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The Irish Rebellion Burns Bright - an Editorial Review of "Breach of the Peace"

Book Blurb:

A gripping, action-packed historical thriller set in the rebellion in Ireland in the 1590s.

In the wild lands of Ireland, the embers of the Irish rebellion still burn bright. Eunan Maguire seemingly has all he ever dreamed of, a command in the rebel army, a prestigious marriage to cement a Maguire alliance and control of his family lands. But all is not well for such lofty heights bring much responsibility and many enemies.

Eunan discovers a significant downside to his marriage for he needs to live up to the expectations of his new father-in-law. War returns and he must prove himself worthy of the position he has been given because to contemplate defeat would be the end of the clan. In prosecuting the war, and stifling the greed and ambition of the Sheriff of Sligo, he has made him his mortal enemy.

In the meantime, a friendship wanes for Seamus MacSheehy but the return of the war throws them back together again. Both will have their loyalties tested to the limit.

Will Eunan prove himself or be overwhelmed by his multitude of enemies? Will the Sheriff of Sligo get his revenge on Eunan? Will Seamus be able to put aside the past for him to succeed? Who will survive the ultimate test of loyalty?

Breach of the Peace is the third book in the epic Irish historical fiction Exiles series. It is set against the backdrop of the Elizabethan wars in Ireland in the 1590s. A world of Irish clans, their politics and the fight for supremacy, where spies and intrigue prosper, where the embers burn for a rebellion against the English crown. If you love fast-paced action and adventure orientated historical fiction, then you will love this book.

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Author Bio:

C R Dempsey is the author of ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Uprising’, Traitor Maguire’, and ‘Breach of the peace’, four historical fiction books set in Elizabethan Ireland. He has plans for many more, and he needs to find the time to write them. History has always been his fascination, and historical fiction was an obvious outlet for his accumulated knowledge. C R spends lots of time working on his books, mainly in the twilight hours of the morning. C R wishes he spent more time writing and less time jumping down the rabbit hole of excessive research.

C R Dempsey lives in London with his wife and cat. He was born in Dublin but has lived most of his adult life in London.

C R can be found at:

Please click on the link below to join the mailing list where you can keep up with all C R Dempsey news:

Editorial Review:

Breach of the Peace is another brilliantly crafted novel by C.R. Dempsey. It is part of the Exiles series which is a collection of novels set in Elizabethan Ireland. During this time, Ireland was in turmoil, torn apart by fractious clans as well as the English trying to enforce the Crown’s rule over Ireland. It was a time of war and violence with brief interludes of peace. Brute force was the common language spoken at the time. This is depicted in the brief exchange between Ulick Burke, the Earl of Clanricard, and Sir Conyers Clifford when the Earl says, “You have to carve out your place in the flesh of both the people and the land. Strength is the only currency here.”

As in the first novel of the series, Bad Blood, readers continue to follow the strife and struggles that make up Eunan’s life. Eunan has his work cut out for him as he is made a Lord, husband, and head of the MacCabe Galloglass all within a short space of time. Even with this collection of new titles and accolades, Eunan continues to feel like an imposter. He yearns for a simple life as is illustrated when he thinks to himself, “Every plod that shuddered through his body said to him he was on someone else’s path and he should have stayed back in O’Cassidy house and beside the lakes he loved so much.”

Eunan does not feel worthy of being a Lord nor does he enjoy the confines of his married life. As with most marriages at the time, this was an arranged marriage designed for the purpose of politics and strengthening alliances. Eunan is wed to Sorcha, the sickly daughter of the powerful Cormac. Eunan quickly finds out that there are three in his marriage with Cormac being tyrannically overprotective of his daughter, only allowing Eunan to see her with his permission. This is due to her fragile nature; nonetheless, Eunan finds it frustrating. The author brilliantly foretells the strained relationship, bleak surroundings as well as hints at all the heartache to come through the following passage as Eunan is making his way to his new home after the marriage, “Grey skies swirled overhead and the granite and cloud became one. Sheets of spitting rain linked heaven and earth and made a grim stairway to heaven through the towers of the castle. The heavenly downpour softened the ground, which was trampled and churned into mud, and turned the last steps home into an almighty slog.” The powerful use of imagery seems to imply how nature is mirroring Eunan’s own feelings as he trudges up to his new home, dragged down by feelings of hopelessness and desolation.

Eunan finds his freedoms curtailed and is weighed down with the responsibilities of being a good husband and leader of the Galloglass. This is no easy task as the Galloglass instantly reject him since he is not inherently a MacCabe. Irial, one of the Galloglass, challenges Eunan to a fight which Eunan wins due to a loophole in the rules of the fight. Eunan leads the Galloglass into battles with relative success but is only met with scorn as well as a growing number of enemies on both sides.

One such enemy Eunan makes is the cruel and corrupt Taaffe, the Sheriff of Sligo. Eunan scuppers Taaffe’s attempts of acquiring a hefty ransom for Cormac’s son, whom he kidnapped. Eunan manages to save the son as well as avoid paying the ransom. This elevates him in the eyes of his father-in-law but also creates a mortal enemy in Taaffe.

Readers are constantly on tenterhooks as one battle rages on after another. Dirty dealings, political maneuvering and intrigue are at a peak where readers do not know who to trust or who will switch sides at the last minute. This is illustrated through Eunan’s thoughts, “Ennikkillen is a cesspit of intrigue and backstabbing. Every time I leave, there comes someone from behind me that wants to plunge a dagger in my back.

Readers can appreciate the consistency in the author’s depiction of the characters in the novels Bad Blood and Breach of the Peace. Their motivations, personality quirks, inner struggles and character traits remain the same throughout the two novels. Despite being a highly skilled mercenary, Seamus continues to doubt in the point of all this war and bloodshed. Although he keeps these feelings stashed away, his beliefs are depicted in the following passage, “Who cared if it was to a Queen or an O’Byrne or a Maguire to whom they paid their rent? They would more than likely be happy to live their lives on their farms and let the world pass them by instead of getting their heads split open by an axe in some bog or forest for someone else’s benefit.”

Despite maintaining the core qualities of the characters, readers also see their growth and evolvement with the passage of events and time. Readers witness a softer side of Seamus when one of his long-standing friends is killed. Seamus is wracked with guilt over his death for not doing more to help. Seamus is overwhelmed with grief and seeks drink and solitude as consolation. In the brief but evocative passage “The forest swallowed Seamus, and the night swallowed the forest,” the author captures the loneliness, isolation and hollowed out spirit lodged within Seamus.

Nonetheless, Seamus is brought back from the brink with more battles to fight. His black humor prevails in a particularly funny exchange between himself and Eunan. Eunan is eventually ousted as leader of the Galloglass and is instead posted as a constable for the shot. He tells Seamus he is awaiting orders from the new Galloglass leaders to which Seamus replies, “Which no doubt will be ‘attack the English single-handedly and try to die while you’re at it.’ I’ve had those instructions a few times myself.” His dark humor, despite being anchored in truth, adds a lighter dimension to an otherwise heavy storyline.

Overall, any history buff would devour this story. Breach of the Peace is a gripping tale laden with devious plots, sinister machinations, and twists and turns at every page. It is a historical masterpiece, weaving in facts, dates, notable people, and important events in an artful and entertaining way, and I'm looking forward to delving into more books within the Exiles series.


“Breach of the Peace” by C. R. Dempsey receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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