"Part war story, part murder mystery, this subtle but savage thriller evokes a time, a place and a breed of men which have all been airbrushed out of Ireland's history." --Ed O'Loughlin, author of the Booker longlisted Not Untrue, Not Unkind
West Cork. November 1920. The Irish War of Independence rages. The body of a young woman is found brutally murdered on a windswept hillside, a scrapboard sign covering her mutilated body reads "TRATOR". Traitor.
Acting Sergeant Séan O’Keefe of the Royal Irish Constabulary, a wounded veteran of the Great War, is assigned to investigate the crime, aided by sinister detectives sent from Dublin Castle to ensure he finds the killer, just so long as the killer he finds best serves the purposes of the crown in Ireland... The IRA has instigated its own investigation into the young woman’s death, assigning young Volunteer Liam Farrell - failed gunman and former law student - to the task of finding a killer it cannot allow to be one of its own.
Unknown to each other, the RIC Constable and the IRA Volunteer relentlessly pursue the truth behind the savage killing, their investigations taking them from the bullet-pocked lanes and thriving brothels of a war-torn Cork city to the rugged, deadly hills of West Cork, both seeking a killer, both seeking to stay alive in a time where "murder’s as common as rain and no one knows a thing about it, even when they do."
"A vivid, sometimes stunning evocation of a historical period through one police officer's life." --Detectives Beyond Borders
"...a page-turning thriller." --Irish Examiner
- kevin mccarthy
Powerful book, perfectly narrated telling the story of the Irish war of independence in all its moral complexity. I felt I was experiencing exactly how it felt to be alive at the time. Great thriller as a device to explore the terrible history of this period.