England’s Janissary

Written by Peter James Cottrell
Review by Karen Wintle

Disillusioned by his experiences in the First World War, Kevin Flynn returns to his home in Ireland and takes a post in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Unprepared for what lies ahead, he gets caught up in the bitter struggle between the British forces and the IRA. This is a novel of war, vengeance and romance as Kevin must fight with divided loyalties to protect the woman he loves and save her from the vengeance of the men who call him a traitor – because he has chosen to become one of ‘England’s Janissaries’ (a reference to the Christian children recruited into the Turkish army).

Fictional and real events are woven together to make this a well-thought-out first novel by a military historian. Frequent analogies are made between the First World War and the Troubles in Ireland – both full of horror and violence. Old friends turn into enemies. Seeing the events through different viewpoints, IRA and the British, we are given an all-around picture of the bloody events in the early 1920s in Ireland. I enjoyed this book; it is historically accurate and exciting, and I look forward to reading more by this author.