Pay the Devil – Jack Higgins

These are some quotes from the book accompanied with my analysis.

  • “Take care for after raising him, it becomes necessary to pay the Devil his due”

In 1865, Ireland struggled under the reign of Aristocrats who were faithful to the kingdom of England. Like French, the Irish peasants tried desperately to establish the Republic of Ireland and they had their reasons for rich men like Sir George Hamilton of Drumore and Hugh Marley of Kileen were shameless tyrants. They owned the cottages inhabited by the farmers and thus were free to impose their own set of maniacal rules. The fees they demanded from the poor Irish exceeded by far their abilities: most of them struggled to make end’s meet and whoever failed to pay the rent was evicted without pity. Furthermore, Hamilton and Marley couldn’t care less about the state of the cottages which were stinky, moist and infest rat holes. Many children died from consumption and other diseases due to the carelessness of the aristocrats who saw Irish men equal to “negroes”. And as if this wasn’t enough, Marley indulged in a sickening habit: he took young away from their families and ruthlessly used them to please himself. In the end, these tyrants must pay for their acts and pay their dues for the atrocities they commited.

  • “No man can stay on the ledge forever”

No man can stay neutral forever after witnessing the horrors of Drumore. Even, Colonel Clay Fitzgerald, who came to Ireland looking for peace after fighting for many years in the American cival war between the south and the Yankees, he will be forced to take sides: either he fights with the peasants or joins Hamilton and his group. Of course, being the protagonist of the story, he chose the good side exposing himself to many dangers and making an alliance with the Rogan family who was funding the republican movement and stood against Sir George Hamilton. In the end, Clay will join the battle where two of the Rogans lost their lives and they manage to kill Hamilton and the bullies he hired to frighten the tenants. What pushed him to choose sides was Joanna Hamilton, the niece of the tyrant. He fell deeply in love with her after seeing that she disagreed with her Uncle’s acts and after she saved him from death.

  • Fate always dealt the last card- that was life. By accepting it, a man saved himself a great deal of pain”

Clay Fitzgerald didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he came to Ireland. He thought he will be spending his days in peace washing the smell of war that stuck to him after fighting for the south. He didn’t know that old habits die hard: he had to try and bring justice to these poor men even though he knew he  was fighting for a loosing front: the Irish won’t get their independence for the mighty kingdom of England would never let that happen, but still he fought and almost got hanged for it. But fate also presented him with the lovely and brave Joanna Hamilton who turned out to be the love of his life. He escaped from America but was forced to go back because the cavalry was looking for him to hang him however he took with him Joanna to live happily ever after.

P.S: Higgins presented the issue of racism in this book: Clay had a black man serving him, but nonetheless, he considered him as a close friend and he even taught him his profession: surgery – Clay studied surgery in France and joined the confederate army as a surgeon.