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Bloody Sunday (1972) catapulted the Irish “troubles” onto the world stage, exacerbating suspicion in US intelligence circles that the IRA might turn to the Soviets for guns. South Boston native Raymond Daly, just off a CIA stint in Laos, is sent to Ireland to re-establish a line running guns to the IRA. He deftly earns the trust of gunrunner Slowey, a tough money-making South Boston native, who introduces him to an IRA splinter group operating near Blacklion, a town bordering on Northern Ireland.
Ray begins to manipulate Aoife, an Irish woman, in order to gain the trust of the community and embed himself in the organization. After the British Special Air Services raid a safehouse, Ray finds himself involved in executing an informant and his wife. But he also finds himself getting soft on some of those he was sent to infiltrate and becoming more like his cover, “an Irish American gunrunner with a romantic attachment to the Cause,” and less like an obedient CIA operative.
Events spiral, culminating in a shootout with the British army that compels Ray to make a Faustian decision on his future and that of Aoife and the others he was assigned to manipulate.
Luke Francis Beirne was born in Ireland and grew up in Western Canada. His first novel Foxhunt (2022) was compared to an early Le Carré thriller and is a finalist for the 2022 Foreword Indies General Fiction Award. Ghostwriter of more than a dozen genre novels, he has contributed to many publications such as Honest Ulsterman, Hamilton Arts & Letters, and Strange Horizons, including the award-winning story “Models.” Luke holds a Master’s in Cultural Studies & Critical Theory from McMaster University. Blacklion is his second novel. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Reviews and Praise
“Mr. Beirne’s writing is good, really good…I used to read a lot of Frederick Forsyth, and Blacklion very much recalls the type of story Mr. Forsyth would spin. Recommended, along with Foxhunt.” James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader
“Highly atmospheric… very cinematic…” Colleen Kitts-Goguen, CBC
“Luke Francis Beirne’s fury novel Foxhunt was a beautifully written slow burn of a literary intrigue novel, and his second novel Blacklion is just as intensely readable.“ All Lit Up
“The strength of Beirne’s writing lies in a … believable portrayal of basic human emotions: trust/distrust, love/hate, violence/the longing for a normal life … Beirne achieves a certain Hemingway quality for his protagonist and associates… a fine effort in a genre where the bar has been set extremely high by le Carre, Greene, Deighton, and others.” Ian Thomas Shaw, The Ottawa Review of Books
“[Foxhunt is] a cold-war thriller rather like early le Carré. … eerily pertinent given recent news …” Simon Lavery, Tredynas Days
“[A] brilliant young writer.” David Adams Richards
“With its beautifully lyrical prose, Foxhunt is an alchemic mix of realpolitik and shadowy noir.” Mark Anthony Jarman
“Foxhunt is wonderfully written and, as already mentioned, is a slow-to-medium-paced read. Hence, it is the type of novel I enjoy reading. Foxhunt is also a very cerebral and well-placed story within the historical context of the beginnings of the Cold War. I highly recommend Foxhunt as a noir-ish literary mystery-intrigue novel.” James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader
“Against a seamless historical and literary backdrop, Foxhunt balances compelling intrigue with vulnerable human emotions.” Meg Nola, Foreword Reviews (March-April 2022)
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