There Will Be Fire: Margaret Thatcher, the IRA, and Two Minutes That Changed History (Hardcover)
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**A Goodreads Choice Awards Nomination for Best History & Biography**
**An NPR Book We Love**
A race-against-the-clock narrative that finally illuminates a history-changing event: the IRA’s attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher and the epic manhunt that followed.
A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded at 2:54 a.m. on October 12, 1984. It was the last day of the Conservative Party Conference at the Grand Hotel in the coastal town of Brighton, England. Rooms were obliterated, dozens of people wounded, five killed. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in her suite when the explosion occurred; had she been just a few feet in another direction, flying tiles and masonry would have sliced her to ribbons. As it was, she survived—and history changed.
There Will Be Fire is the gripping story of how the IRA came astonishingly close to killing Thatcher, in the most spectacular attack ever linked to the Northern Ireland Troubles. Journalist Rory Carroll reveals the long road to Brighton, the hide-and-seek between the IRA and British security services, the planting of the bomb itself, and the painstaking search for clues and suspects afterward.
In There Will Be Fire, Carroll draws on his own interviews and original reporting, reveals new information, and weaves together previously unconnected threads. There Will Be Fire is journalistic nonfiction that reads like a thriller, propelled by a countdown to detonation.
About the Author
Rory Carroll is a veteran journalist who started his career in Northern Ireland. As a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, he reported from the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Latin American, and the United States. His first book, Comandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, was named an Economist Book of the Year and BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is now based in his native Dublin as the Guardian’s Ireland correspondent.
One of NPR's Best Books
A New York Post Best Book of 2023
“There was no book harder to put down this year than this one… Carroll wrote this book after exhaustive interviews with those directly involved, and he makes it clear how much history would have changed if those two minutes had a different outcome”
“[T]he Brighton case, seen as a police procedural, is quite something.”
—The New Yorker
“Thoroughly reported and thrilling”
—New York Times Book Review
“Intelligent, fast-paced, and compelling, There Will Be Fire propels us into a pivotal moment in the tangled history of England and Ireland, and, with unusual intimacy, reveals its lasting impacts. Combining superb investigative journalism with the hair-raising action of a thriller, Carroll unearths the unexpected legacy of the deadly 1984 Brighton bombing, while exploring deeper themes of warfare, vengeance, and the enduring dream of a united Ireland.”
—Nathalia Holt, author of Rise of the Rocket Girls
“The Brighton bombing of 1984 was arguably the most potent attempt to decapitate the British state since the Gunpowder Plot. Rory Carroll’s brilliant reconstruction combines the heart-stopping intensity of a great thriller with an acute exploration of the political context. This was a moment on which history turned, and Carroll brings it alive for us in all its horror, drama, and humanity.”
—Fintan O’Toole, author of We Don’t Know Ourselves
“In There Will Be Fire, Rory Carroll brilliantly presents a terrifying, violent assassination attempt on British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in excruciating, vivid detail. It was a meticulous plot that shifted history, stunned a country, and forced investigators into a cat-and-mouse game with terrorists determined to send a message. Carroll is gifted at keeping readers on edge as he turns back the clock and forces us to ask so many questions. It’s a true crime story that had an incredible impact.”
—Kate Winkler Dawson, author of All That Is Wicked and American Sherlock and host of the hit podcasts Buried Bones and Tenfold More Wicked
“A must-read! It’s a rare thing indeed when a big, important book penned by an author with an assured literary voice is also a roller coaster of a page-turner—but There Will Be Fire manages to be just that. I can think of no writing that so thoroughly, and so lucidly, examines not only the politics but the human face of the Irish Troubles. Scrupulously researched and perfectly realized, this book stands as a stellar example of what reportage should be.”
—Jeffery Deaver, author of The Never Game and Hunting Time
“A revealing story of an Irish Republican Army bombing against the vast backdrop of Irish history....A lucid history of the Troubles in all its manifold complexities.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“A real-life Day of the Jackal...This is must reading for anyone interested in the history of the Troubles.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Carroll draws on his own interviews and original reporting to weave together a narrative that is engrossing and impactful.“
—The New York Post
“A propulsive thriller that showcases deep research without ever being weighed down by it….[Carroll] captures his subjects with brief, incisive brushstrokes.”