Seamus Deane's first novel is a mesmerizing story of childhood set against the violence of Northern Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s. The boy narrator grows up haunted by a truth he both wants and does not want to discover. The matter: a deadly betrayal, unspoken and unspeakable, born of political enmity. As the boy listens through the silence that surrounds him, the truth spreads like a stain until it engulfs him and his family. And as he listens, and watches, the world of legend - the stone fort of Grianan, home of the warrior Fianna; the Field of the Disappeared, over which no gulls fly - reveals its transfixing reality. Meanwhile the real world of adulthood unfolds its secrets like a collection of folktales: the dead sister walking again; the lost uncle, Eddie, present on every page; the family house as cunning and articulate as a labyrinth, closely designed, with someone sobbing at the heart of it. Seamus Deane has created a luminous tale about how childhood fear turns into fantasy and fantasy turns into fact.