Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

September Books 10) Of Blood and Honey, by Stina Leicht

Set in Northern Ireland during the 1970s; at the same time as the human conflict unfolding on the streets of Belfast and Derry, there is a supernatural conflict being waged between the Church and the Otherworld. It would be very easy to do this badly, but Leicht has avoided almost all the obvious pitfalls; the two plots reinforce each other rather than seeking clunky parallels. Her viewpoint character, Liam Kelly, is swept by circumstance into the IRA and co-opted by his supernatural paternity into the less visible war, and both he and the grim circumstances of 1970s Ulster are memorably portrayed.

The author kindly sent me a manuscript to review for the Northern Irish equivalent of Brit-picking, but unfortunately I wasn't able to respond in time for her deadline. Considering that she apparently has never been to Ireland, there are surprisingly few points that I would have flagged up - I am a bit sceptical about the use of "BA" rather than "Brit", but there is good authority for this from Tim Pat Coogan; I wouldn't have called a fictional detention centre near Belfast "Malone"; and there were a couple of points of ecclesiastical detail (use of first names for priests, church attitude to abortion) that rang slightly false. Just goes to show that if you bother to do the research rather than resort to cliche, you will reap the rewards.

Flicking through other reviews, I see a couple of Americans making the point that by getting inside the head of a Christian English-speaker who is involved with the IRA, Leicht has got them to reflect a bit more deeply and critically on the current "war on terror". More power to her if so.

And I really must update my list soon.
Tags: bookblog 2011, world: northern ireland

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