it was a great way to become more informed. The protagonist was a young Irish boy who is coming of age and finding himself and end up in the middle of the rebellion. There is a a little bit of romance and personal stories that keep this history interesting.
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wasted-paper
Yawn. Who would have thought the Easter Rising would be so boring? Then again, I never got as far as the Rising. Perhaps it picked up when the fighting started, but young Ned's early years put me straight to sleep. Normally I like Llywelyn, but I suspect that here she decided to trade on her reputation rather than go to the extra work of making the opening of this novel interesting.
Helena R-D
Having been to Ireland recently and during the centennial of the Easter Rising, this book was a decent compliment to the actual history. A bit simplistic, but told the story well.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm a sucker for Irish history and "the rebellion."
John Jenkins
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘1916’ by Morgan Llewellyn is a historical novel with more history than most books of this genre, but both the history and the fiction are well-told. The book climaxes with the 1916 Easter Rising, which is preceded by four years in the life of fictional Ned Halloran and the real and fictional people with whom he comes into contact. Most readers will appreciate not only Ms. Llewellyn’s research and footnotes, but her ability to blend historical people and events with fictional characters and even ...more
Dave Courtney
The first hundred pages of this book and the final 50 or so pages are really, really strong. Everythinh inbetween was problematic to the point where, if you read the beginning and skipped the ending, you dont miss much outside of creating the setting and the context for the uprising itself.

The structure of the book uses news headlines to anchor a fictional story in its historical context. It's a nice idea, and it works well for mapping out where we are in terms of setting the stage and offering
Corrie aka Fae's Finds

Despite this being such an intense, densely jam-packed with historical times and figures, intertwined with fictional characters and their stories, that it took me nearly a month to finish reading, I did thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Morgan Llywelyn killed it with the research she did about the Irish Rebellion during WWI. And her storytelling fantastic! Yes, it was extremely dense with historical information, it was pertinent to the storyline. And I certainly appreciated it. Even if my bra
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wrote-a-review
I bought this one to read last fall before and during our Ireland trip, but didn't get it finished in time. I think it would have helped add attachment and context to some of the stories and places we encountered in Dublin and elsewhere. In fact, our hotel wasn't so very far from the site of St. Enda's school so I think I would have wandered up that way at some point to have a look.
I was woefully uneducated about the story of Irish independence, and this book filled in a lot of gaps (but then s
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this series in my desire to learn more about Irish history. For the record, I am not the least bit Irish. However, I had just returned from a trip to England and Scotland, and realized I knew very little about Ireland. This book is one of a series by Morgan Llywelyn about the history of Ireland and her peoples.

This is a unique work of fiction. It's heavily researched to the extent that the author footnotes many of the quotations (dialog) and details. However, the main characters
Rob Squires
This generally captivating historical novel strikes a good balance in its use of fictional and historical characters. However, anyone picking up this book with the hope of learning about the Irish uprising of 1916 should be aware that this book leaves out much. The one glaring omission is almost a complete failure to mention the intelligence and counterintelligence efforts that were made by both sides. Indeed, it was these efforts—including the assassination of many members of the so-called "Cai ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Llywelyn's written several historical novels based on Ireland, but there's just not much substance to this novel, despite a long bibliography. Most of the history included reads like an undergraduate's barely edited paraphrasing of reference books.

It's a frustratingly superficial review of a complex history, cut with scenes from a bad romance novel. The characters are too often molded to fit their national stereotypes, and even that good old "hooker with a heart of gold" trope. Too many ancilla
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Morgan Llywelyn (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.

Other books in the series

Irish Century Novels (5 books)
  • 1921: The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War
  • 1949: A Novel of the Irish Free State
  • 1972: A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution (Irish Century)
  • 1999: A Novel of the CelticTiger and the Search for Peace
“Questions stripped away the platitudes and undermined the verities that provided a sheltered, nursery existence for people who did not want to think. Questions were the obligation of the intellect.” 3 likes
“At one time the Irish had been forbidden by English law to educate their children, to own a horse worth more than five pounds, to play the Irish pipes, to wear the color green… the list went on and on. Most of the oppressive statutes were no longer enforced, but the shamed submission they had engendered remained.” 1 likes
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