Limey-haters worldwide will crow at this history-based tale of
Irish defiance during the reign of that "howling old hag," that
"harridan," that "old red hag of a queen," Elizabeth I. Kidnapped
by deceitful British, young Hugh spends four long years as a
prisoner in Dublin Castle, hearing news of one atrocity after
another, beaten and scorned but triumphing in every verbal
encounter with his prejudiced, stupid captors, all of whom dress in
ridiculous clothes and practice a colorless, denatured religion. In
contrast to their corrupt adversaries, the Irish are characterized
as loyal, noble-hearted lovers of music and natural beauty,
prevented from uniting to throw off their oppressor only by their
penchant for internecine "freedom's quarrels." Readers not used to
Gaelic place and personal names will find the nonstandard dialogue
heavy going-"And look at yourself, Hugh Roe-out of fosterage, and
dreaming, no doubt, of all the sins you're going to commit, now you
are after escaping the clutches of The Macsweeney Doe"-and the
ideological message, capped by Hugh's repeated, pointed, vows never
to forget the wrongs and harms perpetrated by the British, is
discomfiting, to say the least. Thanks to some supernatural help,
Hugh escapes on his second try, and, as detailed in an afterword,
went on to become another prematurely dead Irish hero. It's an
adventuresome tale, but the author uses it to promote an ugly
agenda. "(Fiction. 11-13)" (Kirkus Reviews)
The extraordinary true story of Red Hugh O'Donnell -- kidnap, gaol,
dungeons, escape Ireland in 1587 was a tough place. The old Irish
clans struggled desperately to hold on to their lands. With the
Spanish Armada threatening her in the background, the English
queen, Elizabeth I, set out to subdue them. A few weeks before his
fifteenth birthday, Red Hugh was captured and taken to Dublin
Castle. He was held as hostage to ensure the good behaviour of his
father, chief of the powerful O'Donnell clan of Donegal. After
several years, one freezing winter's night the chance of escape
seemed to come at last. But there were great risks ...
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