The Wild Colonial Boy

Overview

After years of violence, a tense calm pervades Northern Ireland, soon to be broken by Jimmy Coogan, an IRA veteran gone renegade. Jimmy has stolen ten pounds of plastic explosive, intending to destroy the parliamentary ambitions of the IRA leadership.

Into Jimmy's turbulent world come two young Americans: Brian, vain, ironic, but well-meaning; and Clare, a beautiful, earnest college student. In Ireland on an errand for his Irish Republican family in Detroit, Brian is recruited ...

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The Wild Colonial Boy: A Novel

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Overview

After years of violence, a tense calm pervades Northern Ireland, soon to be broken by Jimmy Coogan, an IRA veteran gone renegade. Jimmy has stolen ten pounds of plastic explosive, intending to destroy the parliamentary ambitions of the IRA leadership.

Into Jimmy's turbulent world come two young Americans: Brian, vain, ironic, but well-meaning; and Clare, a beautiful, earnest college student. In Ireland on an errand for his Irish Republican family in Detroit, Brian is recruited to Jimmy's bloody mission by his cousin Maire, Coogan's sharp-tongued wife. Soon they are all drawn into the unforgiving labyrinth of modern terrorism, borne toward a horrific and fatal climax.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real stuff . . . Go out today and get this book, and plan on doing nothing else but reading it tonight."—The Washington Post

"More than just a page-turning thriller (though it's very much that as well, The Wild Colonial Boy is an intelligent and eminently accessible study of the mad intricacies of contemporary Irish politics. Behind the powerful drive of the meticulously crafted plot, James Hynes's understanding and affection for the land and its people makes itself very strongly felt."—Madison Smartt Bell

"A striking first novel . . . the language is charged, urgent. It is the eeriest and one of the most brilliant descriptions of anonymous violence in modern fiction."—Irish-America Magazine

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Northern Ireland, a place almost synonymous with the brand of terrorism practiced by the Provos, the outlaw branch of the Irish Republican Army, is the setting for this accomplished first novel. Paced like a thriller and conveyed through grittily realistic dialogue and detail, the narrative juxtaposes youth and innocence against an escalating tide of violence. A connection between Detroit-based sympathizers and a violent faction with the IRA is made when Brian Donovan, a feckless young American, becomes a courier, delivering funds to Ireland for the ``cause.'' Once there, he is led to the leader of the faction, Jimmy Coogan, married to his cousin Maire. Without realizing the gravity of his mission, Brian agrees to transfer an immensely more dangerous cargo, plastique explosives, to London, where they will be used with terrible effect. In the course of one shattering week, events lead to the death of Coogan, and to Brian's involvement with Claire Delaney, another fresh-faced American whose Irish heritage has imbued her with values opposite to his. Many threads of the Irish-American linkage are woven into this intelligent, compelling, often eloquent depiction of an enduring conflict. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Factional strife within the Irish Republican Army is the subject of this chilling thriller. Brian Donovan, a young American from an IRA-sympathizing family in Detroit, gets caught up in the ruthless internal struggle when he agrees to transport money across the Atlantic to the IRA. Once in Ireland, his terrorist cousins, who are plotting to overthrow the IRA leadership, prevail upon him to undertake a dangerous mission across the Irish border. Brian gets romantically involved with Clare, an American student, but the affair turns tragic when the full horror of what he has been drawn into becomes known. Hynes brings the brutal world of modern terrorism, with its contempt of life and its strange code of honor, vividly to life. The hard realism is frequently terrifying, the plot is believable, and the narrative drive never slackens.--Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield, Ia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312204426
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

James Hynes is the author of Publish and Perish and The Lecturer's Tale, both a New York Times Notable Book. His television criticism has appeared in Mother Jones and the Utne Reader. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2001

    Chilling tale of IRA activity

    A chilling tale of IRA activity, presenting the dilemma of the IRA: Cooperation and negotiation versus warfare (terrorist attacks), which will bring about the eventual independence wanted by the Irish in Northern Ireland? Many well-defined characters make this story of the IRA inner-conflict, especially interesting. Young American of Irish decent, Brian, becomes impetuously involved with the IRA meets Clare, Irish-American, who falls in love with Brian who seemed to need a leader and caretaker.Brian¿s thoughtless decisions leads him and the reader into thrilling action. Moral dilemmas abound. A real page turner.

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