From Publishers Weekly
While the establishment of a home government in Northern Ireland may render his material a bit dated, Eickhoff's novel about modern-day intrigues linked to the "Troubles" is an authoritative run-through of Irish history. But a complex cryptogram of Celtic political factions, Irish landmarks, alphabet armaments and arcane covert organizations initially make it difficult to fathom who is out to kill whom in this thriller, and why. (The opening passages alone scroll through such groups as Sinn Fein, Provos, Prods, PIRA, RUC, INLA, GDC, SAS, etc.) After 42 months of idyllic seclusion, ex-IRA assassin Tomas Fallon is persuaded to come out of retirement to stop the GDC, an unsavory splinter group of revolutionaries, from bringing drugs into Ireland because--in a country that Eickhoff represents as fairly awash in whiskey and dead babies--narcotics are a bad influence on children. After refusing help from an old girlfriend, lone wolf Fallon borrows a papal passport from his twin brother, Brian, a priest, and totally unaware of involvement by the American CIA, follows a trail to New York and NORAID, an Irish-American bunch that contributes monies to the PIRA. Eventually, the trail leads to an Irish powerbroker in Boston and his ne'er-do-well son. Interspersed with this tale of international skullduggery are passages of Irish poetry and folksong, anecdotes of Irish myth and legend, and a wee touch of romance. The well-crafted denouement offers hope, but there is little redemption after so many killings. Though Eickhoff (the Ulster cycle) surely did not set out to create the impression that the Irish are a bloodthirsty bunch, some readers may gain that feeling. Yeats had it right: "Romantic Ireland's dead and gone." (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Three years ago IRA assassin Tomas Fallon retired from the killing business and settled into a small cottage on Long Womans Grave. One rainy day two armed men arrive at his door. He disarms them handily and has them lead him to his beleaguered old IRA boss, Seamus MacCauley, who tells him of the Peace Accord about to be signed tomorrow but also shows him photos of dead children, including MacCauleys niece, tortured to death in a drug-traffic slaying. MacCauley wants Fallon to take out the smugglers. When three men from the rival Ulster Defense League try to assassinate him for all the UDL widows he piled up earlier, yet are themselves killed by the bomb meant for him, Fallon sees he wont have a personal peace accord. Still, putting himself up against international criminals might bring one kind of peace and dissolve the dead he keeps under ice in his soulif hes not betrayed. Eickhoffs cool, clear, unsentimental style keeps his plot knotted until it sweats. The Sorrows, the third volume in his marvelous trilogy The Ulster Cycle, about Cuchulain (The Raid, 1997, and The Feast, p. 255), will appear in March 2000. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.