The Second Prison

By Ronan Bennett

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The Second Prison is a spare novel of love, fear, suspicion and violent death, in which men and women grasping for something better find themselves dragged into a world of covert deeds and unacknowledged secrets.

O’Heggerty, shaking and aware that he was being got out of the way, left the room gladly enough. Dec waited until he had gone before flopping into a chair. he ran a finger back and forth across his forehead, then let his arm fall and his head rest against the back of the chair. He stared at the ceiling. It was bad news of course, but I was in no hurry to hear it, no more than Dec was to tell it. Gerry D, not twenty and knowing no difference between good news and bad news – the important thing that something was happening and that he was in the middle of it – said impatiently, with a near-contemptuous glance at Dec, ‘Hughie’s dead. He was shot by the Brits.’
I had know the minute Dec came into the room that Hughie was dead. I had been in his house, only a few months before, when he had come in and clumped into a chair without saying a word. Then, as now, he had stared in silence at the ceiling until Cappy wrung from him that their son, wee Dec, had been hit by a car and was dead.
Gerry D was becoming more impatient. Dec kept his gaze fixed on the ceiling when I asked him where Hughie had been shot.
‘At the dump,’ Gerry D told me when Dec would not answer. ‘Looks like they were waiting on him. They got the M2. The place is swarming with Brits.’
‘What about Maxi?’
‘He ain’t been seen,’ Gerry D replied. ‘He might have been scooped.’
‘Gerry, get your lads out and have a look round for Maxi. If you find him bring him to me or Dec.’
When Gerry D left I said to Dec, ‘Get Cappy to go and see Siobhan. I’ll get Roisin to go and see her as well. I’, going to have to leave the .45 here. You’ll have to fix it with O’Heggerty.’
‘Wipe the dabs off it and put it under the bed or wherever.’
Dec stared at the wall and said drily and numbly, ‘What about Maxi?’

By Ronan Bennett, copyright© Ronan Bennett.

Kane is struggling to find a way out of ‘the second prison’, a way of taking control of his life. But a series of betrayals ensnares him in one man’s obsessions and another’s plans for escape.
Kane is on the verge of abandoning fiercely held loyalties - to people, ideas and places. As every relationship, every choice becomes tainted by deception, Kane is brought to a final betrayal.

The story is set against the backdrop of the Troubles. It provides an insight into the life of a fictional IRA commander and the time he spent in prison, exploring the affect it can have on an individual.

Further Infomation




“Terrific ... thoroughly gripping and well written about a world where few writers dare to venture”
Duncan Campbell

“Ronan Bennett has written a powerful, chilling novel with iron in its soul ... the book heralds the arrival of a fine new literary talent who pours light in dark corners”
Helena Kennedy

“What people will love about this book is what they love about Greene and Le Carre: the pace of this complex and successful moral tale, the lack of banality in all the characters, the encounter they’ll have with the unexpectedly and luminously real”
Thomas Keneally





Hamish Hamilton