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A cult figure among loyalists, despised and feared by nationalists, Billy "King Rat" Wright is reputed to have been involved in a number of sectarian murders before he himself was shot dead by republican gunmen inside the Maze Prison in 1997. Wright became involved with loyalist paramilitaries at the age of 16, and in the early 1990s he emerged as the UVF commander in the Mid-Ulster area. The Billy Boy documents Wright's role in the Drumcree dispute of 1995-96 and his split from the UVF, recounting how he ignored both a death threat and an order to leave Northern Ireland, only to remain in Portadown and form the Loyalist Volunteer Force. It covers Wright's trial and subsequent imprisonment for a crime it has been claimed was set up by the State; recounts the circumstances of his killing inside a top-security prison; and investigates the allegations of State collusion in Wright's death. Terrifically gripping and often disturbing, The Billy Boy is an exhaustive account of a notorious figure whose life and death were surrounded by controversy and political debate.
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Chris Anderson is a freelance journalist and contributes to numerous newspapers, including the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Life. He lives in Portadown.Review:
"A gripping and provocative read" * Irish Times * "A detailed and chilling account of one of the most infamous characters to emerge from the Troubles" * Eye Spy * "Fascinating" * Tribune *
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