The Rebels of Ireland

The Dublin Saga
Narrated by: Richard Matthews
Series: The Dublin Saga, Book 2
Length: 29 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (559 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Princes of Ireland, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd’s magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. 

The Rebels of Ireland opens with an Ireland transformed; plantation, the final step in the centuries-long English conquest of Ireland, is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest.  

Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient faith or the security of their families; a wife whose passion for a charismatic Irish chieftain threatens her comfortable marriage to a prosperous merchant; a young scholar whose secret rebel sympathies are put to the test; men who risk their lives and their children’s fortunes in the tragic pursuit of freedom, and those determined to root them out forever. 

Rutherfurd spins the saga of Ireland’s 400-year path to independence in all its drama, tragedy, and glory through the stories of people from all strata of society - Protestant and Catholic, rich and poor, conniving and heroic.  

His richly detailed narrative brings to life watershed moments and events, from the time of plantation settlements to the “Flight of the Earls,” when the native aristocracy fled the island, to Cromwell’s suppression of the population and the imposition of the harsh anti-Catholic penal laws. He describes the hardships of ordinary people and the romantic, doomed attempt to overthrow the Protestant oppressors, which ended in defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the departure of the “Wild Geese.” 

In vivid tones Rutherfurd re-creates Grattan’s Parliament, Wolfe Tone's attempted French invasion of 1798, the tragic rising of Robert Emmet, the Catholic campaign of Daniel O’Connell, the catastrophic famine, the mass migration to America, and the glorious Irish Renaissance of Yeats and Joyce. And through the eyes of his characters, he captures the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the great Irish nationalists and the birth of an Ireland free of all ties to England.  

A tale of fierce battles, hot-blooded romances, and family and political intrigues, The Rebels of Ireland brings the story begun in The Princes of Ireland to a stunning conclusion. 

©2006 Edward Rutherfurd (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Ambitious in scope, teeming with a huge cast of finely drawn and realized characters, and dripping with authentic historical detail, this lengthy but eminently readable narrative will satisfy the appetites of discerning historical fiction aficionados." (Booklist)

“A giant, sprawling, easy-to-read story told in James Michener fashion.” (Maeve Binchy)

“A sweeping, carefully reconstructed portrait of a nation...Leaps through the centuries.” (New York Times)  

What listeners say about The Rebels of Ireland

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Wonderful Story

This is an excellent follow-up to the first book - The Princes of Ireland. The introduction is Very helpful as it gives a brief review of the first book and refreshes the memory as to family names. The narrator is again Excellent and the stories unfold at a good pace -- most moving to me was the horrible description of death and disease from the Famine - very moving. One also comes to better understand the age-old religous problems that continue today. Even the last story - which moves a bit too quickly over the last 40 years of the book - has a very moving ending. Highly recommend - But read this after the first one

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Irish Must Read

This book offers the historical insight into the deep long history of the religious conflicts in Ireland. The story is well written, characters believeable and the book moves along. Do not be scared away by the book's length, it does not drag. excellent work and terrific follow-up to the original Dublin saga.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not great

I really enjoyed Edward Rutherford's other books the Princes of Ireland and Sarum. This book was an informative history review. It wasn't nearly as engaging as the Princes book. Having said that, I am glad to have heard it. I don't feel like I wasted my time, but I do feel it wasn't worth two credits. In his other works, he developed the characters so well that you found yourself following them with a passion. Here he tells us who they are well enough to recognize them but not so we feel for them.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Missed the mark

My parents came from Ireland, their parents, and their parents. I have read or listened to some excellent Irish History ( most recently " The Graves are Walking" available on Audible). I did not care for this book. Rutherford is ok at...times, but with so RICH a history, so many tragedies to write about, he so often skirts around it, and instead of telling Ireland's history through the characters, has them off on a side stage which is often, well, boring. I persevered through to the end ( almost giving up when Parnell was mentioned in passing, but by that point I was too close to the end, too invested in a 30 hr book) but that is only because I am compulsive, not because I was engaged. Disappointed. I will return to straight factual history when I next revisit the topic(s). Richard Matthews, on the other hand, was very good - i will look for him again soon

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Educational, entertaining, engrossing

I learned a lot about the roots of Catholic/Protestant issues from this series - a FAR more complex confrontation than I'd imagined, with roots dating back to the 12th century. Carrying the family lines from "Princes of Ireland" helps tie it all together. The results of the inevitable intermarriages are at times heartbreaking. But there are incidents that made me chuckle as well. At times I found myself wishing that some chapters could have been longer; it wouldn't be hard to extend some of the periods into a book of their own.
Rutherford spins an excellent yarn.

The narrator deserves kudos as well - his wide range of intonations, inflections and accents bring the story to life. I want to listen to every book that he has read!

My husband was glad when I finished the books, as he had a hard time getting my attention while I had the headphones on...

DO read "The Princes of Ireland" before starting the Rebels - it will explain references in this book, and make the experience so much richer.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

EXCELLENT

As usual Rutherfurd does not fail to entertain, educate and bring Irish history alive. Can't wait for Rutherfurd's "Seran" "London" and "The Forest". It's time for Audible to bring England to life!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Would listen to it again

Author carries forward themes and family lines from the Princes of Ireland very effectively. Well read. Interesting plot woven through known historic events and times. Though fiction, it prompted me to think about -- and even go read some real history about -- how the cultures, histories of England, Scotland and the U.S. interconnect with that of Ireland. Made elements of my own family and the Scots-Irish story come alive for me.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Journey

Natator did a great job. Easy to follow. Now onto finding the next adventure. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful and heartbreaking.

Superior novel and history of Ireland. The history of Ireland heartbreaking, especially the rebellions and potato famine. Ecclesiastes 8:9 says - man has dominated man to his injury - and the history of Ireland exemplifies this. Both protestants and Catholics, and especially their religious leaders disobeyed the teachings of Christ; obeying those teachings would have prevented much needless bloodshed and wasted lives.
I learned A LOT about Irish history and culture. Edward Rutherfurd is a MASTER STORY TELLER.
Very much appreciate Mr. Rutherford does not use cursing and lurid description of sex as so many authors do who make up for lack of talent.
Narrator excellent.
I recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly Addictive

I'd not expected to find myself as drawn into this story as I was. My knowledge of this history is not very thorough and I was hesitant, thinking I wouldn't grasp the story line. But the author is so detailed without it reading like a history book. It is narrated so well.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerard m.
  • 02-15-10

Historically interesting but verbally grating

I found the content interesting and well written. Even as an Irish man I found it difficult sometimes to separate the fiction from the fact, but that was not a problem. What was a very large problem was that the pronounciation of almost every person and place name was mispronounced. A small bit of research in this area would have made the book far easier to listen to. This is why I rated it 3 rather than 4.