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: The Kindness of Strangers is an anti-war novel set during the Irish War of Independence. It is a follow-up to Murphy’s controversial book The Year of Disappearances (Gill and Macmillan, 2010), his groundbreaking historical account of civilian killings in Cork during the conflict. This took as its starting point the operation of an IRA death squad outside Cork city whose job it was to make sure enemies of the Republic were to disappear and never be seen again. The Kindness of Strangers describes what it was like to be part of this squad, who ran an underground prison, a vault in a graveyard which they called ‘Sing Sing’, in which prisoners were held before being executed and buried. Seen through the eyes of its most vulnerable member and closely based on historical accounts, this is a harrowing tale of midnight killings and casual brutality. It is an intimate account of secret executions and the grim reality of war. Though its subject matter is man’s inhumanity to man, the book is saved from the bleakness of its subject matter by the quality of the writing and by the decency of its main protagonist, a boy clearly out of his depth in the world he is now inhabiting. This is a novel on the tragedy of war.