Guest Review from Lovely Bryan – The Twelve by Stuart Neville










The Twelve  - Guest review by Lovely Treez’s OH, Lovely Bryan


Synopsis from –

“Former paramilitary killer Gerry Fegan is haunted by his victims, twelve souls who shadow his every waking day and scream through every drunken night. Just as he reaches the edge of sanity they reveal their desire: vengeance on those who engineered their deaths. From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen, all must pay the price.

When Fegan’s vendetta threatens to derail Northern Ireland’s peace process and destabilise its fledgling government, old comrades and enemies alike want him gone. David Campbell, a double agent lost between the forces of law and terror, takes the job. But he has his own reasons for eliminating Fegan; the secrets of a dirty war
should stay buried, even if its ghosts do not. Set against the backdrop of a post-conflict Northern Ireland struggling with its past, THE TWELVE takes the reader from the back streets of Belfast, where violence and politics go hand-in-hand, to the country’s darkest heart.”


Before I met the Lovely Treez, I was a real man, I didn’t read books.  Now, no doubt due to LT’s example, I do read and feel none the less manly for it!  Although my annual literary consumption probably only matches the erudite Lovely Lady’s weekly book diet.

 As a 44 year old Belfastian, I feel generationally close to the main character, Gerry Fegan.  I lived through and well remember many of the events and atrocities mentioned.  I know the locations and can identify the politicians, community leaders and hoods upon which some of the fictional characters are drawn.  I’m proud that the author, Stuart Neville is a local man whose novel is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  For these reasons, my experience of the book is skewed and unavoidably different from that of, say a New Yorker or a Londoner or even someone from the other tribe here in Northern Ireland but I believe this book can work for everyone interested in the genre.

The novel is written from Gerry Fegan’s perspective and the reader’s intimacy with this cold blooded killer occasionally brings an uncomfortable sympathy but this is part of the appeal, it takes you out of your comfort zone, you’re not in South Belfast any more!  That this book and others are written about Northern Ireland’s “troubles” is very positive and shows that times have changed and we have moved on.

It’s a great read, I enjoyed it immensely and heartily recommend it to both Protestants  and Catholics ;-).  Well done Stuart!  Better than The 11, not as good as The 13!

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  1. kimbofo says:

    Excellent review! As you know, I’m planning on reading this for my Northern Ireland season next month, but you’ve given me a great idea: I should give it to my Other Half to review (43 y.o. Dubliner) and see if your opinions match up!

  2. admin says:

    Great idea, esp as they are close in age. So, do you think I should give OH a job reviewing for me? He will be pleased to get some positive feedback, it took some persuading to get him to do this! ;-)

  3. kimbofo says:

    Well Mr Reading Matters still owes me a review for “Hector and the Search for Happiness” which he eagerly ate up three months or so ago… so I won’t hold my breath and ask him to review a second! LOL!

  4. admin says:

    Bribery, fluttering of eyelashes???

  5. SazzyMCH says:

    Well done LB! LT is indeed a good influence :) I really really like the sound of this…….

  6. admin says:

    Sarah, it’s called Ghosts of Belfast on your side of the pond – off to reserve at the library?

  7. SazzyMCH says:

    I think I may do – I’ll need to write it down so I can do it after our holiday!

  8. [...] husband, the Lovely Bry reviewed Stuart Neville’s debut novel The Twelve here last year.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to read it as it was lent out to [...]

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