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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)
"Unforgettable.... McGuire's portrait of two men locked in a grisly, vengeful dance with each other is masterly." (The Times)
"The book is written with the vividness and economy of a screenplay, unfolding through a series of sharply observed scenes full of cliffhangers, misdirection and reverses. Its lovely, rhythmic prose evokes the stinks of the Victorian city, its factories, rat-baiting arenas and slaughterhouses. […] McGuire does everything well: evoking the pungent atmosphere of a teeming industrial city, recreating the period in a way that resonates with our own time without seeming preachy, and writing sharp dialogue that crackles with subtext." (Guardian)