Death of a King: And Other Stories

A gypsy king dies, and a group of villagers seek to save him from the dishonour of a pauper's grave. The dispute over the inheritance of a well-field becomes a struggle between the 'old stock' and the 'new people' for the very ownership of their town. A terrier pup reveals the truth of the relationship between a poacher and gamekeeper. A deceitful boy and his bullying father are taught a lesson by a schoolteacher. A seasoned drinker subverts the 'dry' policy of a train chartered by a Pioneer pilgrimage. An old man puts on his best suit for his own wake, telling his family he will be dead by nightfall. And a blind woman only truly realizes her blindness when forced to abandon her home. Stories of children, of old people, of enduring friendships and close family ties form the heart of Seamus de Faoite's Death of a King. As fresh as the day they were written, these stories brilliantly celebrate an almost vanished way of life. Here are stonemasons, coopers, barmen and bakers - craftspeople with 'that feeling for the grain in green stone, the vein in sweet timber, the gloss in the hide of dull leather, the white lightness in grey troughs of dough'. Through his skilled ear for the lyrical fire within the rhythms and rapidfire wit of colloquial speech, de Faoite fashions often hilarious tales that illuminate his characters' lives in all their toughness and tenderness. Death of a King features a generous selection of de Faoite's short fiction from The Bell, New Irish Writing, The Irish Press and other periodicals - along with three previously unpublished stories.