The Ring of the Piper's Tune
Mick Barrett and a young man, Ned Morriarty, run for their lives after one of them shoots and kills a British officer on a street corner in Dublin on the eve of the the 1916 Easter-week revolt. Ned is captured, Mick escapes. At the wake, his daughter meets an American spying for the British, carrying out orders to find the man who eludes capture. From the introduction of the two, Kathleen Barrett and William Hamilton, follows a courtship that ends with imprisonment of her father. To avoid the shame of childbirth without marriage, Kathleen leaves Ireland for Boston, where mirror-image twins are born. Contrasting characteristics shown in early years lead them to far different lives. One becomes a priest, the other a lawyer. Both are drawn into New York’s business and union corruption. Hamilton, assumed by Kathleen to be among the casualties of a troop ship torpedoed in the Irish Sea, survives; he joins the British code- breaking group in the first world war, then works with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. On Hamilton’s No. 1-wanted list is Sean McIntee, who left Ireland to avoid the punishment he would be dealt for informing the British of Kathleen’s father’s part in the killing of the British soldier. In Chicago, McIntee’s cruelty, a prime requisite for success in the underworld of prohibition, is turned to bring down the world of the twins, their mother, and their father. Austin Dwyer’s novel takes the reader to dinners in Boston and Dublin where men talk about politics and war and to restaurants and bars in American Cities where criminals conspire to move to the top by rubbing out the men in their way.