Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Ireland, 1981. The border between Northern Ireland and the south.

18-year-old Fergus has got a lot on his plate right now. His A-levels (the United Kingdom's equivalent of the ACTs) are coming up, and his older brother Joe, a member of the provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army) is on hunger strike in prison, a strike on which men have already starved to death. Michael, another member of the IRA, is blackmailing Fergus to carry secret packages (that Fergus is pretty sure contain explosives) over the border on his morning run. Fergus wants nothing to do with the organization whose ideals are leading his brother to death, but he doesn't know what else to do. And, to top it all off, Fergus is becoming friends with the border guard, Owain, who he is betraying each and every time he smuggles an IRA packet over the border.

So when Fergus and his uncle Tally are cutting peat in the bog over the border early one morning, the last thing expects to find is a body. Least of all the body of a child from the Iron Age. His dreams haunted by the bog child, Fergus names her Mel. When an archaeologist, Felicty, and her daughter Cora come to excavate Mel from the bog, Fergus is there as they begin to uncover clues as to how she came to be in the bog- a rope around her neck, a wound in her back, a lock of hair tied in a love knot clutched in her fist.

This incredible book is many things - a murder mystery, a love story, and a tale of the bonds of family, friendship, and patriotism. If you like a powerful story along with history's mysteries, check out Bog Child @ the library!

(now reading Hero Type by Barry Lyga, and eagerly anticipating Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater!)

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