Gerry Smyth’s new book argues that modern Irish history encompasses a deep-seated fear of betrayal, and that this fear has been especially prevalent since the revolutionary period at the outset of the twentieth century. The author goes on to argue that the novel is the literary form most apt for the exploration of betrayal in its social, political and psychological dimensions. The significance of this thesis comes into focus in terms of a number of recent developments – most notably, the economic downturn (and the political and civic betrayals implicated therein) and revelations of the Catholic Church’s failure in its pastoral mission. As many observers note, such developments have brought the language of betrayal to the forefront of contemporary Irish life. This book offers a powerful analysis of modern Irish history as regarded from the perspective of some its most incisive minds, including James Joyce, Liam O’Flaherty, Elizabeth Bowen, Francis Stuart, Eugene McCabe and Anne Enright.