FORGOTTEN BOOKS ~ PAY THE DEVIL!
Much like Clive Cussler, Jack Higgins has become a brand name. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a good thing. For years the debut of a new Jack Higgins’ novel had me down at the bookstore with cash in hand. However, since around the time of Higgins’ novel The President’s Daughter in 2003, when his eponymous character Sean Dillon began his campaign against Middle Eastern terrorism, his books have become bloated parodies filled with cardboard characterizations and ‘who cares’ generic ‘big’ thriller plots.
But in his early days prior to his breakthrough novel, The Eagle Has Landed, and right through to the first three or four Sean Dillon novels, there wasn’t a pulp thriller writer anywhere to whom Higgins took second place.
Pay The Devil is a 1999 entry in the Higgins’ canon, but reads as if it had been written much earlier.
PAY THE DEVIL
Searching for the peace and quiet that eluded him for four long years as a Confederate colonel in the Civil War, surgeon Clay Fitzgerald sets out for Ireland to lay claim to the estate and fortune he's recently inherited. Once there, he finds himself caught in the midst of yet another civil disturbance at the Fenian Rising.
Clay finds he can not stand idly by, having witnessed the awful living and medical conditions of the poor. With the help of neighbors, his new love, Joanna Hamilton, and a dutiful servant, Clay comes to embrace the plight of the passionate Irish rebels.
Assuming the identity of a legendary romantic outlaw hero, "Captain Swing," he puts his own life at risk to further the peasants' cause. Higgins (Drink with the Devil) adds fuel to his intense plot with well-defined characters and atmospheric historical details.
For me Higgins is at his best when he’s writing about Irish characters and the troubles in that troubled land ancient or current. If you’ve never read Higgins, you are missing out on one of the best of the best from a time when the tag thriller meant high adventure, not high tech.
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