The idea for the book came to him after seeing a ruined estate in Drumsna - the novel describes how the clan of the Macdermots (a senile father, Larry, a well-meaning but ignorant son Thady and a vaporous daughter, Feemy) meets it end. It is a tragic book, rare for Trollope, and the gentry is financially not much better off than the peasants. There is a lot of mud in these pages. But it is a lively book, with good dialogue, and the story gradually broadens. It certainly keeps hold of the interest of the reader with its illegal whiskey distillers, a smart captain hunting the distillers who plays the lover to Feemy, a false attorney after the Macdermot property, an elopement and a murder... yes it is a dramatic story, but this first effort is so good that it almost manages to be vintage Trollope.
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