|About the Book|
The storys opening scene is set in the beautiful Shermond countryside on a sunny summer day, the world to all appearances at peace. Shermond is home to two very different communities. The one is Catholic, generally nationalist in outlook and oftenMoreThe storys opening scene is set in the beautiful Shermond countryside on a sunny summer day, the world to all appearances at peace. Shermond is home to two very different communities. The one is Catholic, generally nationalist in outlook and often economically inferior. The other is Protestant, loyalist, and economically and socially on top. The loyalists are descendants of Cromwellian planters who settled on the lands of the dispossessed Irish in the mid-seventeenth century.Four young friends come together, Tom Ryan and Michael Keane, Paul Costelloe and Pat Foran. The friends have everything to look forward to - careers and the prospect of independence for their country, something that only a few years earlier would have been unimaginable.Another Irishman of a very different stripe, Richard Miller, is still fighting on the Continent in Britains war against Germany. He dreams of peace and a return to Shermond, where he hopes to indulge his consuming interest in landscaping. His father, William Miller, dreams of breeding a Derby winner. His distant cousin, Margaret dAutremont, has a consuming interest of her own -painting- but the greatest interest of all in Margarets life is her love for her cousin, something of which up to now he has not shown the slightest awareness.The next three years will see an increasingly bitter struggle between Irish nationalists and Britain with its Irish loyalist supporters for control of Irish destinies. The notorious Black and Tans -English policemen recruited for service in Ireland- make their appearance in Ireland and Shermond. The struggle ends with the signing of an Anglo-Irish treaty in London in December 1921. Some in Ireland are unhappy with the treaty, and civil war breaks out.Not everyone in Shermond will survive the turmoil. The story closes, as it began, on another sunny summer day in the beautiful Shermond countryside, the world to all appearances once more at peace.