The Abstainer: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Stephen Doyle is a veteran of the American Civil War. His single-minded ruthlessness makes him the perfect person to hire to avenge the execution of three members of the Fenian Brotherhood, an organization determined to drive the British out of Ireland. James O'Connor is the Head Constable in Manchester. Recently transferred from Dublin, he is a man haunted by the loss of his wife and battling a constant urge to return to the mind-numbing comfort of alcohol. Both men, in very different ways, are driven by obsessions; one to make sure a terrible revenge is exacted, the other to stop him. This dark and mesmerizing novel, with its deeply flawed, brilliantly drawn protagonists, is as compulsively readable as the author's previous work, The North Water, and there is hardly any higher praise.

Alden Graves

Description


“A brilliant historical novel; part Cormac McCarthy and part Raymond Chandler.”—Philipp Meyer, author of The Son

An Irishman in nineteenth-century England is forced to take sides when his nephew joins the bloody underground movement for independence in this propulsive novel from the acclaimed author of The North Water.
 
Manchester, England, 1867. The rebels will be hanged at dawn, and their brotherhood is already plotting its revenge. 
 
Stephen Doyle, an Irish-American veteran of the Civil War, arrives in Manchester 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 arrives on O’Connor’s doorstep looking for work, he cannot foresee the way his fragile new life will be imperiled—and how his and Doyle’s fates will become fatally intertwined.
 
In this propulsive tale of the underground war for Irish independence, the author of The North Water 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 rural 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.

About the Author


Ian McGuire is the author of ThNorth Water and Incredible Bodies. He is a winner of the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award and Historical Writer’s Association Gold Crown Award. He lives in Manchester, England, where he teaches at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing.

Praise For…


The Abstainer tells a story of people trapped by class, a simmering revolution, and their own frailty, but it’s ultimately a very human and compelling novel that gives us a clear glimpse into the hearts and souls of its characters. McGuire is a writer who isn’t afraid to take risks and change course from his previous books.”—Philipp Meyer, author of The Son
 
“McGuire has crafted a riveting tale of violence and retribution against the backdrop of the 1860s Fenian rebellion—precursor to the Troubles and one of those rich historical incidents you learn about and wonder, Why didn’t I know about this before? He has a keen sense of how to mix precise local details with transcendent global themes.”—Michael Punke, author of The Revenant
 
The Abstainer is truly terrific—a can’t-put-down book. It’s nothing less than a tight and spare and 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


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593133873
ISBN-10: 0593133870
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 15th, 2020
Pages: 320
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