A warm welcome to David Lawlor and his book Tan: A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge which is the first book in the Liam Mannion Story.
‘Peelers have a knack for hitting you where it hurts; broken nose, bruised ribs, a few loosened teeth…no more than a rapist deserved, Sergeant Coveney and District Inspector Webber had said. Proper order, too – except the lad was no rapist, and Webber knew it.’
It’s 1914 and Liam Mannion is forced into exile for a crime he didn’t commit. He flees Balbriggan, the only home he has ever known and travels to England, where he enlists and endures the torment of trench warfare in France. Five years later he’s back in England, a changed man, living in the shadow of his battlefield memories. Liam finds work in a Manchester cotton mill but prejudice and illness soon see him destitute. Starving and desperate, he enlists in a new military force heading to Ireland – the Black and Tans – and is posted to the very town he fled as a youth.
While he has been away Liam’s childhood friends have joined the republican cause, while his brother has allied himself to the Crown forces. Liam must wrestle with his own conflicted feelings about duty to the ruthless Tans and loyalty to his friends. The potent combination of ambition, patriotism and betrayal collide, forcing him to act as he comes face to face with the man who spread lies about him all those years before.
One of the excellent reviews for Tan
An author faces a monumental task when writing historical fiction. If one historical fact is wrong or an anachronism appears, the reader is likely to put aside the book in favor of one that achieves historical accuracy tempered with believable dialogue, heightened tension, and sympathetic, yet flawed, heroes.
If you are a reader of historical fiction who requires accuracy, suspense, and flawed, yet heroic main characters, then I suggest you read Tan – A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge by David Lawlor.
Set in England and then Ireland in the year after the end of World War I, Tan explores war from a closer view immediately following Liam Mannion’s release from the English Army in 1919. Here’s a guy forced to leave Ireland at a young age because of an act he witnessed after a night of drinking at a friend’s wedding. It’s here where the conflict of the story begins when the evil Webber blames and accuses the young Liam of an indecent act against a virtuous married woman. Webber’s fiction that forces Liam into exile begins a whole series of events that mark Liam for life.
Liam heads to England in 1914 and ends up in the English army fighting in France during the majority of World War I.
When Liam eventually heads back to England after the horrid and putrid rot of dead bodies that made up his memory of the war, he ends up in an insufferable situation which leads him to homelessness, and then worse, as an officer of the crown as a member of the powerful and often repressive Black and Tan. Liam turns a blind eye to the atrocious behavior of his English comrades, only until it becomes evident that his loyalty to the Black and Tan extracts too high of a rent for clean clothes and warm bowl of soup.
Lawlor captures the uncertainty of the times through the examination of Liam’s uncertain future as he’s thrust into situations beyond his control. Precise and graphic descriptions of life in England and Ireland post-World War I show that despite the end of a tragic war on the mainland of Europe, Ireland faced an even greater war at home with the invasion and intrusion of the Tans.
I fell in love with Lawlor’s descriptions of the setting in Tan as I lost myself in the world of the Irish fighting for their lives and their homeland. Here’s an example of Lawlor’s powerful descriptive talent:
“They leaned against the viaduct’s promenade rail, looking out on their hometown, watching the slow huff of a steam engine as it trundled into the station, the smell of the sea mingling with the coke from Cumisky’s coal yard beneath them.”
It’s filled with contrast and detail that employ the senses to show the reader that the situation and the setting are both beautiful and polluted.
Tan is both tender and violent as the reader is drawn into the abyss of angry revenge and the love and loyalty of friends and family. It also shows that being born into a family does not guarantee such loyalty. The character of the individual breeds the kind of loyalty that would take a bullet and shoot a bullet to protect and exact revenge.
I highly recommend Tan if you like to lose yourself into another world in the past of one hundred years ago on the soil of Ireland, bloodied from wars and stained with tears.
Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Tan-Story-Betrayal-Revenge-Mannion-ebook/dp/B00BFD4JF8
Read more reviews on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tan-Story-Betrayal-Revenge-Mannion-ebook/dp/B00BFD4JF8/
Also by David Lawlor
Read all the reviews for the series: https://www.amazon.com/David-Lawlor/e/B00E3T1EWW
and Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Lawlor/e/B00E3T1EWW
Read more reviews and follow David Lawlor on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7059828.David_Lawlor
About David Lawlor
David Lawlor has been a journalist for over 20 years. He has written four historical fiction novels, Tan, The Golden Grave and A Time of Traitors, set in the 1920s during the Irish War of Independence and following the character Liam Mannion.
David is also a book editor – copy and content editing.
He lives in Wicklow, Ireland, with his wife and four children.
Connect to David
Thank you for dropping by today and I hope that you will explore David’s books and his blog. Thanks Sally
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