In my first novel, "The Saints Lost Their Way", the protagonist left the turmoil in Ireland behind him when,. as a prisoner of war he was shipped as slave to Barbados. This left the family to face the spread of the Parliamentarian invasion.
Most history books record warfare by adding glory to massive armies facing each other on disputed lands. Rich leaders on fine horses commanding from the high ground, while the foot soldiers fight hand to hand to the death. These soldiers were rarely fighting for a cause they held in their hearts. But more likely because of their sworn fealty to a land owner that allows them to rent the land for their farm. And chances are that the land they are now renting and fighting for has been in their family for generations.
Missing from many history books is the identity of another group of characters involved in the fighting. Not against the feudal landlord’s enemies, but against the landlords themselves. Every historical era had some of these brave committed warriors pushing back against the despots. They had many labels: underground, partisans, resistance, freedom fighters, guerillas, and rapparees.
Mostly low-key civilians, acting meek and subservient in the presence of the invaders in the daylight. But after dark, they became saboteurs destroying enemy supply lines, or assassins ambushing enemy leaders. Following the ancient oriental knowledge of Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War”, they realized the value of accurate intelligence required to weaken a stronger enemy. Winning the trust and confidence of the enemy by assuaging their egos, these patriots were great spies.
Throughout history many who served as resistance supporters had creative covers. French chanteuse, Edith Piaf sang for Gestapo officers and carried important information back to the French underground. Some, like Piaf interacted with the enemy. Others just avoided contact to achieve their goals. Consider the Dutch family who hid Anne Frank and her family, or Harriet Tubman who led escaped slaves to go North.
When the English Civil War spilled over into Ireland, many Irish soldiers could not support either side. They opted to fight for Ireland against both King Charles and Oliver Cromwell. These, like Ronan O’Doole were Rapparees.