The Lightning Bird a novel by Kieran Marsh

What would you do if you loved somebody so much that you were driven to destroy them? Two generations of the Slane family must answer this question, tossed about on the turmoil of one war after another, pursued by the dark power of the Lightning Bird. Jimmy and Maureen fight with the British Army in the Boer war, but evil follows them home from the killing fields of Ladysmith.
Their son Alex fights the same demon, first in the Royal Hibernian Military School, where he kills another boy, but persuades his friend Finn to take the blame, and later mobilised with the British army during the Easter Rising

"He lifted the hurley high, then pulled it forward. It cut the air with an insane whine. Stevenson's jaw burst open in a balloon of teeth and blood. He went down heavily. Alex stood over him and eyed up his exposed temple. Once, twice, three times he brought the sharp back of the hurley down on Stevenson's soft skull till his face was a mass of blood and suppuration."

Finn, meanwhile, fights with the IRB in the GPO along with Alex’s cousin Caer, who has sworn her love to him. Finn is wounded and, when they try to escape, they are nearly killed. Alex rescues them but is labelled a traitor as a result.
The three hide out in bleak west of Ireland, but Alex’s demon draws him into involvement with the IRA, and later, in the heat of violence, he has an affair with Caer, leaving her pregnant
As the war of independence drowns them in bloodletting, they are forced to come to a realisation of themselves and each other.

‘Will you go away with him?’ asked Finn at last.

‘I made a vow to stay with you.’

‘I made a vow to fight for Ireland and look at me now.’

'Do you love him.'

She wanted to say yes but the word stuck in her throat.

'I...I don't know. I did, back then, when he was full of fire and the world was ours.'

The ultimate revelation that Alex’s true mother was a Boer woman who died in a concentration camp drives him to discover things about himself and Caer that finally lead him to destroy himself to save his lover and child.

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

Winston Churchill, fighting with the South Africa Light Horse

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