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Set in Dublin in the 1840s and based on the true story of the murder of a child, this dazzling literary debut - at once a historical novel and crime thriller - will appeal to fans of Andrew Taylor, Andrew Miller and Peter Ackroyd.

Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this killing causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit – a feckless student named John Delahunt – is also an informant for the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement . . .
Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin’s taverns, tenements, courtrooms and alleyways and with its rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this compelling, at times darkly humorous, novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.

Reviews

A quite exceptional novel . . . The world he creates has echoes of Kafka and Orwell . . . totally convincing. It draws you in like a trap.

C. J. SANSOM, author of Dissolution and Winter in Madrid

Unputdownable . . . chillingly portrayed . . . a highly sophisticated first novel.

CHARLES PALLISER, author of The Quincunx

Compelling and eerily authentic . . . Read it and be grateful to be alive in our day and age.

ROBERT GODDARD

A dark, original story wrapped in a wonderful gothic gloom . . . it's a tough act to pull off, but Andrew Hughes manages it with brio. I heard echoes of James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson.

ANDREW TAYLOR, author of The American Boy and The Scent of Death

Reminiscent of John Banville's The Book of Evidence . . . a bracing, lurid tale that is as engrossing as it is chilling.

Declan Burke, IRISH INDEPENDENT

A vivid piece of writing . . . brings to mind Andrew Miller’s Costa-winning novel, Pure.

IRISH TIMES

Extraordinarily detailed world, impeccably researched . . . so superbly written that it soars as a masterly work of fiction . . . utterly compelling.

Dermot Bolger, IRISH MAIL ON SUNDAY

An intriguing debut (that) sets out Hughes as one to watch.

SUNDAY TIMES IRELAND

A skilfully planned, elegantly written debut . . . a riveting read.

SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

Stupendous: a brilliant achievement for a first novel, completely compelling and with a perfectly damaged central character.

MANDA SCOTT

Assured, gritty, utterly steeped in a sense of time and place so overwhelming that it's taken me several hours to come back to the twenty-first century. I feel desperately glad I didn't live then, and ashamed of how little I know of the life and time and place. . . the book was stupendous: a brilliant achievement for a first novel, completely compelling and with a perfectly damaged central character. I hoped up to the end that he'd get off somehow – he may have been grim, but he was nothing compared to the men who used him. I hope it does really well.

MANDA SCOTT

This dark gem... The knowledgable Andrew Hughes carefully recreates a truly grim time, seemingly stripped of morals, and one where a brutal end lurks on each street.

Sunday Sport

With its polished prose, vivid period feel and debauched protagonist, this assured first novel will be relished by fans of literary crime and historical fiction alike.

Irish Times

The story is not for the faint of heart, but for those who love being thrilled, gripped by an unputdownable book, and who loves reading about the dark side of life, then this is the book for them. This chilling novel is amazing and I loved every page. Simply fabulous.

Historical Novel Review

At once a close character study and a sweeping panorama of the era of 'dissectionists', who buy bodies for medical research and the 'resurectionists' who dig them up, this fascinating book is a stirring work of fiction and a perceptive chapter in Ireland's social history.

The New York Times Book Review

ghastly, riveting tale.

Entertainment Weekly

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780552779418

    October 15, 2014

    Black Swan Ireland

    352 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448169771

    September 12, 2013

    Transworld Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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