Thomas Flanagans' The End of the Hunt follows The Tenants of Time as an engrossing novel about Ireland's fight for independence. His most recent novel centers on Michael Collins, but, like previous Flanagan efforts, is told through the eyes of a collection of characters. These individual insights give the reader a well-rounded view of events as they occur and allow us to peer from different angles at the tactics, strategies, subterfuges, and idiosyncracies of the warring parties. From the Easter Rising of 1916 to the edge of Irish civil war, Flanagan weaves a taut web of intrigue, conflict, and tragedy with a "behind-the-scenes" access which affords the reader an extremely suspenseful experience.
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.