This will be the first in a series of three Thomas Flanagan book reviews. His trilogy of Irish historical fiction is excellent! They are not new releases, and I admit I read them years ago. But, the trilogy was so wonderful, I have owned treasured copies of the works ever since. His first was The Year of the French.
In 1798 a band of Irishmen in County Mayo, bent on taking their homeland back from their English rulers, were joined in their heroic quest by troops from France. The tale is beautifully written, and haunting in its historic accuracy. The characterizations are moving and stay with you. In 1979 The Year of the French was named the most distinctive new work of fiction by the National Book Critic's Circle but it deserved even higher accolades for its excellence. This first book set the stage for a historic journey through the trials of Ireland that spans decades.