Free 'At War with the Empire' graphic book in this week's Sunday World

BooksBy Sunday World
Free 'At War with the Empire' graphic book in this week's Sunday World

The author of the smash-hit graphic novel, At War with the Empire, has said he was inspired to write the book by his own father’s role in the War of Independence. Gerry Hunt’s book starts in 1919 and shows how the British treatment of Easter Rising leaders sparked a guerrilla war in Ireland.

The stunning 68-page book opens with Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith in a prison camp in Wales where they hatch a plot to break Eamon DeValera out of jail.

‘At War with the Empire’ is the only ever graphic novel to be nominated for the prestigious Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. 

Speaking to the Sunday World, retired architect Gerry said he was partly inspired by his own father’s role in both the Easter Rising and the War of Independence. Despite being involved in the two defining conflicts in Irish history, Gerry said his father did not like to speak about his past.

“My father fought in 1916 – he didn’t see much action, he was in Boland’s Mills with DeValera. 
“He was also in the War of Independence and he saw plenty of action there, even though he was only a young man,” explained Gerry.
“That gave me a special interest in it.
“Unfortunately, my father died when I was 10 years old and he never spoke much about it.
“My mother said that they [the veterans] seemed to have a pact or something – that they decided they wouldn’t talk much about it.
“All my father would say was, ‘It was something that had to be done and someone had to do it’.”
‘At War with the Empire’ follows on from Gerry’s other smash-hit graphic novel, ‘ Blood Upon the Rose’ which focussed on the 1916 Rising.
That 48-page book was based on a poem by one of the 1916 leaders, Joseph Plunkett, and his doomed romance with his fiancée, Grace Gifford.
‘At War with the Empire’ follows the stories of the real-life historical figures who fought for Irish freedom before becoming bitter enemies after the Treaty was signed.
It details how the Declaration of Independence in 1919 was followed by a bitter guerrilla war across the country and how the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 lead to a split which still impacts today.
Gerry describes Michael Collins as a “genius” when it came to fighting an insurgency campaign.
“I haven’t looked for inspiration from any other country, but when you think about the War of Independence it’s almost the other way around – people from other countries have been inspired by Michael Collins.
“He was a genius when it came to guerrilla warfare. He organised things to such an extent that the British realised that they could never win that war.”