James Carroll's sweeping novel tells the life story of Colman Brady, taking us from his wedding day in 1920s Ireland and his participation with Michael Collins in the Irish Rebellion, to his move to America and his position as right-hand man to James Michael Curley in Boston. The characters are so well drawn that the reader cares about them and becomes absorbed in their lives, not even realizing that he or she is learning history in the process. We see the inner workings of Boston's local politics, the intrigues of the members of the Boston Mafia, and the powerful Kennedy political machine, all through the eyes of Colman Brady. The narrative is complex but so well written that the reader is never bored for an instant. James Carroll is a masterful writer. I read voraciously, and I've rarely been this impressed by an author. I'll be looking for more of his works. Please do yourself a favor and read this book. You'll be very glad you did.