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  • Published: 28 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529919646
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

My Father's House

A gripping thriller based on true story of an Irish priest in the Vatican who smuggled victims of the Nazis out of Italy under the nose of his SS officer nemesis. From the bestselling and prizewinning author of Shadowplay.

When the Nazis take Rome, thousands go into hiding. One priest will risk everything to save them.

September 1943: Nazi forces occupy Rome. SS officer Paul Hauptmann rules with terror. An Irish priest, Hugh O'Flaherty, dedicates himself to helping people escape. In his home in the Vatican - a neutral, independent country inside Rome - he gathers a team to set up an Escape Line.

But Hauptmann's net begins closing in and the need for a terrifyingly audacious mission grows critical. By Christmas, it's too late to turn back.

Based on a true story, My Father's House is a powerful thriller from a master of historical fiction.


'Breathtakingly good writing - O'Connor puts you right there, centre stage in the story and never lets you go' Peter James

'O'Connor is on stellar form with this ensemble thriller...an expert storyteller' Daily Mail

'A masterwork... so urgent, so incredibly alive... A searing and beautiful example of storytelling's infinite importance' Donal Ryan

'Impressive and pleasurable...evokes a city in peril with wonderful vitality' Financial Times
'A literary thriller of the highest order...his razor-sharp dialogue is to be savoured, and he employs dark humour to great effect. The plot twists keep on coming' Observer

*THE GHOSTS OF ROME, the next gripping book in Joseph O’Connor’s THE ESCAPE LINE TRILOGY, is available to pre-order now! Out January 2025.*



  • Published: 28 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529919646
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Joseph O'Connor

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. His books include eight previous novels: Cowboys and Indians (Whitbread Prize shortlist), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea (American Library Association Award, Irish Post Award for Fiction, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European novel of the year), Redemption Falls, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book Novel 2011) and The Thrill of it All. His fiction has been translated into forty languages. He received the 2012 Irish PEN Award for outstanding achievement in literature and in 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.


Also by Joseph O'Connor

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Praise for My Father's House

A masterwork... so urgent, so incredibly alive... A searing and beautiful example of storytelling's infinite importance

Donal Ryan

Gripping, compelling and utterly brilliant. O'Connor's gift for exquisite language shines through

Liz Nugent

Joseph O'Connor is a very great artist and storyteller

Sebastian Barry

There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O'Connor is a wonder

Peter Carey

O'Connor's writing is always intensely atmospheric...O'Connor succeeds in integrating into the suspenseful plot numerous narrative voices that intersect class, gender, nationality and religion

Literary Review

A hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly - at times, astonishingly - a story of transience, loss and true loyalty

Guardian, on Shadowplay

O'Connor's work is hugely impressive and utterly haunting

Sunday Mirror

Riveting, immersive, synesthetic, linguistically dazzling, funny and dark, this novel is blessed with a kind of magical grace. Sprezzatura springs from every page

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,, SMF Bookclub

I was utterly engrossed from start to finish. The writing hums with energy. Such a gloriously vivid depiction of a Rome that is both familiar and altogether strange. And a powerful story of ordinary humans showing extraordinary bravery and tenacity. Bravo!

Danielle McLaughlin

Riveting...a storytelling tour de force. This is top-drawer WWII fiction

Publishers Weekly

Impressive and pleasurable...the diverse ventriloquism of O'Connor's novel evokes a city in peril with wonderful vitality

Financial Times

My Father's House is a powerful literary thriller from a master of historical fiction. Joseph O'Connor has created an unforgettable novel of love, faith and sacrifice, and what it means to be human in the most extreme circumstances

Killarney Outlook

A tale worth re-telling, adorned as it is by the brilliants of O'Connor's impressionistic writing

Best New Thrillers, The Times

O'Connor is on stellar form with this ensemble thriller ...while the story's inbuilt tension urges you on, it's the sheer vigour of O'Connor's beautifully turned phrases that really makes the book sing...an expert storyteller

Daily Mail

Thrilling... Based on true events, this tense, gripping narrative is rendered in beautifully evocative prose

Mail on Sunday

[A] true story... O'Connor's imagining of the characters' thoughts helps to bring them to life... This remains a tale worth retelling

The Times

A thriller of engrossing urgency

Irish Independent

The novel's evocative scene-setting, its propulsive narration and its powerful depiction of bravery and unity in extremis, all make for an engrossing read.


A powerful portrait of extraordinary courage

Irish Independent

A spectacular, thrilling novel...suspense crackles...celebrates triumphant against-the-odds camaraderie.

Sunday Times

I cannot say enough good things about this World War II thriller... Told from different perspectives of people in the movement, as well as the Gestapo villain, readers will hold their breath if the Choir will fulfill their critical mission. It's the first of a trilogy and a must read


Gripping...a hugely satisfying book, from its explosive opening to its bittersweet end

Washington Post

For all its thrills...primarily-and triumphantly-an intimate drama that illuminates both the fragility and the wonder of unlikely human connections forged in adversity and, in some cases, enduring for a lifetime

Wall Street Journal


Radio Times

Precisely choreographed... We eagerly follow the characters through uncertainty and disappointment as well as high-stakes jeopardy. O'Connor is playing with the possibilities of multiple narrators, and thinking also about plurality, reliability and the historical record

Guardian, Book of the Day

A fine novelist, capable of remarkable feats of literary ventriloquism


So beautifully written, a masterclass in 'voices' and an extremely tense thriller. It's magnificent.

Marian Keyes

A literary thriller of the highest order. The incarnation of O'Flaherty, the Irish Oskar Schindler, is sublime. What often elevates a writer is compassion, and O'Connor has it in spades... Beautifully crafted, his razor-sharp dialogue is to be savoured, and he employs dark humour to great effect. The plot twists keep on coming


O'Connor brings an impressive range of thrillerish techniques to his storytelling... [My Father's House is] vivid and atmospheric


Joseph O'Connor's new novel, My Father's House, is two things: a twisty thriller whose outcome is hard to guess; and an exquisitely rendered piece of literature from a masterful writer... Bravo

Jewish Chronicle

Breathtakingly good writing - O'Connor puts you right there, centre stage in the story and never lets you go

Peter James

Powerful...one of Ireland's greatest living storytellers...gifting us a transportive quality that only the very best historical fiction can hope to achieve

Totally Dublin

A thrilling new novel

Daily Express

Stylish, gripping, and inspiring...O'Connor is one of the most talented and respected writers of his generation

Church Times

O'Connor combines suspenseful storytelling with an eye for quirky human details

Sunday Times, *Summer Reads of 2023*

[A] lavishly crafted thriller

Daily Mail, *Summer Reads of 2023*


Jewish Chronicle

Gorgeous and brilliant

Jewish Chronicle, *Books of the Year*