Stormclouds coverBig changes are coming to late 1960s Belfast. At first life seems normal for Sammy and Maeve, two children from the opposing republican and loyalist communities. Sammy tries to avoid trouble with his unemployed father, while Maeve has lived with her aunt and uncle since her mother’s death.

When twins Dylan and Emma Goldman move from Washington to Belfast they strike up friendships with Maeve and Sammy. Gradually the nationalist girl and loyalist boy overcome their suspicions of each other, and all four children become friends. But even as they have fun at local sports clubs, attend the Goldman’s barbeques, and secretly make their own radio programmes, they can’t ignore the trouble that is slowing gripping the country. And when the simmering tensions in Northern Ireland erupt into violence it threatens not just their friendships – but their very lives.


Here’s a piece about Battle of the Books, a Fingal Libraries and Dublin Airport Authority initiative that Stormclouds was chosen for. The Battle of the Book is a reading programme designed for primary school children aimed at encouraging them to read more, by using a multi-disciplinary interactive approach that includes drama, art, creative writing and an active competition element between the different schools and their local library.

What the reviewers say:

poignant … absorbing

The Swallow’s Nest

the impressive achievement of this historical novel is to present complex events lucidly and to convey their intensity. Readers of eleven upwards will be absorbed by the dramatic events which impact upon the lives of the four main characters

School Librarian Magazine

the reality of violence and its aftermath is well done

Historical Novels Review

would make a very good introduction to the history of the Northern Ireland conflict for children in their early teens

Historical Novels Review

should be compulsory reading for every Irish young person

captures a volatile Belfast so well

couldn’t put the book down

brings the past to life in a very readable, engaging way

while readers are familiar with wars that wrack distant parts of the world, this accurate depiction of violence in a familiar and seemingly benign area will surprise and educate many—a worthy accomplishment

Kirkus Reviews

just beautiful writing

Sunday Independent

ideal for age ten and up

Sunday Independent

without glossing over violence or partisan attitudes, the book delineates the conflict in an age-appropriate manner

Children’s Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013

thoroughly-researched historical fiction

Gallagher constructs a good tale, and doesn’t shy away from tragedy

10 out of 10 … will never want to put it down … a real page-turner

Brian Gallagher makes you feel as if you are really there