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Havoc, in its Third Year by Ronan Bennett








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Havoc, in its Third Year by Ronan Bennett
Published by Bloomsbury in 2004

England in the 1630s: an unsettled country in turbulent times. People are gripped by fear: fear of crime and disorder, of foreign invasion, of Catholic conspiracies, of the vagrant poor. In a town in northern England a group of Puritan reformers tightens its hold on the lives of the inhabitants.

John Brigge is the local coroner, a respected man who wants nothing more than to work his farm and be with his wife, now expecting their first child. But when he is called to investigate an infanticide, Brigge finds himself drawn unwillingly into a vicious power struggle.

Katherine Shay, a fiery Irishwoman, stands accused of killing her baby. The Puritan faction demands her immediate execution. Brigge suspects their haste has little to do with justice. What are they hiding? Does he really want to know? Against a background of looming crisis and paranoia, Brigge is torn between the desire to protect his family and the need to see justice done. And he is haunted by the mystery of Katherine Shay.

‘Powerful, dramatic and utterly gripping, Havoc, In Its Third Year is a superb novel. Its canvas is large, its characters full-blooded, its atmosphere apocalyptic. Like the best historical novels, it vividly captures the period yet resonates with the present.’ Impac Award

‘This powerful historical novel resounds with contemporary significance’ Telegraph

Havoc is Bennett’s best novel to date, and deserves a significant place in the modern canon.’ Paul Taylor, Observer

About the author
Ronan Bennett was brought up in Belfast. He now lives in London.

By the same author
The Second Prison
Overthrown by Strangers
The Catastrophist'

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