Set in Ireland at the time of the Uprising, this novel by the author of "The Year of the French" interweaves the lives of its characters with the violent political events of early 20th-century Ireland.
Though admirably fast-paced throughout, the story quickens as Collins and crew reluctantly sign a treaty with Great Britain which runs counter to the oaths of their IRA brethren. Creating the Irish Free State, Collins finds himself and his fellow free staters caught between the unconditional IRA demands of full independence and the British who continue to hold Northern Ireland with iron fist and require the rest of the country to ultimately submit to their sovereignty. The balancing act is exciting to behold as Collins continues to abet IRA action whilst holding an ever-demanding Great Britain at bay.
Ireland's struggle to be free of Britain's imperial grasp is a story that, to this day, continues to make headlines. Thomas Flanagan has again provided a ground zero view fraught with peril, passion, and seemingly insurmountable odds. I recommend this book highly as I do his earlier effort, The Tenants of Time.