Book Launch: LIBERTY BOY

LibertyBoyCoverNew release time!

LIBERTY BOY is available now for $3.99 from Amazon US | UK | CA (and all the rest too).

It’s the first book in a new series, and the first I’ve set in my home country of Ireland – specifically, in the aftermath of Robert Emmet’s failed 1803 Rising.

The wonderful cover was done by my very talented sister – Kate Gaughran – and a huge thanks to her for that.

Before I get into the background, here’s what Liberty Boy is about:

Dublin has been on a knife-edge since the failed rebellion in July, and Jimmy O’Flaherty suspects a newcomer to The Liberties–Kitty Doyle–is mixed up in it. She accuses him of spying for the English, and he thinks she’s a reckless troublemaker.

All Jimmy wants is to earn enough coin to buy passage to America. But when the English turn his trading patch into a gallows, Jimmy finds himself drawn into the very conflict he’s spent his whole life avoiding.

When researching Liberty Boy, one resource I kept returning to was an excellent blog on Dublin’s social history called Come Here To Me – which I strongly recommend if you have any interest in Dublin or its history). The post I stumbled across featured one of Malton’s well-known illustrations of late 18th century Dublin, and it triggered a flood of memories.

Growing up in Dublin the 1980s, the prints of James Malton were everywhere. Most Irish people will probably recognize them (and experience similar pangs of nostalgia). They were hanging on living room walls, or above the fireplace in pubs, or were printed on dinner mats and coasters used in homes all over the country.

maltonsprintofthomasstreetThe end of the 18th century/start of the 19th century is sometimes referred to as Dublin’s golden age, and I think the ubiquity of Malton’s prints probably plays a part in that perception. We see wide, open streets. We see grand buildings and fine carriages and gentlemen wearing buckskin breeches. And we don’t see very many poor people. In fact, we don’t see many people at all – the streets are curiously empty.

Now, Malton wasn’t some kind of ideologue, airbrushing the poor from history. He simply knew who his customers were and what they wanted to hang in their homes (and there are some amusing acts of defiance hidden away – prostitutes leaning out of windows, beggars in the shadows, and so on). But these streets weren’t empty, and the poor were everywhere in Dublin. And while the city hadn’t reached the desperate levels of inequality of London at the time, it wasn’t too far off.

Even before the Famine, the ordinary people of Ireland had to endure much misery and suffering. The 1798 Rebellion triggered a vicious crackdown by the authorities, and some of the worst atrocities in all of Irish history were committed during this period when martial law was introduced and roving gangs of troops were permitted to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

hepenstall

Quite literally.

Figures like Lieutenant Hepenstall of the Wicklow Militia – better known as The Walking Gallows – seem cartoonish now in the levels of sadism they displayed. You have to remind yourself that you are reading history, rather than the flights of fancy of an excitable novelist.

My previous two historical novels have focused on real people, figures that are (or were) famous to varying extents. I decided on a different approach this time.

We often get the story of the victorious general whose cunning plan wins the day, or the plucky sergeant who shows courage in the face of adversity, or the charming rebel who lives off the land and by his wits. But in any rebellion, such people – those doing the shooting, that is – are very much in the minority. Most are just trying to get through the day. They might have strong sympathies with the rebels (or dearly want to preserve the status quo), they may even be involved in the struggle to a certain extent, or they may be more ambivalent about the whole thing.

I wanted to focus on one of the latter: an ordinary person trying to live through extraordinary times. A market trader from Thomas Street. Someone who just wants to work, until the English build a gallows on his patch.

Because, while people often choose their path – and we certainly like heroes who take a hold of their fate and charge headlong into events – that’s certainly not everyone, and that’s not the only kind of heroism. Sometimes the path chooses you. Sometimes events have their own kind of gravitational field and pull people in – no matter how hard they fight against it.

And that’s the story I wanted to tell.

LIBERTY BOY is available now for $3.99 from Amazon US | UK | CA (and all the rest too).

To help celebrate the launch, I’m also offering my previous two historical novels – Mercenary A Storm Hits Valparaiso – as a twinpack.

UNCOMMON SOLDIERS is available for just 99c from Amazon US | UK | CA – as well as all the other Kindle Stores. Oh, and if you have reviewed Mercenary or A Storm Hits Valparaiso already, it would be a great help if you could copy that review across to the twinpack.

That’s it! Back to work on the sequel…

About David Gaughran

David Gaughran is Irish, living in Prague, and the author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible, and this here blog.
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13 Responses to Book Launch: LIBERTY BOY

  1. Arial Burnz says:

    Great post – as always! I’ve got your books and I’m looking forward to getting into them. I LOVE this comment…

    “He simply knew who his customers were and what they wanted to hang in their homes (and there are some amusing acts of defiance hidden away – prostitutes leaning out of windows, beggars in the shadows, and so on).”

    Having just finished my 5th novel, which took place in the slums of Whitechapel during the Autumn of Terror (Jack the Ripper’s reign), I know exactly who his customers were and how they purposefully turned a blind eye to the plight of the poor. Comical and tragic at the same time!

    Wishing you great success, David!!!

    Like

    • It seems that extreme views about the poor were very common among the chattering classes in Georgian/Victorian London. You see references to things like “the criminal class” all the time, and many thought that immorality was the exclusive domain of the poor, who were genetically deficient, and that they could just be excised – much like a boil – and London would then magically become free of its demons. Such thinking is what, in part, led to the founding of prison colonies in Australia and the forced transportation of a staggering number of people (many of whom were guilty of little more than petty theft… or in some cases nothing at all). You can look at whole systems of philosophy and ethics that were fashionable at the time as being elaborate justifications for treating other human beings in unthinkable and abominable ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arial Burnz says:

        I know, right??? It’s appalling the way they thought they were defective OR being punished by God because they were poor. That’s the main attitude of the rich regarding the poor women who were killed by the Ripper. I’m looking forward to reading your book and seeing that real side of society!

        Like

  2. sandra214 says:

    Congratulations David! I’m wishing you much success with this story. It’s sure to interest adults as well as kids.

    Sandra

    On Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 10:39 AM, David Gaughran wrote:

    > David Gaughran posted: “New release time! LIBERTY BOY is available now for > $3.99 from Amazon US | UK | CA (and all the rest too). It’s the first book > in a new series, and the first I’ve set in my home country of Ireland – > specifically, in the aftermath of Robert Emmet’s fa” >

    Like

  3. Sara says:

    Do you ever get stuck? That’s what I’d like to know, David. I enjoy your posts a lot.

    Like

  4. Got it. Best wishes with the launch.

    Like

  5. Congrats on your new release!

    Like

  6. I’m really looking forward to reading this! I’m a history buff of course, but one with precious little understanding of Ireland at the tun of the century. I love historical fiction because it educates and entertains at the same time, and I have no doubt whatsoever that Liberty Boy will do just that! It’s on my Kindle, and I have a 12 hour car journey tomorrow, so…😉
    (I’m not driving, either! I thought I should mention that😉 )

    Like

  7. Sarah Dahl says:

    Won’t it be on Kobo? I searched, and failed..?

    Like

  8. Congratulations, David, on the release of Liberty Boy. I am glad you have chosen this era of revolution against classism and dominion to write about, even more your focus on Robert Emmet. Turbulent times worthy of your talents.
    Tony (Tony James Slater), as a history buff you might also be interested in the ‘legacy of history’ in my novel On the Edge of the Loch (just published). If you ‘listen’ well to one or two of the Irish rural characters you’ll gain insights into the centuries-long effects of the excesses David Gaughran is writing about in Liberty Boy. Not to mislead you, this is a modern psychological novel, not a historical one.

    Like

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