Cathedral, p.1Nelson DeMille
“From the beginning … until the final chapters when you find yourself frantically turning pages, it’s truly impossible to lay aside CATHEDRAL.”
—Dallas Times Herald
“TOO TRUE TO LIFE FOR COMFORT … ENTERTAINS…. The writing is crisp, terse, and highly realistic.”
—New York Daily News
“There ought to be a law against Nelson DeMille. CATHEDRAL held me spellbound for three solid days…. It’s better than By the Rivers of Babylon by a long margin—and I can’t think of higher praise than that. In short, it’s a masterwork.”
—Harrison E. Salisbury
“THOROUGHLY CREDIBLE AND ABSOLUTELY ABSORBING…. Motivation, characterization, and plotting are all exceptional…. Will keep readers engrossed till the final page.”
—United Press International
“DAZZLING…. No one writing about the current Irish troubles has been so successful in getting inside the personality of the character of the Irish-Americans…. As for suspense, I’ll never walk by St. Paddy’s again without wondering whether there’s a sniper in the bell tower.”
—Andrew M. Greeley
“CHILLINGLY BELIEVABLE, PEOPLED WITH REC OGNIZABLE CHARACTERS…. CATHEDRAL ENTERTAINS WITH THE UNIMAGINABLE.”
“A RIVETING SUSPENSE NOVEL … vivid characterizations … a perfect blending of plot and people.”
—Robert J. Serling, author of The President’s Plane Is Missing
“THE MOST FRIGHTENING THING ABOUT THIS STORY IS THAT IT AT NO TIME SEEMS IMPLAUSIBLE.”
“STRONG, LONG, WELL-SUSTAINED SUSPENSE…. A CHAOTIC, EXPLOSIVE FINALE.”
“GRIPPING … SUSPENSEFUL…. I was engrossed from beginning to end.”
—Walter Murphy, author of
The Vicar of Christ
“A THRILLER OF THE FIRST ORDER…. Telescopes a few hours and a lifetime of emotions to create an hour-by-hour countdown to the climax…. Powerful tensions so skillfully built from beginning to end, they stretch the reader taut…. Highly recommended.”
“A RETURN TO THE CLASSIC THRILLER.”
“TIMELY, TAUT, AND TERRIFYING … relentlessly gripping and vivid (5-stars—highest rating).”
—West Coast Review of Books
“EXCITING, SUSPENSEFUL, AND CAN EASILY BE CATEGORIZED AS A PAGE-TURNER.”
“A REAL NAIL-BITER OF A SUSPENSE NOVEL.”
“THE SUSPENSE IS RELENTLESS AND GRIPPING … A WINNER.”
Books by Nelson DeMille
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON
THE TALBOT ODYSSEY
WORD OF HONOR
THE CHARM SCHOOL
THE GOLD COAST
THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER
For Lauren, age three,
an old hand at the alphabet,
newly arrived in the world
Lyrics from “Danny Boy” by F. E. Watherley: © 1918 by Boosey & Co.; Renewed 1945. Reprinted by permission of Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Lines from “The Men Behind the Wire” from SONGS OF STRUGGLE AND PROTEST edited by John Donnell, published by Gilbert Dalton Limited, Co., Dublin, Ireland.
CATHEDRAL. Copyright © 1981 by Nelson DeMille. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
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First eBook Edition: June 2002
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EXTRAORDINARY PRAISE For NELSON DEMILLE’S CATHEDRAL
BOOKS BY NELSON DEMILLE
BOOK I: NORTHERN IRELAND
Book II: New York
BOOK III: THE PARADE
BOOK IV: THE CATHEDRAL: SIEGE
BOOK V: ASSAULT
BOOK VI: MORNING, MARCH 18
I wish to thank the following people for their editorial help, dedication, and above all, patience: Bernard and Darlene Geis, Joseph Elder, David Kleinman, Mary Crowley, Eleanor Hurka, and Rose Ann Ferrick. And very special thanks to Judith Shafran, to whom this book would have been dedicated had she not been an editor and therefore a natural enemy of authors, albeit a noble and forthright one.
For their expertise and technical assistance I’d like to thank Detective Jack Lanigan, NYPD, Retired; and Michael Moriarty, Carm Tintle, and Jim Miller, Seanachies.
The following organizations have provided information for this book: The New York Police Department Public Information Office; The St. Patrick’s Parade Committee; The 69th Infantry, NYARNG; Amnesty International; the Irish Consulate, the British Consulate; and the Irish Tourist Board.
There were other individuals and organizations who gave of their time and knowledge, providing colorful threads of the narrative tapestry presented here, and to them—too numerous to mention—I express my sincere appreciation.
And finally, I want to thank The Little People, who refrained, as much as could be hoped, from mischief.
Regarding places, people, and events: The author has learned that in any book dealing with the Irish, literary license and
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York has been described with care and accuracy. However, as in any work of fiction, especially in one set in the future, dramatic liberties have been exercised in some instances.
The New York police officers represented in this novel are not based on real people. The fictional hostage negotiator, Captain Bert Schroeder, is not meant to represent the present New York Police Department Hostage Negotiator, Frank Bolz. The only similarity shared is the title of Hostage Negotiator. Captain Bolz is an exceptionally competent officer whom the author has had the pleasure of meeting on three occasions, and Captain Bolz’s worldwide reputation as innovator of the New York Plan of hostage negotiating is well deserved. To the people of the city of New York, and especially to the people whose lives he’s been instrumental in saving, he is a true hero in every sense of the word.
The Catholic clergy represented in this work are not based on actual persons. The Irish revolutionaries in this novel are based to some extent on a composite of real people, as are the politicians, intelligence people, and diplomats, though no individual character is meant to represent an actual man or woman.
The purpose of this work was not to write a roman à clef or to represent in any way, favorably or unfavorably, persons living or dead.
The story takes place not in the present or the past but in the future; the nature of the story, however, compels the author to use descriptive job titles and other factual designations that exist at this writing. Beyond these designations there is no identification meant or intended with the public figures who presently hold those descriptive job titles.
Historical characters and references are for the most part factual except where there is an obvious blend of fact and fiction woven into the story line.
Now that I’ve learned a great deal about Northern Ireland, there are things I can say about it: that it’s an unhealthy and morbid place, where people learn to die from the time that they’re children; where we’ve never been able to forget our history and our culture—which are only other forms of violence; where it’s so easy to deride things and people; where people are capable of much love, affection, human warmth and generosity. But, my God! How much we know how to hate!
Every two or three hours, we resurrect the part, dust it off and throw it in someone’s face.
Northern Irish peace
activist and winner of
the Nobel Peace Prize
“The tea has got cold.” Sheila Malone set down her cup and waited for the two young men who sat opposite her, clad in khaki underwear, to do the same.
The younger man, Private Harding, cleared his throat. “We’d like to put on our uniforms.”
Sheila Malone shook her head. “No need for that.”
The other man, Sergeant Shelby, put down his cup. “Let’s get done with it.” His voice was steady, but his hand shook and the color had drained from under his eyes. He made no move to rise.
Sheila Malone said abruptly, “Why don’t we take a walk?”
The sergeant stood. The other man, Harding, looked down at the table, staring at the scattered remains of the bridge game they’d all passed the morning with. He shook his head. “No.”
Sergeant Shelby took the younger man’s arm and tried to grip it, but there was no strength in his hand. “Come on, now. We could use some air.”
Sheila Malone nodded to two men by the fire. They rose and came up behind the British soldiers. One of them, Liam Coogan, said roughly, “Let’s go. We’ve not got all day.”
Shelby looked at the men behind him. “Give the lad a second or two,” he said, pulling at Harding’s arm. “Stand up,” he ordered. “That’s the hardest part.”
The young private rose slowly, then began to sink back into his chair, his body trembling.
Coogan grasped him under the arms and propelled him toward the door. The other man, George Sullivan, opened the door and pushed him out.
Everyone knew that speed was important now, that it had to be done quickly, before anyone’s courage failed. The sod was wet and cold under the prisoners’ feet, and a January wind shook water off the rowan trees. They passed the outdoor privy they had walked to every morning and every evening for two weeks and kept walking toward the ravine near the cottage.
Sheila Malone reached under her sweater and drew a small revolver from her waistband. During the weeks she had spent with these men she had grown to like them, and out of common decency someone else should have been sent to do it. Bloody insensitive bastards.
The two soldiers were at the edge of the ravine now, walking down into it.
Coogan poked her roughly. “Now, damn you! Now!”
She looked back toward the prisoners. “Stop!”
The two men halted with their backs to their executioners. Sheila Malone hesitated, then raised the pistol with both hands. She knew she would hit only their backs from that range, but she couldn’t bring herself to move closer for a head shot. She took a deep breath and fired, shifted her aim, and fired again.
Shelby and Harding lurched forward and hit the ground before the echo of the two reports died away. They thrashed on the ground, moaning.
Coogan cursed. “Goddamn it!” He ran into the ravine, pointed his pistol at the back of Shelby’s head, and fired. He looked at Harding, who was lying on his side. Frothy blood trickled from his mouth and his chest heaved. Coogan bent over, placed the pistol between Harding’s wideopen eyes, and fired again. He put his revolver in his pocket and looked up at the edge of the ravine. “Bloody stupid woman. Give a woman a job to do and …”
Sheila Malone pointed her revolver down at him. Coogan stepped backward and tripped over Shelby’s body. He lay between the two corpses with his hands still held high. “No! Please. I didn’t mean anything by it. Don’t shoot!”
Sheila lowered the pistol. “If you ever touch me again, or say anything to me again … I’ll blow your fucking head off!”
Sullivan approached her cautiously. “It’s all right now. Come on, Sheila. We’ve got to get away from here.”
“He can find his own bloody way back. I’ll not ride with him.”
Sullivan turned and looked down at Coogan. “Head out through the wood, Liam. You’ll pick up a bus on the highway. See you in Belfast.”
Sheila Malone and George Sullivan walked quickly to the car waiting off the lane and climbed in behind the driver, Rory Devane, and the courier, Tommy Fitzgerald.
“Let’s go,” said Sullivan.
“Where’s Liam?” asked Devane nervously.
“Move out,” said Sheila.
The car pulled into the lane and headed south toward Belfast.
Sheila drew from her pocket the two letters the soldiers had given her to mail to their families. If she were stopped at a roadblock and the Royal Ulster Constabulary found the letters … She opened the window and threw her pistol out, then let the letters sail into the wind.
Sheila Malone jumped out of her bed. She could hear motors in the street and the sounds of boots against the cobbles. Residents of the block were shouting from windows, and trash-can lids were being beaten to sound the alarm. As she began pulling her slacks on under her nightdress her bedroom door crashed open, and two soldiers rushed in without a word. A shaft of light from the hall made her cover her eyes. The red-bereted paratroopers pushed her against the wall and ripped the slacks from around her legs. One of them raised her nightdress over her head, and then ran his hands over her body, searching for a weapon. She spun and swung her fists at him. “Get your filthy hands …”
One of the soldiers punched her in the stomach, and she doubled over and lay on the floor, her nightdress gathered up around her breasts.
The second soldier bent down, grabbed her long hair, and dragged her to her feet. He spoke for the first time. “Sheila Malone, all I’m require
The two soldiers pushed her into the hall, down the stairs, and into the street, which was filled with shouting people. Everything passed in a blur as she was half-carried to the intersection where the trucks were parked. Voices called insults at the British soldiers and the Royal Ulster Constabulary who were assisting them. A boy’s voice shouted, “Fuck the Queen.” Women and children were crying, and dogs were barking. She saw a young priest trying to calm a group of people. An unconscious man, his head bloodied, was dragged past her. The soldiers picked her up and threw her into the back of a small truck filled with a dozen other prisoners. An RUC guard stood at the front of the truck, fondling a large truncheon. “Lie down, bitch, and shut your mouth.”
She lay down by the tailgate and listened to her own breathing in the totally silent truck. After a few minutes the gates of the truck closed and it pulled away.
The guard shouted above the noise of the convoy. “The Pope is a fucking queer.”
Sheila Malone lay against the tailgate, trying to calm herself. In the dark truck some men slept or were unconscious; a few were weeping. The guard kept up an anti-Catholic tirade until the truck stopped and the tailgate swung open, revealing a large, floodlit enclosure surrounded by barbed wire and machine-gun towers. Long Kesh, known to the Catholics of Northern Ireland as Dachau.
A soldier shouted into the truck, “Clear out! Quick! Move it!”
A few men scrambled over and around Sheila, and she heard the sounds of blows, shouts, and cries as the men left the truck. A voice cried out, “Take it easy, I’m an old man.” A young boy clad in pajamas crawled over her and tumbled to the ground. The RUC guard was kicking everyone toward the tailgate now, like a trash man sweeping the floor of his truck clean at the dump. Someone pulled her out by her legs, and she fell on the soft, wet earth. She tried to stand but was knocked down.
Cathedral by Nelson DeMille / Thrillers & Crime / Mystery & Detective / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes