A Roman Catholic betrays the IRA, Protestant loyalists betray not only each other but the English also, and the English betray everybody they can find in this political action thriller set in today's Northern Ireland. Emerald is the name of the secret organization of Protestant extremists drawn from the professional classes of Ulster. Armed to the teeth, they are led by a retired Anglo. Irish general who seems to be in love with his batman. Drawn into their nasty circle are Pat O'Mara, an IRA hit man who has betrayed the Irish cause, and Ray Moore, a vaguely rotten Protestant businessman. O'Mara and Moore are both involved with Mary McKee, a pretty lady who is getting to be rather sick of The Troubles, But before O'Mara and Moore find out about their shared fancy, they are sent by Emerald to assassinate a Russian spy at a folk-music festival. Innocents that they are, they have no idea that they are but pawns in a greater power struggle within Emerald, where the gay General is fighting off a flank attack from a vindictive politician. But then, neither of those two knows that Emerald has been infiltrated by the dreaded Brits in the person of Sam Wilson, O'Mara's old roommate in Maze Prison. When the General's batman/boyfriend turns up a vial of a quick-acting Alzheimer's virus amongst the dead Russian's effects, Emerald finds itself with the perfect weapon to lay waste the treacherous Anglo-Irish reunification conference. All in all: too many angles, too few sympathies, and not enough thrills in this glum book full of glum and badly behaved people.