4 JANUARY 1930, Page 33

FORTY-ONE. A Romance by Alan Downey (Duffy, Dublin, 5s.).—Ireland has

lacked a Walter Scott and its picturesque and chequered ages of romance have been left to the his- torians. Mr. Alan Downey's historical romance of the events which led to the Great Rebellion of 1641 is, therefore, a wel- come change for the better in Irish fiction. His method is modern, for he avoids tedious explanation, and presents his period by vivid characters and exciting events. We see aristocratic Gaelic households in Connaught : we consort with grim Puritans in the narrow Elizabethan streets of walled Dublin. There are glimpses, too, of the Spanish Wars in the Netherlands. Owen Roe O'Neill, the famous leader of the Rebellion, Lord Chichester, Sir William Parsons, and other historical personages, live again in these pages. Mr. Downey's power of characterisation is shown in his study of Lady MacMahon, daughter of the great Earl of Tyrone, who made a second marriage to save the patrimony of her son, Hugh MacMahon. Hugh MacMahon returns from Antwerp, embittered by the mistaken belief that his mother has betrayed his cause. His exciting adventures and tragic betrayal are the theme of the novel, and there is a pretty love romance.