VALHALLA'S WAKE: The IRA, MI6, and the Assassination of a Young American by John & Emily McIntyre Loftus

VALHALLA'S WAKE: The IRA, MI6, and the Assassination of a Young American

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D‚ja vu: A sincere account of the 1984 IRA/Mafia scandal that took young John McIntyre's life and that Peter Maas retold--with minimal acknowledgement--in his powerful novel Father and Son (p. 9). This nonfiction version is by two minor characters in the drama: McIntyre, the mother of the victim, and Loftus (The Belarus Secret, 1982), a family friend who helped unravel the truth behind John's death. Son of spies--John, Sr., was with US Army intelligence while German-born Emily worked with ex-Nazi Reinhard Gehlen's group--John McIntyre grew up into a quirky, rough-and-tumble character, a world-class cryptographer who, after serving time in an Army stockade for drug-dealing, became a fish-poacher and later a drug-smuggler who connected with Joe Murray, Irish head of the Boston mob and the IRA's Boston pointman. Soon, John was crewing the Valhalla, a fishing trawler carrying an enormous shipment of arms to the IRA--only to be intercepted by British intelligence. Back in America, John was arrested and beaten, then questioned by Customs; fed up with Murray, and ambitious to take his place in the IRA, John ratted about the mobster's drug operations. Meanwhile, rumors began to circulate that John had tipped off British Intelligence to the Valhalla's mission. Soon John disappeared with scarcely a trace--a mob victim? an IRA victim? Enter Loftus, who, with Emily and dying dad John, dug out the real story: it was the British who killed John, after setting him up as their fall guy for an agent they had placed within the highest IRA circles--the agent who'd informed on the Valhalla. But Loftus & Co. could prove nothing, so today, while Murray serves time for drug smuggling, an arrest warrant awaits John. Told conscientiously and with admirably muted outrage; but for the full force and passion of this tragic story, read the Maas--despite its several deviations from the literal truth of the tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1989
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown