The Bleeding Hills
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. Finn is protected in his exile in the United States after having worked for the CIA. Consequently, British Intelligence has come up with a plan to lure Finn back into their jurisdiction, Northern Ireland, by revealing the identity of the man who is ultimately responsible for the killing of Finn's wife, Shauna. Here they hope not only to apprehend him, but also lead them to another conspirator, Martin Sheehan, who hides in the Northern provinces. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. The Bleeding Hills, Wilfried F. Voss' first novel, is skillfully divided into three time lines; they keep the reader glued to the story by providing some surprising twists and turns. The first time line describes the life of Finnean Whelan and his first contact with the Irish Republican Army in the late 1960s. The second line is set in the presence and it portrays Whelan's journey to Northern Ireland where he intends to accomplish his final plot. The third time line is dedicated to the activities of British Intelligence Services, namely the MI5, attempting to apprehend Whelan and his co-conspirator, Martin Sheehan. All time lines come together in the end and they make for some intriguing twists. Wilfried F. Voss has cleverly weaved real events of recent Irish history, namely the Irish Troubles, into the life story of Finnean Whelan. They are, just to name a few examples, the events of Bloody Sunday, and the murder of Captain Robert Nairac, an officer with the British Army. The historical facts have been thoroughly investigated, but the author also takes some liberties for interpretation; these interpretations are, nevertheless, based on his meticulous research. One theory, for instance, is that Captain Robert Nairac was the victim of child abuse at Ampleforth College in England, which, consequently, caused Nairac's violent behavior during the Irish Troubles. Another interesting theory is based on the claim that British Intelligence Services, even to the present day, are instrumental in a plot to disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland. Whether or not these claims are true is of no consequence; The Bleeding Hills is not only entertaining, but it also effectively tickles the reader's mind to learn more about recent Irish history.
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