The Abstainer

Ian McGuire

The Abstainer
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The Abstainer

Ian McGuire

The rebels will be hanged at dawn, and their brotherhood is already plotting revenge.


Manchester, 1867: Stephen Doyle, an Irish-American veteran of the Civil War, arrives from New York with a thirst for blood. He has joined the Fenians, a secret society intent on ending British rule in Ireland by any means necessary. Head Constable James O'Connor has fled grief and drink in Dublin for a sober start in Manchester. His job is to discover and thwart the Fenians' plans whatever they might be. When a long-lost nephew returns from America and arrives on O'Connor’s doorstep looking for work, he cannot foresee the way his fragile new life will be imperilled - and how his and Doyle’s fates will be intertwined.

In this propulsive tale of the underground war for Irish independence, master storyteller Ian McGuire once again transports readers to a time when blood begot blood. Moving from the dirt and uproar of industrial Manchester to the quiet hills of Pennsylvania, The Abstainer is a searing novel in which two men, haunted by their pasts and driven forward by the need for justice and retribution, must fight for life and legacy.

The Abstainer is truly terrific - a can’t-put-down book. It’s no less than a tight ‘n spare 'n suspense-filled noir novel, masterfully set in 1860s Britain and America. And like all superb historical novels, it seems as modern and as contemporary as this morning.’ Richard Ford 

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