Julie Kavanagh The Irish Assassins


Code 9781611854619
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'The tale of the Phoenix Park murders is not unfamiliar, but Kavanagh recounts it with a great sense of drama... Kavanagh's account reminds me of the very best of true crime.' - The Times (Book of the Week)

On a sunlit evening in l882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were ambushed and stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were carried out by the Invincibles, a militant faction of republicans armed with specially-made surgeon's blades. They ended what should have been a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations.

A new spirit of goodwill had been burgeoning between Prime Minister William Gladstone and Ireland's leader Charles Stewart Parnell, with both men forging in secret a pact to achieve peace and independence in Ireland - with the newly appointed Cavendish, Gladstone's protege, to play an instrumental role. The impact of the Phoenix Park murders was so cataclysmic that it destroyed the pact, almost brought down the government and set in motion repercussions that would last long into the twentieth century.

In a story that spans Donegal, Dublin, London, Paris, New York, Cannes and Cape Town, Julie Kavanagh thrillingly traces the crucial events that came before and after the murders. From the adulterous affair that caused Parnell's downfall to Queen Victoria's prurient obsession with the assassinations and the investigation spearheaded by the 'Irish Sherlock Holmes', culminating in a murder on the high seas, The Irish Assassins brings us intimately into this fascinating story that shaped Irish politics and engulfed an empire. This is an unputdownable book from one of our most 'compulsively readable' (Guardian) writers.

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'Julie Kavanagh has done an adroit unpicking of the intricacies of the history, and her book is at once admirable for its scholarship and immensely enjoyable in its raciness.'
- John Banville, New York Times Book Review

'The tale of the Phoenix Park murders is not unfamiliar, but Kavanagh recounts it with a great sense of drama... Kavanagh's account reminds me of the very best of true crime...Kavanagh never hurries; she takes the time to describe characters and places with exquisite detail. An engaging story is rendered beautiful because of the tiny ephemera that a less sensitive author might have carelessly discarded.'
- The Times (Book of the Week)

'What Julie Kavanagh has done here is to bring this most extraordinary of assassinations to life...one of the best researched and most enjoyable historical reads I have come across in quite some time.'
- Sunday Independent

'The dramatic story of the Phoenix Park murders...is told with novelistic panache by Julie Kavanagh.'
- Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent

'These tragic events are vividly recounted in Julie Kavanagh's lively and suspenseful The Irish Assassins...a fluent, well-researched study of Anglo-Irish relations in the Victorian era.'
- Wall Street Journal

'A compelling blend of political history and true crime...a colourful, ambitious book...makes most other accounts of the period seem bloodless by comparison.'
- Sunday Business Post


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