Books: Irish Wake

THE YEAR OF THE FRENCH by Thomas Flanagan

Holt, Rinehart & Winston; 516 pages;

$12.95

The year is 1798, and in County Mayo, on Ireland's impoverished west coast, an army of the French Revolution has landed to rouse the embittered Irish against their English overlords. Elsewhere in the country, in gibbet-strewn Wexford and in bloodstained Ulster, rebellions have already been crushed. Any remaining hope hinges on the rising in Mayo, and there, in the euphoria of the French landing, the cause catches fire. In centuries hence, the Irish will sing of the glorious Men...

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