It is 1921. In Ireland a war of bloody reprisals wages between Republican volunteers and Royal Irish Constabulary. The RIC, their ranks augmented by Great War veterans - dubbed the Black & Tans - faces daily ambushes and sieges. Outrages are perpetrated by both sides in this struggle for and independent Ireland. Meanwhile, in Dublin's Mountjoy Gaol, Constable William Mitchell awaits execution for the murder, in a sleepy Wicklow town, of respected magistrate Robert Dixon. Who was Mitchell and did he kill the magistrate? What political machinations make Mitchell's execution a foregone conclusion? Who is the sinister character whose life runs in parallel to Mitchell's and whose path briefly crosses his - with fatal consequences? DJ Kelly's research-based novel reflects the true and hitherto undold story of the only member of the British Crown Forces to be executed for murder during the Irish War of Independence.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This an absolutely excellent read. Kelly's novel tells the true story of a real 'Black & Tan', the only one in fact to be hanged for murder during the Irish War of Independence. Well researched and movingly written, the book takes us from Irishman Mitchell's dismal childhood in Dublin's tenement district and his early love affair with a beautiful teenage streetwalker (Rose, the love of his life), through his troubled adolescence in London's equally deprived tannery district of Bermondsey. We then move to the 'bandit country' of Northern India where sharp-shooting Lancer Mitch enjoys some of his finest moments, until it all goes wrong and he finds himself, a petty criminal, back in Bermondsey again. Army life in the verdant foothills and scorching plains of India, with Afridi horsemen, rogues and soothsayers, is vividly painted. The depiction of his experiences in the trenches of World War One are sometimes humorous, mostly harrowing but entirely credible (they were, after all, based on his service record and the regimental diaries etc). As an unemployed ex-combatant, he fails to find legitimate work back in the 'Land fit for Heroes' but now has a young and pregnant wife to support. It is his lovely wife, Alice, who spots the recruitment poster which leads Mitch back to Ireland, to serve as a Temporary Constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and ultimately to his fate. Another thread runs through the story, that of a psycopathic figure who, like Mitch, is on trial for his life. Unknown to both of them however, there are political forces at work behind the scenes, and it is when the fate of both men hang together in the balance that Mitch is doomed. Although the outcome of this tale is never in any doubt, it is the twists and turns of the story and the way the fascinating characters are presented which makes it such a pleasing read. The fact that it is a true story, based upon what appears to have been a gross miscarriage of justice, makes it all the more interesting. I particularly loved the way the author has presented the story, with the most satisfying epiloge, telling us what happened next to all the real people in the tale and giving us perhaps a small clue as to who really did murder the magistrate.