“I recall the excitement when this book was published in the late 1970's - and then discovered (not always the case) that the book merited it. Flanagan, an American history professor of Irish descent, pulled off a substantial coup in that he brought a historian's training to bear upon a romantic moment, the period when the French landed in the west of Ireland in 1798 and all Ireland thought liberation was at hand. His research never lies around the novel in pools, it stains the entire fabric, so that when his character's point of view is emerging from a dispossessed farmer's clay hovel or a small town merchant's table in the local hotel, we smell them - their clothes, their breath and (this is Ireland after all) their politics.” —Frank Delaney, The Guardian
"A masterwork of historical fiction." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
"The book's wide-ranging scope and erudition are reminiscent of Tolstoy." — Chicago Tribune
"This deserves every major literary prize." — Publishers Weekly
“In his prodigious first novel, Thomas Flanagan grants this historic episode a new and panoramic life....[a] thoughtful, graceful elegy.” — Mayo Mohs, Time
“Such a brutal and pathetic story would alone have sufficed to make this book absorbing, but Flanagan has much more on his mind. He means to create not only a plausible sense of place and character, and an accurate account of evens, but to recreate, from barroom to manor hall, the entire intellectual and emotional climate of the time....not only a serious book...but a distinguished one as well.” — Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek
“a rich and complex narrative...[an] extraordinary achievement" — George Garrett, The New York Times
"I haven't so enjoyed a historical novel since The Charterhouse of Parma and War and Peace." — John Leonard, The New York Times.
“handsomely written...[a] splendid novel.” — Denis Donogue, The New York Review of Books
"Thomas Flanagan was one of irish-America's—one of the literary world's—great treasures. he wrote in flowing, baroque sentences that defied literary conventions born of minimalism and the modern attention span. His novels had texture and context, and were—astonishingly—critical successes and popular bestsellers." —Terry Golway, The Irish Echo
About the Author
Seamus Deane, formerly Professor of English and American Literature at University College, Dublin, is now Keough Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Among his books are Selected Poems, Celtic Revivals, Strange Country: Ireland and Modernity, and the novel Reading in the Dark. He was General Editor of the three-volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing.