Skip to main content
James Rae O'Hagan


A Desolate Peace Series – twenty years in the making. Researched and written by James R. O’Hagan.

What was the motivation for writing it?

While nosing around in earlier works of Irish and Elizabethan history written by those who both made and witnessed it, and then referring to later accounts by those who had wide access to the original sources and the subsequent secondary works, the author was struck by the breadth of divergence.

The disparity not only held true in the so-called factual accounts, but also for the ascribed motives and justification for much of what transpired. The irreconcilabilities fed an endless loop regurgitating down to the present day, and polarizing all who are caught-up in differences over independence, religion, politics and trade.

In seeking to find the truth, one thing led to another, and the author delved more deeply into the commonly accepted truism that much of history can be taken with a grain of salt as it is frequently written by the conqueror in the blood of the vanquished. And so, one would expect that the counter narrative, written by the vanquished in their own and the conqueror’s blood, is no less suspect.

This caused the author to look for another way to try to make sense of what happened. The first step was to strip away the national stereotypes and myths and get to the basic historical facts upon which there is general agreement. The second step, using what we know of the characters themselves, was to get inside their heads, their virtues and vices and then ‘wind them up’ within the agreed historical record and see where they might lead us.

A Desolate Peace is historical fiction and it marshals a plausible story of what happened in history and why. It attempts to sidestep the righteous religious and nationalistic stereotypes of the centuries to see people and events objectively as they might arguably have been.

The upshot of all this leads to the possibility that a greater truth exists. Did the fall of the independent Gaelic people become necessary before the nations of Europe grudgingly embraced a degree of ‘religious and cultural tolerance’ in order to achieve a fragile polity to hold them together?

Born in Surrey, England and a Canadian citizen resident in Halifax, Nova Scotia, James holds a Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa; a Degree in Political Science with a minor in History from Saint Mary’s University, Halifax; and a Diploma in Communications from the University of King’s College, Halifax. He is a member of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society and the Military History Society of Ireland.

Besides history his interests include yacht racing and politics. His professional career was spent in project development and regulatory communications for governments and international companies in France, UK, Canada and the United States.

About James Rae O'Hagan