reviewed by Cy Wyss
Dancing with Mortality is the story of Harry and Michael. When we first meet Harry, he is a grad student in Dublin, a linguist with a specialty in the Irish language. He is a part-time translator for the British intelligence service (SIS). On the opposing side there is Michael, an IRA man and the only survivor of a special ops raid during a gunrunning mission. Harry and Michael meet twice, both times fleetingly, during the first half of Dancing with Mortality. Once is simply two ships passing in the night; the second time, Harry is gunning for Michael. During the second half, their relationship is quite different.
I liked Dancing with Mortality. The pace is slow but steady and we get to see into Harry’s life in England as well as Dublin. The only problem I had with the book is that the actual action (gunfights, murders) takes place offstage and we only hear about it. This is a relatively minor complaint. The prose is eminently readable, no-nonsense and to-the-point. The characters are well drawn, even relatively minor ones. The settings and descriptions are good, some are even great, such as the descriptions of winter above the arctic circle. All in all, a good read.