The Year of the French, by Thomas Flanagan. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. $3.75.

This historical novel, set in Ireland, combines a scholar's research with both wit and imagination. The year is 1798. In a bleak, poor, northwest corner of Ireland, revolution is brewing. French forces arrive, and, for reasons having little to do with freedom, choose to side with the Irish. Flanagan's characters are vitally alive and robust, and their lives carefully interwoven as they are introduced into the story.

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