- File Size: 4170 KB
- Print Length: 300 pages
- Publisher: David Lawlor (January 3, 2014)
- Publication Date: January 3, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BFD4JF8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,739 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Tan - A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge (A Liam Mannion Story Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a reader of historical fiction who requires accuracy, suspense, and flawed, yet heroic main characters, then I suggest you read Tan - A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge by David Lawlor.
Set in England and then Ireland in the year after the end of World War I, Tan explores war from a closer view immediately following Liam Mannion's release from the English Army in 1919. Here's a guy forced to leave Ireland at a young age because of an act he witnessed after a night of drinking at a friend’s wedding. It’s here where the conflict of the story begins when the evil Webber blames and accuses the young Liam of an indecent act against a virtuous married woman. Webber’s fiction that forces Liam into exile begins a whole series of events that mark Liam for life.
Liam heads to England in 1914 and ends up in the English army fighting in France during the majority of World War I.
When Liam eventually heads back to England after the horrid and putrid rot of dead bodies that made up his memory of the war, he ends up in an insufferable situation which leads him to homelessness, and then worse, as an officer of the crown as a member of the powerful and often repressive Black and Tan. Liam turns a blind eye to the atrocious behavior of his English comrades, only until it becomes evident that his loyalty to the Black and Tan extracts too high of a rent for clean clothes and warm bowl of soup.
Lawlor captures the uncertainty of the times through the examination of Liam's uncertain future as he's thrust into situations beyond his control. Precise and graphic descriptions of life in England and Ireland post-World War I show that despite the end of a tragic war on the mainland of Europe, Ireland faced an even greater war at home with the invasion and intrusion of the Tans.
I fell in love with Lawlor’s descriptions of the setting in Tan as I lost myself in the world of the Irish fighting for their lives and their homeland. Here’s an example of Lawlor’s powerful descriptive talent:
“They leaned against the viaduct’s promenade rail, looking out on their hometown, watching the slow huff of a steam engine as it trundled into the station, the smell of the sea mingling with the coke from Cumisky’s coal yard beneath them.”
It’s filled with contrast and detail that employ the senses to show the reader that the situation and the setting are both beautiful and polluted.
Tan is both tender and violent as the reader is drawn into the abyss of angry revenge and the love and loyalty of friends and family. It also shows that being born into a family does not guarantee such loyalty. The character of the individual breeds the kind of loyalty that would take a bullet and shoot a bullet to protect and exact revenge.
I highly recommend Tan if you like to lose yourself into another world in the past of one hundred years ago on the soil of Ireland, bloodied from wars and stained with tears.
Five years after Liam escapes Balbriggan and Ireland, much has changed. World War I is over, but Liam and many of the men who fought in the trenches have been scarred forever by the brutality and violence of the conflict. At the same time, Ireland is mired in a war of its own pitting those serving the British government like the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) police force against the Irish Republican Army, the military wing of the movement to create a free Irish nation.
In Tan: A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge, author David Lawlor (@LawlorDavid) builds a wonderfully gripping fictional story against a backdrop of actual events during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), including the Sack of Balbriggan. Liam, his family and friends, and the other characters are richly drawn and complex, with ambitions and motivations that range from the most basic to the highest ideal. There are plenty of action scenes and a few romances along the way as the narrative builds to an intense conclusion -- I was glued to my Kindle for the final five chapters.
Demobilized from the Army after the Great War and unable to hold a job in England, a sick and starving Liam has little choice but to join a new paramilitary group being formed to bring order to Ireland: The Black and Tans, so named because of the mismatched/grab-bag of uniforms they are issued. The ranks of the Tans are filled by veterans of the Great War, men who have not been able to reintegrate into society. Many are petty criminals and violent thugs, others -- like Liam -- suffer from what we today would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but was first termed around this time as "Shell Shock."
The introduction of the Tans into the conflict was intended to provide enough manpower to tip the scales against the increasing popularity of the IRA, and it coincided with the decision of the British and RIC leadership to "take the gloves off" in their fight against the rebels. The result was predictable as the ill-disciplined Tans -- to paraphrase one of my favorite lines from James Webb's excellent Vietnam novel Fields of Fire -- created more rebels than they stopped.
It is interesting to note that religion plays little role in Tan. Although many Americans are likely to view the history of Ireland through the lens of religious conflict (Protestant North vs. Catholic Republic), the truth is -- inevitably -- much more complex. At the time when Tan was set by some estimates the vast majority, seventy-five percent, of the RIC were Irish-Catholic and several prominent members of the Irish Nationalist movement were Protestant. Although religion certainly became an issue later, especially during "The Troubles," during the Irish War of Independence the question wasn't what church you attended but what your vision for the country's future was: a free republic or some version of continued British rule.
Tan is the third novel I've read in the past year which in some degree has featured Ireland and the conflict there, although the first set in the War of Independence/Civil War time period. It is a beautiful country with a highly complex and rich history. I highly recommend Tan to anyone looking for a exciting read and am thrilled to see from his blog historywithatwist.wordpress.com that Mr. Lawlor is working on a sequel. I can't wait to read it.
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