Sean McNally has sworn his oath to the IRA. But then he'd turned his back on the violence and the hatred, and gone south to the Republic. Life was good, until they came for him to do one last job. But in its aftermath, McNally is captured and is facing a lifetime's imprisonment. Unless he dares think the unthinkable...and becomes a tout.
Lieutenant David Ferris hadn't wanted to join the army, but found himself in it anyway. In a cruel twist of fate, his path crosses that of Sean McNally's and he quickly becomes a pawn on the frontline of a brutally tense war of nerves. As McNally prepares to gives evidence, Ferris must confront his own destiny. Not only is his life at stake, but also that of the future of the entire command structure of the IRA....
©1985 Gerald Seymour (P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton
"Genuinely exciting" (The Times)
"Brilliant... moments that explode with heart-stopping suspense" (New Yorker)
A man with a child in his ears
This is one of very few books that I have read by Gerald Seymour but I can't imagine he has written many better. Field of Blood brings together the unlikely combination of a British Army Lieutenant and a low level IRA member facing prison for acts of terrorism. The two men are as diametrically opposite to each other as you can imagine in terms of background and resulting character but develop a tortured personal relationship once they are forced together.
The book is brutal and it is hard-faced but when dealing with this subject there is no other way. There is no great nobility in the IRA man. no great dignity in the family that he seeks to protect and his situation is understated as being between a rock and a hard place.
The tragic human suffering of a troubled Northern Ireland and the impacts they have on both the main characters and the long-suffering divided communities that make their homes there are described vividly. The de-humanisation of whole sections of society are reflected well in the narrative which is delivered superbly by John O'Mahoney.
This isn't an easy or comforting book to read given how well it reflects the awfulness of real-life for those who live through the problems in Ireland but it is a thoroughly rewarding read with moments of great tension and humanity and occasionally honour from unexpected sources.
One of Gerald Seymour's best
An excellent performance he voiced the different characters well. I will look out for other books narrated by him.
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