Pay The Devil - Jack Higgins

After the Civil War, Confederate Col. Clay Fitzgerald escapes to Ireland. But Ireland is embroiled in a civil war of its own--the Fenian Rebellion. Clay wants to avoid the conflict, but after witnessing the plight of the common people, Clay is unable to stand by. Taking the guise of a legendary outlaw, he wages a new rebellion of his own...





Though I've heard that Higgins is a well-known novelist, I was not familiar with his work prior to picking up this book, which I picked up and quickly finished in about 2 days flat. I figured once I read about a bad guy getting shot in the face within the first 5 pages, I was in for an action-packed adventure! This was just a good, fun story all around! A real treat for a history nerd like me (sure, it's not fact heavy, really the Civil War is just used as a starting setting, but I liked the escapism within a historical fiction setting).

Col. Clay Fitzgerald is a surgeon, originally from Georgia, who works his way up into a Confederate officer position, doing double duty as an Army medic and a leader of men. Once the war ends, Fitzgerald finds all his family is dead, all his property destroyed except for one ancestral estate in Ireland. Having no other immediate plans, he goes to Ireland with the intention of getting some peace & quiet in the Irish countryside after living through such a gruesome war. Unfortunately, he finds that he's really only traded one battlefield for another when he sees the class war ( nobility vs. peasants) working up to a fever pitch in Ireland. He repeatedly says "I'm not getting involved, not taking sides" but that only works for so long before he does take a stand and things.go.down.

The characters are pretty clear cut -- the bad are definitely bad, the good are witty, lovable, and strong in character. All are entertaining with good banter throughout the story. I don't want to give too much of the story away but there were parts here and there that somewhat reminded me of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. I flew through this story so I will definitely be checking out more of Higgins' work!