A man hanging on by a thread. A city about to snap.
From the acclaimed author of The North Water comes an epic story of revenge and obsession.
Two men, haunted by their pasts. Driven by the need for justice.
Blood begets blood. In a fight for life and legacy.
Stephen Doyle arrives in Manchester from New York. He is an Irish-American veteran of the Civil War and a member of the Fenians, a secret society intent on ending British rule in Ireland, by any means necessary. Now he has come to seek vengeance.
James O'Connor has fled grief and drink in Dublin for a sober start in Manchester as Head Constable. His mission is to discover and thwart the Fenians’ plans. When his long-lost nephew arrives on his doorstep, he never could have foreseen how this would imperil his fragile new life – or how his and Doyle's fates would come to be intertwined.
The rebels will be hanged at dawn, and their brotherhood is already plotting revenge.
‘The Abstainer is truly terrific – a can't-put-down book. It's no less than a tight 'n spare 'n suspense-filled noir novel, masterfully set in 1860s Britain and America. And like all superb historical novels, it seems as modern and as contemporary as this morning.’ Richard Ford
Praise for The North Water, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
‘Brilliant, fast-paced, gripping. A tour de force of narrative tension and a masterful reconstruction of a lost world’ Hilary Mantel
‘Utterly convincing and compelling… A startling achievement’ Martin Amis
‘Riveting and darkly brilliant… McGuire has an extraordinary talent’ Colm Toibin
‘Has exceptional power and energy’ Sunday Times
‘A stunning novel that snares the reader from the outset and keeps the tightest grip until the bitter end’ Financial Times
‘A vivid read, full of twists, turns, period detail and strong characters’ The Times
‘Terrific – McGuire’s use of the pitiless, fearsomely beautiful Arctic landscape as a theatre for enduring questions is inspired’ Daily Mail
‘McGuire has a sure and unwavering touch… a writer of exceptional craft and confidence’ Irish Times
Ian McGuire grew up near Hull and studied at the University of Manchester and the University of Virginia, USA. In 2007 he co-founded the University of Manchester's Centre for New Writing. He is the author of Incredible Bodies and the 2016 Man Booker-longlisted novel, The North Water. The Abstainer is his third novel.
‘The Abstainer is truly terrific – a can't-put-down book. It's no less than a tight 'n spare 'n suspense-filled noir novel, masterfully set in 1860s Britain and America. And like all superb historical novels, it seems as modern and as contemporary as this morning.’
– Richard Ford
‘McGuire has crafted a riveting tale of violence and retribution against the backdrop of the 1860s Fenian rebellion – precursor to the Troubles and one of those rich historical incidents you learn about and wonder, Why didn't I know about this before? He has a keen sense of how to mix precise local details with transcendent global themes.’
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