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The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes
  

The Convictions of John Delahunt

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This starts not with a murder as the publishers suggest but with John Delahunt in gaol where he decides to tell his side of the story. He has been convicted of murder and he will hang. We are in 1841, Dublin, and this is a tale based on true events which at its core is about betrayal and the ultimate price one is prepared to pay. Gruesome and savage, we read of a deprived city that treats the underclass with contempt and violence, whether male or female, all to aid the ‘justice’ system and conviction rates.

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Synopsis

The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes

Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this killing causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit - a feckless student named John Delahunt - is also an informant and in the pay of the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement...Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin's taverns, tenements, courtrooms and alleyways and with a rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this compelling, at times darkly humorous, novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.

Reviews

A quite exceptional novel, let alone first novel. Ireland has produced more than its share of fine writers and Mr Hughes is another. The world he creates has echoes of Kafka and Orwell, all the more unsettling because it lies beneath a veneer of early Victorian respectability, and is totally convincing. It draws you in like a trap and the conclusion is unexpected and touching. C. J. SANSOM, author of Dissolution and Winter in Madrid I found this novel unputdownable. The story the narrator tells of his gradual involvement in the shadowy world of perjury and betrayal organised by the Dublin police in the 1840s, is fascinating, and the ruthlessness that gradually emerges is chillingly portrayed. It's a superb evocation of a specific place and time ... the horrible logic of the plot leads to an entirely plausible though surprising twist. This is a highly sophisticated first novel and whets the appetite for the author's next. CHARLES PALLISER, author of The Quincunx This is a compelling and eerily authentic crime story highlighting the very real and brutal moral dilemmas facing those struggling for survival in 1840s Dublin. Read it and be grateful to be alive in our day and age. ROBERT GODDARD A dark, original story wrapped in a wonderful gothic gloom set in a solidly realised and historically plausible version of early Victorian Dublin. And the character of John Delahunt is fascinating - both deeply sinister and at times almost sympathetic: it's a tough act to pull off, but Andrew Hughes manages it with brio. I heard echoes of James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson. ANDREW TAYLOR, author of The American Boy and The Scent of Death Reminiscent of John Banville's The Book of Evidence ... a bracing, lurid tale that is as engrossing as it is chilling, and a fascinating glimpse into one of the darker periods in Dublin's history. -- Declan Burke IRISH INDEPENDENT The Irish spy novel comes in from the cold ... a vivid piece of writing ... brings to mind Andrew Miller's Costa-winning novel, Pure. IRISH TIMES Andrew Hughes does for early Victorian Dublin what Peter Ackroyd has done for mid-19th century London. This is to create an extraordinarily detailed world, impeccably researched to satisfy any student of history, while also being so superbly written that it soars as a masterly work of fiction ... utterly compelling *****. Dermot Bolger, IRISH MAIL ON SUNDAY


About the Author

Born in Co. Wexford, ANDREW HUGHES was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. A qualified archivist, he worked for RTE before going freelance. It was while researching his acclaimed social history of Fitzwilliam Square - Lives Less Ordinary: Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square, 1798-1922 - that he first came across the true story of John Delahunt that inspired his debut novel. Andrew Hughes lives in Dublin.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Andrew Hughes

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Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Thriller / Suspense
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ISBN

9781781620144

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