Consumed in Freedom’s Flame


A Novel of Ireland’s Struggle for Freedom 1916-1921

Winner of the 2001 Historical Fiction Bronze Metal Award.

Nominated for the 2001 Book-of-the-Year award by ForeWord Magazine

Cathal Liam stated his delight with the book’s award replying, “History is meant to inspire the living and honour the dead. As for Ireland, she needs more of the former while having too many of the later.” St. Padraic Press

CONSUMED IN FREEDOM’S FLAME is the exciting story of a fictional hero, Aran Roe O’Neill, and his resolute commitment to Ireland and its quest for independence. Together with a small group of other republicans, Aran fights for his nation’s freedom during the early part of the twentieth century. The story weaves fact and fiction around the exploits of this youthful Irishman and his adventurous friends from Dublin’s 1916 Easter Rising to the ensuing Irish War for Independence. Their is the troubled and tormented account of Ireland’s attempt to control its own destiny in the face of resolute British opposition and the intervention of Fate’s cruel hand. The book provides both historical background and imaginative detail seen through the eyes of this romantically brave young man as he seeks to free his homeland from the bonds of British entanglement. Patrick Pearse, Michael Collins and other historical figures of the period are described in vivid detail as Aran joins them in the common pursuit of emancipation from the Strangers’ colonial grasp.



“Historical fiction is a slippery slope, too often fraught with disconnects between the fictional characters and those real figures of history, too often missing the naturalness of behavior and language; too often erring on either the side of pure history or of fictional device. But, Cincinnati author Cathal Liam has trod deftly in his Consumed in Freedom’s Flame. This is a book full of romance and adventure woven against the heartrending struggle of the Irish people for independence. In every case, the scenarios created by Liam ring as true as if a cache of long-hidden partisan letters has been unearthed.” —Carole L. Philipps, The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH), December 16, 2000

“The Irish have always had more history than they knew what to do with. Essayist and poet Cathal Liam has joined such fiction writers as Morgan Llewelyn and Liam O’Flaherty by assembling a comprehensive and intelligent piece of historical fiction for the general reader as well as those who can recite ‘The Bold Fenian Men’ at a moment’s notice. One does not have to read too far into the narrative to know what Liam understands how to capture an era filled with colorful and tragic men and women. As a result, ‘Freedom’s Flame’ is as compelling as the events it recounts.” —Rob Stout, The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA), June 16-17, 2001

“Unabashed support for the men and women who fought for Irish freedom in the early years of the 20th century is a rarity in these politically correct and revisionists times. Cathal Liam…sets himself against the tide in a story that follows the life of Aran Roe O’Neill, a fictitious rebel who finds himself in the thick of the 1916 Rising and subsequent events.” —The Irish Echo (New York, NY), October 11-17, 2000

“This meticulously researched and well-written novel, Consumed in Freedom’s Flame, not only evokes the authenticity of a fascinating period of Irish history, 1916-1921, but sustains constant interest and more than a little suspense. It is a lively and evocative read!” —T. Ryle Dwyer, historian & author of Big Fellow, Long Fellow:A Joint Biography of Collins and deValera, among others (Tralee, Ireland)

“Ireland was never in the mainstream of European history but the story of its fight for freedom can take its place with the legends of all great Rebellions. Consumed in Freedom’s Flame captures the passion and drama necessary for the breaking of chains.” —Ronnie O’Gorman, Managing Editor, Galway Advertiser (Galway, Ireland)

“As a rule I mistrust historical novels set in the Irish ‘Troubles’, as they tend to confuse issues of the recent past and the palpitating present, but I do like enormously this new book, Consumed in Freedom’s Flame, due to its style, attitude and ultimate purpose…” —Rev. Patrick J. Twohig, P.P., historian & author of Green Tears for Hecuba: Ireland’s Fight For Freedom, among others (Churchtown, Ireland)

“This engrossing novel, full of vivid scenes, pulls the reader into the mind-set and heart-set of the wholly committed radical. Writer Cathal Liam’s years of scholarly rambles in Dublin have produced his hero who is at one with the cause of Pearse, Connolly and Collins.” —Kevin Donleavy, historian & author of The Ballycarry Exile & Past Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (Charlottesville, VA)

“The hero of Consumed In Freedom’s Flame, Aran Roe O’Neill, embodies all the energies and enthusiasm of Ireland’s heroes and strives in the pages of this story to fulfill their cherished dreams.” —Turlough Breathnach, supervisor & guide, St.Enda’s-Pearse Museum (Dublin, Ireland)

“Cathal Liam has captured the patriotic idealism that inspired a generation of brave young Irishmen to sacrifice their lives for freedom.” —Jim Cooney, teacher & book dealer (Macroom, Ireland)

“Guided by massive research here is a huge effort to flesh out all of the major historical characters of the period as glimpsed through the enthusiastic eyes of the fictional hero Aran Roe O’Neill.” —Books Ireland (Dublin, Ireland), September, 2001

“NOVEL MIXES IRISH HISTORY, ROMANCE…[Cathal] Liam, using the endless dramatis personae on both sides of the Atlantic, molds the young [Aran Roe] O’Neill into a mature and resolute figure by novel’s end, dedicated to the cause of independence and primed for an obvious sequel to this first installment.” —The Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), 1 July 2001

“POET’S READABLE NOVEL EXAMINES IRISH HISTORY…The reader views five tumultuous years through the eyes of the fictional Aran Roe O’Neill, an associate of the [1916] rebellion’s very nonfictional leader, Patrick Henry Pearse.” —Chattanooga Times Free Press (Chattanooga, TN), 8 July 2001

“NOVEL SHOWCASES IRELAND’S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM… Poet Cathal Liam has entered the ranks of historical fictioneers who seek both the truth, and to tell an interesting tale, by weaving imagination with carefully researched fact in this, his debut novel.” —Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, WI), 1 July 2001

“NOVEL BLENDS IRISH HISTORY WITH FICTION…While [Cathal] Liam reveals his Irish allegiance, he avoids partisanship through a stronger desire to explain the origins of the [1916] uprising through [fictional character Aran] O’Neill. In that spirit, he provides a readable novel that is an impressive attempt to hold essential truths in living memory.” —The Sunday Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), 16 September 2001

“…a solid book to read if it’s your first fact/fiction novel on the events of 1916-1921.” —Irish America (New York, NY), Feb/Mar, 2001

“The conflicts of Ireland are sometimes dubbed simply ‘the troubles.’ Liam wanted to fill in [their] how’s and why’s… In Consumed In Freedom’s Flame [Cathal Liam] follows Aran Roe O’Neill, an Irish rebel, through turbulent times. Only seventeen, [Aran] lies about his age to join the Irish Volunteers. A naive country boy in the beginning, he is passionate and optimistic about freeing Ireland from British control. [As] Aran’s path crosses with many noted rebels, from the idealistic Patrick Henry Pearse to the more pragmatic Michael Collins…Aran’s own ideas mature. [The book] …brings history to life…” —Rebecca Lomax, Cincinnati CityBeat (Cincinnati, OH), 30 November 2000

“Consumed In Freedom’s Flame: A Novel Of Ireland’s Struggle For Freedom 1916-1921 by Cathal Liam is a powerful and provocative work of historical fiction. Written from an Irish point of view, it encompasses rebellion against injustice and the inward-turning flames of slow destruction. Consumed In Freedom’s Flame is profound and irresistible reading.” Reviewer’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI), February, 2001

“In his novel, Liam explores the saga of Ireland’s quest for independence through the story of seventeen-year-old Aran Roe O’Neill. Inspired by the teaching of Patrick Pearse, Aran decides to participate in the struggle to break free from England. He and his friends are swept up in the 1916 Easter Uprising and the ensuing “war for independence” that rages from 1919 to 1921. Fact and fiction are adroitly interwoven in this fast-pased, entertaining novel.” The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (Cincinnati, OH)

“Mingling real and fictitious characters within a documented historical period, particularly one as contentious and relatively recent as the Irish War of Independence, is never an easy undertaking but Liam handles the task with aplomb. His considerable skills as a writer keep the novel moving at a griping pace and his descriptions of the era and actual events are inspired enough to bring them back to life in the reader’s mind.” Joe Kavanagh, Irish Connections (New York, NY), Summer (Vol. 3/No.2), 2002

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