In the mid-nineteenth century a group of Irish revolutionaries, known as the Fenians, set out to destroy Britain’s North American empire. Between 1866 and 1871 they launched a series of armed raids into Canadian territory.
In Canadian Spy Story David Wilson takes readers into a dark and dangerous world of betrayal and deception, spies and informers, invasion and assassination, spanning Canada, the United States, Ireland, and Britain. In Canada there were Fenian secret societies in urban areas, including Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, and in some rural townships, all part of a wider North American network. Wilson tells the tale of Irishmen who attempted to liberate their country from British rule, and the Canadian secret police who infiltrated their revolutionary cells and worked their way to the top of the organization. With surprises at every turn, the story includes a sex scandal that nearly brought Canadian spy operations crashing down, as well as reports from Toronto about a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria.
Featuring a cast of idealists, patriots, cynics, manipulators, and liars, Canadian Spy Story raises fundamental questions about state security and civil liberty, with important lessons for our own time.