Wild Geese - Eilis DillonLondon, Sydney, Auckland & Toronto: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Price Clipped.
From the cover: “This compelling novel is set in one of the darkest moments of Irish history, when Britain’s penal laws had seemingly broken the spirit of the nation. The Church was persecuted, the gentry beleaguered, the people demoralized. Their only ray of hope was the connection with England’s enemy, France, where many of the proud Irish nobility had fled like “Wild Geese” in the wake of Patrick Sarsfield’s tragic defeat. There, too, Irish priests were trained and smuggled home to a dangerous ministry. And it was, paradoxically, from aristocratic France that the new ideals of liberty and democracy would come to fan the flames of Irish revolution.
Eilis Dillon, author of Across the Bitter Sea, has woven a spellbinding adventure around two young exiles, the impetuous Robert Brien and his beautiful sister, Louise. Driven from the family estate in the west of Ireland by a scheming stepmother and a tragically weak father, they join their French cousins in the decadent society of pre-revolutionary Paris. The corruption of that dazzling milieu is brilliantly described. Bewildered by heartless conventions, preyed upon by unscrupulous relatives, betrayed by the strength of their own emotions, the young pair find the artificial world of the French aristocracy almost their undoing.
Forced to flee Paris in peril of his life, Robert takes ship with the French army to the American revolutionary wars. Amid the bloody carnage and drawing-room conventions of eighteenth-century warfare, his thoughts are always of Ireland. Louise, trapped into marriage with a goatish old squire, finds herself buried in the oppressive society of provincial France — realizing too late that she loves another man. The vicissitudes through which brother and sister must pass to gain a kind of happiness make a thrilling tale of two continents in turmoil. Historical tensions are never far from the surface, but the author’s mastery of ironic detail gives a penetrating and deeply personal view of a strange and exciting time.”