The DeValera Deception
by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Enigma Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781936274086
Date: 01 October 2010 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Authors' Website / Show Official Info /
The basic plot of The DeValera Deception surrounds Bourke Cockran, Jr, an Irish-American New York lawyer. Bourke is a former US Intelligence agent that was involved in the Irish War for Independence in the early 1920s.
In 1929, an international clandestine organization called the Geneva Group is working with Russia and Germany to restrengthen the German Republic that was greatly weakened by WWI and the following Treaty of Versailles. The Geneva Group hires the Irish Republican Army to launder some money for them in exchange for weapons that they need for their rebellion against the Irish Free State. Bourke becomes involved with the arms shipments when Winston Churchill, a friend of his father, becomes aware of the arms shipments and asks him to help. Churchill is on a cross-continental train ride through Canada to ultimately meet with President Hoover in California and discuss the arms shipment.
In a sub-plot, the IRA operatives are in search of a set of journals from the leader of the leader of the Irish War of Independence. Bourke has these journals and the IRA group is chasing him for them and in revenge for his work in the Irish War of Independence.
I had to research the history around the plot a bit. I used Wikipedia, so it was not any advanced research. I am familiar with Germany and WWI and WWII, the Treaty of Versailles, etc. The Irish War of Independence stumped me, but I will give a brief summary of the background that ties the stories together.
In 1922, Ireland achieved independence from Great Britain. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was the revolutionary group that achieved independence. Unfortunately, a small group of the rebels opposed to the agreement that made Ireland a free state, opposed the new government, and started the Irish Civil War. To make things confusing, the revolutionary that opposed the new government is also called the IRA. This is the group I heard about in the news when I was a kid who initiated bombings. Anyway, the IRA in this novel that is helping the Geneva Corporation launder money is the breakaway group that started the Irish Civil War. Authors please forgive me, but that was enough history to get me through the plot. The authors are a father-son team. Michael and Benjamin McMenamin are real historians and experts on Churchill.
One interesting side point is that The DeValera Deception takes place in the USA in the 1920s. At first, I did not think twice that the characters were going to cocktail parties, but then I remembered Prohibition. Throughout the novel, the authors make various comments about Prohibition and the foolishness behind it.
The mystery is first-rate. The plot is complex enough to be interesting, but not overwhelming. I really enjoyed it. The forward to The DeValera Deception says that this is the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait to read the next one!