December 24th 1914 and all along the western front soldiers are settling down for a night of disturbed sleep, foraging rats, and the evil attentions of enemy snipers. Suddenly from across No Mans Land comes the sound of singing.. not sure at first what is happening the troops look at each other in disbelief and then slowly, slowly, they join in.
Jim O’Hallorans latest novel is set in the trenches of World War One and it tells the story of Irish soldiers in British uniforms, fighting Germans, to win Home Rule for Ireland.
Their various motivations and reasons for being at war are exposed as they meet for the first and only time with the enemy. Young men just like themselves with wives, sweethearts, dreams and secrets, the inhumanity of war is slowly exposed for what it is.
The complex issue of the Irish at the front is developed as some of the soldiers return to Ireland after the war, some injured physically, all impacted emotionally and psychologically.
Through some of this characters, Jim O’Halloran also looks at the plight of animals during the war including soldiers pets and the carrier pigeons used by all armies to carry messages on the battlefields.
James O’Halloran is a Salesian who has spent forty years working worldwide for justice and peace and in community building. He has had short stories published in a variety of magazines, notably the literary Four Quarters (LSU, Philadelphia). A story of his was also chosen as Story of the Month by the Irish Sunday Independent. He has published a collection of short stories entitled Pity Beyond All Telling and two other novels: When the Acacia Bird Sings (Columba Press) and Remember José Inga (Columba Press).