If ya don’t know me, I’ll explain that I grabbed this library book for the title alone. I had to see what Ratlines in the context of muh Darling Staggering Rat was all about.
It wasn’t about her. It is crime fiction of the Irish variety, meaning it is couched in the issues of Catholicism, and Britain, and an ignoble past of indifference and some support for the Hitlerian cause against Britain, and of JFK’s visit to Ireland, the first by a head of state in modern times.
At the heart of the book is The Troubles and their successors, THE MORE Troubles, English Protestant dominance, the questions of Northern Ireland, and the Irish Republican Army. The plot centers around the murders of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers who settled in Ireland after World War Two. The government doesn’t like murders, especially before Kennedy’s visit, and brings in soldier Albert Ryan to find the killers, and to stop more murders from happening.
The question of protecting Nazis, as government, policy, is dubious at best. These are real Nazis, men who enjoyed the slaughter, not just working class people following orders or just going along. They deserve to die. Is the new state of Israel behind it? Is it greed for the money the Nazis stole and still control? Is it revenge alone? A moral issue of stopping known bad people from doing more bad things?
The story is complicated by cultures, by history, by personality and by class. It is well conceived, compelling, and interesting. Everyone of course has blood on their hands and the question of what Ireland really stands before is a backdrop of integrity-in-writing, in thought.
The upshot is that, yes, the plot is resolved in the end. And that I liked the book enormously. And that Ratlines (this is no spoiler) are those channels by which Nazis and wealth were smuggled out of Germany from the middle to the end of World War Two. Having been introduced to Mr. Neville by title alone I will now seek him out on the shelves and read more, especially his Dublin Trilogy. Thank you Stuart, Thank you. 1 week ago