SOS Lusitania

SOS Lusitania

In May 1915 the ocean liner Lusitania sails from New York. It is rumoured to have spies on board. Thirteen-year-old stowaway Finbar Kennedy finds works as a deck-hand. He begins to understand what’s happening, but there’s nothing he or the crew can do. Then a torpedo from a german submarine hits ...

Paperback: €8.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781847172303

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781847175694

One of the most dramatic seafaring tragedies ever …

Thirteen-year-old Finbar Kennedy runs away from home in Queenstown (Cobh) to follow his sea-captain father onto the Lusitania. On the return journey from New York, Finbar works as a deck-hand, and running messages gives him a lot of information. He begins to understand that something strange is happening. But what can he do? And whom can he trust?

Fact is stranger than fiction: In May 1915 the huge liner, the Lusitania, sank off the Cork coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. This happened during the First World War. But, unlike the Titanic tragedy, this was no accident. The ship was torpedoed by a German submarine. Rumour had it that there were spies, arms and gold on board the Lusitania. These rumours were true.

Kevin Kiely
Kevin Kiely has had several collections of poetry published, had plays broadcast on RTE and is engaged in literary journalism and editing. He has received Literature Bursary Awards from the Irish Arts Council, and is Honorary Fellow in Writing with the University of Iowa. This is his first book for young readers.

atmosphere of wartime threat keeps the story bowling along … tense and action-packed

SLA Magazine

powerfully descriptive … an excellent read … stranger than fiction


an ingenuous mix of fact and fiction ... a compelling read

Children’s Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013

a moving story that pays great attention to detail in bringing history to life

Children’s Books Ireland Recommended Reads Guide 2013

a lovely children’s novel written in the overall brand of The Da Vinci Code


a good account of life in Queenstown in 1915


well suited to novel reading in senior classes of both boys and girls, with possibly the boys enjoying the talk of spies and war a little more


a novel that runs smoothly from start to finish, where all that you see is not as it seems!


an exciting story based on a real event which is sure to appeal to boys of 10 plus

Historical Novel Society

a work of fiction to entertain the younger reader - something it will do in aces

Our Book Reviews

a great story … told extremely well

Our Book Reviews

will bring a lump to the reader's throat more than once

Our Book Reviews

an excellent read for girls and boys alike. And I'm sure there are bits of history adults will meet for the first time too

Our Book Reviews

an exciting seafaring adventure 

Books Ireland

this is Finbar’s story, and the narrative from his young viewpoint is both fascinating and immediate

Books Ireland

an uncomplicated easy read

Books Ireland

fans of Nicola Pierce’s Spirit of the Titanic will enjoy this action-packed book

a deftly plotted novel which skilfully captures the significance of the momentous tragedy, SOS Lusitania will appeal to history fans young and old

I thought the book SOS Lusitania was brilliant. I liked it so much that I am doing a project in school on it … I wish the book was longer and I have recommended it to all my friends

'a fantastic read … fascinating'

Marine Times

'well researched and contains many fascinating nuggets of historical fact'




'an intriguing read'

Evening Echo

'I just couldn’t put it down! Brilliant … I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends'

'Kevin Kiely manages to capture the essence of the early 1900s using subtle apt language, home life and innocence'

'Kiely uses genius foreshadowing in this plot to build suspense and hope'

'Kielys book would be perfect as a class novel'

'this fictional reworking is intriguing and fleshes out a past event'

'it would suit young and old in any setting, be it at home or school'

'a most enjoyable book'

'Kiely’s well-plotted story, told by Finbar himself, is deftly knitted into the true story of the [Lusitania]'

Books Ireland

'a tense and dramatic story'

Irish Examiner

'a compelling mix of fact and fiction … gripping'

The Author Speaks

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

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Rights Held: World, all languages

Also by Kevin Kiely:

A Horse Called El Dorado

Go to author page...

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