Bog Child


Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him – his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls. Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

SKU/IBAN 9781909531178 Categories: ,


Dowd’s posthumously published novel for young readers, Bog Child, is set in Northern Ireland in 1981.

Fergus is about to finish school, but his routine of studying for his A-levels is upset both by the political events around him that reach right into his family and by his discovery, south of the border, of a girl’s body buried in a bog.

Assuming at first that the child has been murdered by the IRA, Fergus returns to the scene to find the site being investigated not by the Gardaí but by an archaeologist and her teenage daughter, Cora. To his relief, radiocarbon dating establishes that Mel, as Fergus comes to call her, lived 2,000 years ago. In his dreams, she reveals something of her life and love to him, showing up the parallels between her iron age community and modern Ireland, each overshadowed by the pressures of tribal politics and family allegiances.

Yet just as Fergus and Cora experience the budding of love, a bomb explodes across the border and Fergus fears he may have smuggled the explosives for the IRA in his attempts to get his imprisoned brother off the list of hunger strikers and prevent his self-sacrifice. Despite the darkness that threatens to engulf Fergus and Mel in their respective worlds, Bog Child, as Meg Rosoff commented in The Guardian, “sparkles with optimism and a deep passion for living.”