In November 1917, Victor Lennon receives the summons he has been avoiding for ten years.
While he has been fighting for a communist republic in the Dublin Lockout and Easter Rising, his father has been drinking the family wealth. The dogmatic local bishop Benedict sends for the young man, bringing hardened and cynical politics into a tranquil village. McCann renders 1917 country Ireland well, with simple supporting characters and an undeniably strong sense of community in the village folk of Madden. The key characters, Benedict and Victor, are forcefully and diametrically opposed in their opinions, but have critical flaws of character which render both quite unsympathetic.