From the Author
How could it be that I'd never heard of that?
It turned out that others hadn't either.
The more I read about Cromwell's Reign of Terror, the hotter my Irish-American blood boiled. I knew I had to write something about this obscure yet pivotal period of Irish history.
My fierce main character, Freddy, is an O'Brennan from County Kilkenny because my Irish grandmother was a Brennan from County Kilkenny. Except for Cromwell, the characters in the novel are fictional. The story, however, is based on historical accounts.
In 1649 Cromwell led an invasion of Ireland many call genocide and ethnic cleansing. During the 1650s, Ireland lost about 41 percent of her people. The Irish Famine of 1845 to 1852, by comparison, resulted in a loss of 16 percent of the population.
Cromwell hated Catholicism and wanted to punish Irish Catholics for the rebellion of 1641. Catholicism was banned; priests were wanted men; Irish Catholics who were not murdered were thrown off their land and often "spirited away" to the Caribbean. An estimated 100,000 Irish citizens, mostly women and children, were sold to English sugar plantation owners and literally worked to death. Some were flogged to death. They suffered horrific conditions - disease, starvation, and torture.
"The curse of Cromwell upon you" is a popular Irish saying. To this day, Irish mothers threaten naughty children with the ultimate punishment: "Cromwell's going to get you!"
The bitterness caused by what took place during the 1650s has been a powerful source of Irish nationalism for more than 350 years. Irish slavery was an atrocity that should not be forgotten. My hope is that this novel will help bring it to light.