April 7, 1868, Ottawa, Ontario, Dominion of Canada

Around 2:30 a.m., following a late night sitting in the House of Commons, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, MP for the riding of Montreal West, is waiting for Mary Ann Trotter to open the locked door of her Sparks Street Boarding House when someone comes up behind him and shoots him in the back of the head.

Shortly after 6:00 a.m., blacksmith Pat Byrne is opening his Metcalfe Street shop when a rider pulls up with news of the assassination.

Growing up in Howth, a village near Dublin, Byrne has been following McGee’s chequered career. Now, with the Ottawa police investigating, and visitors to his smithy
speculating on rumours as to whom the assassin might be, he recalls McGee’s part, his own, and the Fenian Brotherhood’s numerous attempts to repeal the 1801 Act of Union with Britain and return Ireland to an independent country.

Those memories are intertwined with his courtship and amorous marriage to Caitlin, a free-spirited woman whose ideas about Irish independence—and marriage—often clash with his own.

David Mulholland’s fourth novel of dramatized history asks the question: Who really assassinated Canada’s youngest Father of Confederation?














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