Maas' second novel--a densely plotted, high-strong thriller of Irish and Irish-American political passions--proves far less cynical than his first (Made in America, 1979) and fully as gripping as his popular nonfiction (Serpico, The Valachi Papers, King of the Gypsies). Ireland itself--split, yearning to be unified--is the real hero here, given microcosmic flesh in the intense father-son bond of apolitical ad-exec Michael McGuire and his idealistic son, Jamie. In a long setup, Maas limns the growth of that bond--the halcyon years of Jamie's childhood, the bitter death of his mom--against a deftly sketched backdrop of IRA heroisms and pro-IRA/Irish-American manipulations. Backdrop and actors twine when, like Ireland itself, the McGuires find themselves rent by political tension as Jamie, now a pro-IRA Harvard student, is approached by the IRA. Will he crew a ship owned by Irish-American mafia boss Tommy Ahearn that's ferrying stolen arms to the IRA? He will--only to fund himself in fatal waters when the shipment is intercepted by the British: in order to protect the IRA fink who ratted on the shipment, an amoral MI5 operative sets up Jamie as the fall guy by letting false word slip out through the FBI and State that the leak came from America. Fearing exposure, Ahearn has Jamie drowned. A call for help from Jamie's girlfriend brings McGuire, Sr., on the run to Cambridge--and onto a long, bloody trail that takes him to ravaged Belfast, to an isolated cabin in the New Hampshire woods where he extracts a blood revenge, and to a US attorney's office where his wrath engulfs the bureaucrats who set up his son. Maas' deep sympathy for Ireland--and, clearly, for the IRA--empower this novel with a sterling conviction that fills in the structural cracks between the fitfully overwrought plot of McGuire's vengeance and the astonishingly vibrant Irish/Irish-American backdrop. Full of crackling suspense, high drama, and photo-sharp local Irish and Irish-American color, this is polemical storytelling at its most dynamic--and another likely big seller for its talented author.