This book, which was short listed for the Booker Literary Prize, is very typical of some of Moore's best works. The characterization of the three main characters, Michael Dillon, Moira and Andrea is brilliant. Each in a way a complex stereotypical actor caught in the lime light of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. Michael, born and raised in Belfast is sensitive and bright and wants to fulfil his potential as a poet but is caught in the humdrum need to make a living because he married a woman, Moira, who's beauty he admired and longed for but who's mind he had never examined. Moira, was also raised in Belfast, and unlike Michael, longs to return to her birthplace. Bright, but vain and bulimic She is terrified of ageing but finds new strength and purpose when she decides to oppose the IRA. Andrea, a Canadian in England to study, cannot fathom the problems of Northern Ireland and only longs for peace and security with Michael Dillon.
The plot involves the attempted assassination of Northern Ireland's Protestant leader, Pottinger, by having Michael, the manager of a Hotel where Pottinger is giving a speech, drive a car bomb to just outside the hotel room where Pottinger is speaking. Meanwhile the IRA thugs hold Michael's wife hostage with the threat of killing her if he does not follow through. Michael at the last possible minute decides to alert the authorities because 100's might die if the bomb goes off. The fall out for everyone, Michael's wife Moira and his girl friend Andrea and the IRA are taut and filled with suspense.
Very good, well written thriller.