Declan Burke fled Ireland forty years ago and never looked back. Now settled in New York, he thinks hes put the old country behind him, until he reads the obituary of one Cathal Murphy. The obituary, he sees at once, is not about Murphy at all. It is a coded indictment of Burkes own life. And an announcement of his impending death. Halifax lawyer Monty Collins investigates the obit with its allusions to Burkes IRA past. Collins gets no help from Burke, who good soldier to the end keeps the silence.