'Tans' terror revisited in debut novel

Jane Last

On a mild day in 1920, the Black and Tans rampaged through Balbriggan, setting fire to houses and factories, terrorising families and murdering two men.

That notorious event has now been captured in a new debut novel by Herald journalist David Lawlor.

The story starts in 1914 when a young man, Liam Mannion, is forced into exile for a crime he didn't commit.

He travels to England, where he enlists and endures the torment of trench warfare in France.

Five years later he's back in England, destitute. Starving and desperate, he enlists in the Black and Tans -- and is posted to the very town he fled as a youth, where he must wrestle with his own conflicted feelings about duty to the Tans and loyalty to his old friends.

"I studied history in UCD and have always been intrigued by the Black and Tans -- their brutality and the scar they placed on the psyche of our nation through their actions," says David, Associate Editor in the Herald.

Tan, by David Lawlor, is available on Amazon for Kindle download, price €2.99. You can download it for free up until April 8.