Troubador White Church, Black Mountain

Released: 28/02/2015

eISBN: 9781784628901

Format: eBook

Review this Book

Author Website

White Church, Black Mountain


What links a traumatic childhood secret with the murder of a high-ranking police officer and two young men facing terrorist death threats? In Belfast, Northern Ireland, the fragile Peace Process is still haunted by the crimes of the past. Truth and justice have become the currency through which victim and terrorist alike must purchase their closure regarding the conflict... 

When Detective Inspector Dan?Watson of the Historical Enquiries Team enters an interview room for a routine consultation, he is astonished by the recognition of an eerily familiar face – Eban Barnard, the younger brother of his late partner and mentor Detective Superintendent Alex, who was brutally assassinated by the Provisional IRA twenty years earlier. What Dan learns in that room defies credulity and threatens to open up a Pandora’s Box of secrets that will unhinge the lives of all those involved – and endanger the very peace process itself. 

Based on actual events, and set against the backdrop of a society’s hunger for redemptive catharsis, White Church, Black Mountain is a tightly-constructed, fast-paced novel that follows the dysfunctional life of the misanthropic Eban as he traverses a generation of secrets and lies. Unlike many of the novels about ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland, White Church, Black Mountain is at the forefront of an emerging ‘post-conflict’ canon, considering the legacy of the conflict as it impacts upon those who seek to build a future in its aftermath. Exploring a panoply of themes – including prejudice, corruption, retribution and abiding grace – it will by enjoyed by fans of political thrillers. It can be read in conjunction with Burgess’ latest academic work, The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants (Palgrave Macmillan).

The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants.

ISBN 9781137453938
Publication Date February 2015
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

'Flags', 'Emblems' and 'The Past'; three seemingly insurmountable challenges which continue to hinder the peace process in Northern Ireland. For many, the responsibility for the impasse that scuppered the Haass talks and brought violent protests to the streets of Belfast appears to rest with the perceived intransigence of the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist communities to embrace change. That this community is itself riven with internal rancour and discord should come as no surprise. Issues of social class, denominational alignment, political aspiration and national identity have historically divided what outsiders have often mistakenly viewed as a collective cultural, religious and socio-political entity.

This study explores the statement by Henry McDonald that this is '…the least fashionable community in Western Europe'. A diverse group of contributors including prominent politicians, academics, journalists and artists investigate the reasons informing public perceptions attaching to the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist communities in Ulster.

Be the first to review this book

Thomas Paul Burgess

Dr Thomas Paul Burgess was born, November 1959 in Shankill Road, Belfast Northern Ireland. He is a published academic, novelist and song-writer / musician with his band Ruefrex.

Much of his song writing, poetry, prose writing and academic publication draw on his interest in the Protestant working class community of Belfast and their sense of cultural identity.

He worked in Short Brothers Aircraft manufacturers before leaving to pursue a BA in English Literature at the University of Ulster, under the tutelage of the late Poet, James Simmons. He later attended Oxford University, studying Ethics & Moral Education and University College Cork, where he was awarded a PhD for research into social policy developments in the area of conflict resolution.

He has spent periods, variously as schoolteacher; community relations officer in local government in Northern Ireland; and researcher for The Opsahl Commission of Inquiry into political progress in the Province.

As a songwriter and performer with his band, Ruefrex, he achieved commercial and critical success with the release of seven singles and three albums. Most notable amongst these was the scathing commentary on American funding for Irish Republican violence, ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ which entered the UK top thirty. The British music press - comparing his work to that of Yukio Mishima - described his writing as, “…a line of poetry written in a splash of blood.” and labelled Ruefrex as “…the most important band in Britain” at that time.

The band played a prominent role in cross-community, anti-sectarian ventures and actively lobbied and raised funds for the (religiously) Integrated Education Movement in Northern Ireland.

His first novel, ‘White Church, Black Mountain’ (Matador; ISBN 9781784621612) is a political thriller, dealing with the emerging ‘post-conflict’ society of Northern Ireland and exploring the legacy of ‘the troubles’ and how its residue impacts on those who seek to build a personal and communal future in its aftermath.

He has published a number of academic works dealing with aspects of Education (‘A Crisis of Conscience: - moral ambivalence and education in Northern Ireland’ ISBN 1 85628 4204 ) Social Policy (‘The Reconciliation Industry: - community relations, community identity & social policy in Northern Ireland.’ ISBN 0 7734 70441 ) and Cultural Identity (‘The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants’ ISBN 9781137453938 ) as well as a number of treatises on Youth participation in European civil society.

He lives in Cork, Ireland, where he is Director of Youth & Community Work Studies at The School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork.

The Author

The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants
Also by Thomas Paul Burgess / Related Books