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Havoc In Its Third Year by Ronan Bennett
Havoc In Its Third Year is set in a northern England town in the 1630s with England on the brink of civil war. Puritanism has taken over the town, with the town's governors meting out violent punishment for all sins, real or imagined. It's a society where every man is ready to find to another in some violation of the strict code, proof of their real religious allegiance. John Brigge is one of the governors and also the town's coroner. He tries to keep his distance by living outside the town, but when he questions whether an Irish woman really killed her baby, he falls under suspicion himself. Betrayed by his closest aide and friend, Brigge finds himself caught in the maelstrom of religious brutality. Ronan Bennett's novel echoes an eerie parallel to modern times, and Havoc In Its Third Year has received positive reviews and a Booker Prize nomination. The Observer says, "Havoc is an accomplished and ambitious work of fiction, regardless of allegorical subtext."