Leo’s War is based on the astonishing true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the Irish Oscar Schindler who saved over 6,500 lives during the German occupation in Rome during the Second World War.
Told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy it is a dramatic rollercoaster of extraordinary human courage against the darkest evil by the bestselling author of Molly’s Diary.
“Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty is one of Ireland’s greatest humanitarians, honoured by The United States, Britain, Israel and Italy after the war, yet he is hardly a household name,” said publisher Paula Campbell. “Poolbeg is thrilled to bring his story to a new generation of children. And it’s a nail- biting page turner full of dramatic events that will have readers enthralled.”
It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?
“The more I learned about Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the more I admired him,” said author Patricia Murphy. “He is a role model for our time – courageous, ingenious and ecumenical. Time after time he put his own life in the line for British, American and Russian prisoners of war, Italian partisans and persecuted Jews. His compassion reached across borders and divisions. I am not an expert in these matters but as he visits our shores, it would be great if the pope could pay tribute to this remarkable Irishman in some way.”