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A Novel by Keith Henderson
The Roof Walkers
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The Roof Walkers
Christmas, 1864, in the last years of the civil war, a twenty-year-old Irish Canadian, Eoin O’Donoghue, is newly hired as the personal secretary to the prospective head of the Irish Republican Army in New York, William R. Roberts. Appalled that the mayhem he sees around him is also being planned for his own country, Eoin offers his services to Gilbert McMicken, head of Canada’s secret police. So begins the trajectory of what Eoin himself calls, self-disparagingly, his “Judas informantcy.” Against a backdrop of fusion and collapse, 600,000 Americans dead, one nation, Canada, about to be created, another to its south in disarray, Irish militants plan northward raids to win a “New Ireland” on the continent (its capital, Sherbrooke, QC), to split Ireland itself off from Great Britain, and to avenge reverse, cross-border Southern terror plots hatched in Montreal and approved by Jefferson Davis. Under assumed names, safely housed in the Moffat Mansion on Union Square live the secret, illegitimate twin daughters of James Stephens, IRA leader in Europe. Who will capture Eoin O’Donoghue’s allegiance–his Fenian employer, Deirdre Hopper (Stephens), accomplished painter and musician and daughter of the leader in Dublin, or Canadian spymaster Gilbert McMicken, who regularly insists his protégé provide “less poetry and more police work?”
“The book works most impressively as the painstaking reconstruction of a time that feels alien to our own: a time when seemingly every man on the street had a perspective, a pistol and a pun at the ready, when history was not so set in stone that a motivated man might not affect it.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Oct. 2014
“With a unique narrative approach, Keith Henderson recreates the birth of Canada. Five Stars (out of five).
The Roof Walkers by Keith Henderson an epistolary novel about the birth of Canada, is historical fiction at its best. It not only illuminates a point in time, but wraps its subject in a compelling story of intrigue and passion. Henderson examines that time near the end of the American Civil War when Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s vision of “one great nationality” in a peaceful and united Canada–then a loose confederation of provinces–was anything but a foregone conclusion.”
— Foreword Reviews, Jan. 2014
“The book is a tribute to D’Arcy McGee, and in many ways a companion volume to David Wilson’s highly praised biography of this Father of Confederation. This story will help Canadians realize that McGee was an important visionary and yet a highly pragmatic politician a hundred years ahead of his time. A devout Catholic, McGee realized that his community would do better in Canada than in the USA, Ireland, or Britain. In clear but colourful language, the book brings out why this ideology made this Montreal politician persona non grata to his Fenian murderers…. This is also a very subtle book.”
— Nuacht (Montreal St. Patrick's Society) Sept. 2013
“The Roof Walkers by Keith Henderson takes us to Christmas, 1864, where we meet Irish Canadian Eoin O'Donoghue who has been hired as the personal secretary to the possible head of the Irish Republican Army in New York. When he offers his services to the head of Canada’s secret police, he calls this new path his ‘Judas informantcy.’ There is no end to the trouble that Eoin must choose between with governments colliding and world events happening fast, from assassinations of great men to countries besides the US being torn by war and separations. This is the life that he must live, a reluctant spy trapped in a world of intrigue and change.
— Kathryn Bennett, Readers' Favorite (5 Star Review), May. 2014
Author Keith Henderson
Keith Henderson has published two previous novels, (The Restoration, DC Books, 1994 and The Beekeeper, DC Books, 1990), a collection of political essays from when he was Quebec columnist for the Financial Post (Staying Canadian, DC Books, 1997), and a prize-winning book of short stories (The Pagan Nuptials of Julia, DC Books, 2006). He led a small provincial political party in Quebec during the separatist referendum of 1995 and championed English language rights and the “poison pill” strategy of partitioning Quebec if ever Quebec partitioned Canada, positions covered in full length articles in the Los Angeles and New York Times as well as on CBS 60 Minutes.
The Roof Walkers, Keith Henderson, 280 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, Novel, April, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-897190-96-8 (paper) . . . $21.95
ISBN: 978-1-897190-97-5 Bound*) . . . $36.95
* This book is “perfect bound” with an add-on hand bound cover, no dust jacket.
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