Eilís Dillon
The Fort of Gold

Political Reviews

Equally vivid is "The Fort of Gold". Of course the author has an unfair advantage: the background and idiom of Ireland have a persuasive glamour that shrivels up her English, French and American rivals.

It is scarcely fair to start with an island called Inishdara off Galway, with a place called the Fort of Gold or the Fort of Sorrow, where the Spaniards had been killed to a man, "buried there among the old stones, and their gold with them, so the saying went..." Disbelief is too willingly suspended as the boys find and hide the treasure before ever the yellow-faced Mr. Kelly or the yellow-livered Mr. Crann can lay their thieving hands on it. Eilís Dillon is an enchanter. Tension mounts as the boys find themselves forced to work for Kelly and Crann and at the same time spy on them for their fellow islanders' sake. Both adults and adolescents are entirely credible, events grow more and more thrilling yet never seem improbable or melodramatic, and such incidents as the removal of the gold to another island in bad weather are of an excitement rare in children's books today. Ireland wins on (all) points.

Times Literary Supplement

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