Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Lit
ISBN: 9781590179291
Pages: 824
Publication Date: April 5, 2016

The Tenants of Time

by Thomas Flanagan

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Volume 2 of Thomas Flanagan’s Irish History Trilogy 

The second volume of Thomas Flanagan’s best-selling Irish-history trilogy (which begins with The Year of the French and closes with The End of the Hunt) is set at the turn of the twentieth century, though its action revisits the thrilling revolutionary period of nearly half a century earlier. It is 1904 and the young historian Patrick Prentiss is visiting rural Kilpeder to research the townspeople’s rebellion during the 1867 Fenian Rising. Drawn into the events of that turbulent year by the intimate narration of the survivors, Prentiss discovers the struggles of the Irish nationalist movement refracted in the lives of those who participated in the failed revolt and its aftermath.

The Tenants of Time is available as an e-book only. There is no print edition of this title at this time.

Thomas Flanagan


The Tenants of Time is a masterful historical novel, a rich tapestry of Irish life in the 19th Century, and it is also a novel about the processes of history.... Flanagan has made a moment in history come alive for us with vividness that is inspiring.
—Digby Diehl, The Los Angeles Times

The Tenants of Time seems to me to be not only one of the best novels I’ve read in a long while, but also one of the best historical novels any one of us has produced.... Personal life as well as political life emerges in these pages with the urgency and appeal of any good contemporary fiction; and we get the additional pleasure, if pleasure it is, of seeing that the love affairs, both honest and duplicitous, dramatize the major motifs of the novel—the mysterious ways in which real life turns into romance and how romance becomes as true as murder and the land.
—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune

The novel beautifully integrates the lives of its fictional characters with a striking depiction of the historical circumstances that motivated rebellion against the Crown. Flanagan’s portrayal of the texture of Irish society illuminates the roots of perennial conflict.
Publishers Weekly

A model of historical fiction.
Library Journal

The wonder of this novel is that, far from making us struggle to recall the past, it puts us at one with the tenants of Time. We are by the end thrust into history.
—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times Book Review

Flanagan’s story truly belongs to McMahon, a nonrevolutionary temperament caught up in a violent struggle. It is primarily McMahon’s quiet-man view from the sidelines that balances the central historical act here—an arms raid on the local garrison—with personal observation, wry humor and, of course, a touch of the blarney.
Kirkus Reviews

[A] powerful story.... Some of it is wildly funny, much is beautiful and more is brutal...every sentence seems to this vivid world we find ourselves suffering and rejoicing.... Even as we wholeheartedly agree with [Flanagan’s] characters that the true history of the times cannot be written, we are aware that he has just done it, in a work of fiction, this work of fiction.
—George Garrett, The New York Times