Monday, April 25, 2022

Ulster Lament: an Irish tune ... sung by the English

Greetings, chaps!

The situation in Ukraine and the various humanitarian missions have kept me so busy, I somehow missed the release of my own novel. It's not quite as bad as locking your dog in a hot car, but still. Ulster Lament touches upon many topics that are perpetually relevant and near and dear to my heart: nationalism, imperialism, perverted loyalty. 

Ulster, Co. Antrim, 1903

Born with a limp, unsuitable for military service, Peter Greenwood knows that he is an embarrassment to his father, an officer in the British army. At seventeen the youth travels to Belfast to study journalism. New friends help Peter find a job at a conservative newspaper The Empire.

His first assignment is to publish the memoirs of a retired captain Evan Pryce, a veteran of the Transvaal campaign. At the very first meeting Peter recognizes a broken, bitter man, who is not proud of his past. Molly, the captain's feral and uncouth daughter, takes a liking to Peter and shares a few family secrets that do not quite tie with the patriotic spirit of the newspaper.

The Pryce family has a sworn enemy, an Irish nationalist hungry for vengeance, to which Peter becomes a witness. Even though his own life is spared, it now belongs to the rebels. He must use his literary skills to cover up their crimes.

Ulster Lament, a bewitching folk melody sung by the ringleader, infects Peter's thoughts and makes him question his loyalty to the crown. He starts sympathizing with the rebels and believing that their rage is justified. Will he turn against everything he was taught to hold sacred?

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