Ireland is oppressed by the forces of Elizabeth, the English queen. A few strongholds in the far northwest remain free of English domination, but Elizabeth has her eyes on these as well. In order to subdue Donegal, the English kidnap prince Hugh O'Donnell, heir to his ailing father's castle and lands, and lock him in prison in Dublin.
Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal tells the tale of Hugh's imprisonment, attempts to escape, and his heroic fight against the English. It is engagingly written and is a quick and satisfying read. The characters are very well drawn--from the brave and long-suffering Hugh, to the indomitable Queen Ineen Duive, Hugh's mother; from the brawny and charming MacSweeney to the cruel English captain Leeds.
Originally published in 1957, this new edition of Red Hugh is produced with modern audience in mind. It includes a useful map of northern Ireland which allows the reader to follow the action with ease. The book is well suited for kids aged 10 and up, though I admit to enjoying it myself at over thrice that age. The primary lessons taught are bravery, loyalty to family and country, and perseverance even in seemingly hopeless situations.