Faber wins ‘gripping' McGreevy's historical investigation in three-way auction

Faber wins ‘gripping' McGreevy's historical investigation in three-way auction

Faber has won a three-way auction for Irish Times journalist Ronan McGreevy's "vivid, pacy" investigation into the assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson.

Associate publisher Laura Hassan acquired world English-language rights, including audio, from Faith O’Grady at the Lisa Richards Agency. Great Hatred is scheduled for May 2022, marking the centenary of the assassination.

On 22nd June, 1922, Wilson—the former professional head of the British Army and one of those credited with playing a significant role in the Allies winning the First World War—was shot and killed by two veterans of that war who became IRA members. It was regarded as the most significant political murder to have taken place on British soil for more than a century. It horrified British society, precipitated a near-collapse of government and triggered the Irish Civil War.

The synopsis reads: “Who ordered the killing? Why would Michael Collins, who had signed a peace treaty with Great Britain just six months earlier, want Wilson dead? Great Hatred is a revelatory work that sheds light on a moment that changed the course of Irish and British history forever.”

Hassan said of the title: "This is absolutely gripping, and first-class narrative history. McGreevy’s vivid, pacy writing coupled with his meticulous research is so impressive and reveals fascinating new material in relation to this turning point in Irish and British history."

Previously working as a television and radio producer with the BBC and Sky News, McGreevy has contributed to the Times, Evening Standard and Irish Post. He was the editor of Was it for This: Reflections on the Easter Rising, an anthology of commentary on the Easter Rising from the pages of the Irish Times, and is the author of two other historical non-fiction titles. He was also the editor of Centenary, the official State book on the Easter Rising commemorations. In 2018 he was the presenter of the full-length documentary "United Ireland: How Nationalists and Unionists Fought Together in Flanders", which was shortlisted for the Imperial War Museum's short film competition.

McGreevy said: "I am delighted that such a prestigious international publisher as Faber has decided to publish this extraordinary story. Wilson was an Irish-born, British imperialist killed by two English-born First World War veterans turned Irish republicans. That one of them had lost a leg at Ypres and was unable to flee the scene is another dimension to this tragic incident. The killing of Wilson was a profound shock to British society. It was also Ireland’s 'Sarajevo moment' [the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which precipitated the First World War], leading six days later to the outbreak of the Irish Civil War—a war which left the bitterest of legacies in Irish society."