An Eye for an Eye is a novel by Anthony Trollope written between 13 September and 10 October 1870, but held back from publication until August 1878 when serialization began in the Whitehall Review. Publication in the form of a two volume novel was timed to coincide with the issue of the final serialized episodes in January 1879. It is one of five novels which Trollope set mainly in Ireland, although much of the story takes place at Scroope Manor in Dorsetshire, the ancestral home of the ageing Earl of Scroope. Plot summary: Fred Neville, a lieutenant of cavalry and heir to the earldom of Scroope, woos and then seduces the beautiful Kate O'Hara. Kate lives with her mother in genteel poverty in an isolated cottage near the cliffs of Moher in western Ireland. News of the romantic entanglement quickly reaches Scroope Manor, and Fred is summoned back to Dorsetshire where the earl extracts a firm undertaking that Fred will not marry Kate O'Hara under any circumstances, despite any promises he has made to the girl. Once back in Ireland, Fred is confronted at his barracks by Mrs. O'Hara, demanding to know when he intends to marry her daughter, who is carrying his baby. He is shamed into agreeing to visit Kate, but that evening word arrives that the old Earl has died, and that Fred is now the Earl of Scroope. Fred realizes that marriage to Kate O'Hara is out of the question as her background would make her quite unacceptable in society. He resolves to confront Mrs. O'Hara and her unfortunate daughter. The climax of the novel takes place between the young earl and Mrs. O'Hara on the cliffs above the cottage. Whilst acknowledging the promises he made to Kate, Fred steadfastly refuses to make her Countess of Scroope. A frenzied Mrs. O'Hara attacks the lord, driving him backwards over the cliff edge to his death. Realizing she has killed the man her daughter loves, she instantly falls insane. Fred Neville's brother, Jack, inherits the earldom and pays for Mrs. O'Hara's incarceration in an English mental asylum where she endlessly repeats the words "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Is it not the law?" Anthony Trollope ( 24 April 1815 - 6 December 1882) was an English novelist of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters. Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he had regained the esteem of critics by the mid-20th century.
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) grew up in London. He inherited his mother's ambition to write and was famously disciplined in the development of his craft. His first novel was published in 1847 while he was working in Ireland as a surveyor for the General Post Office. He wrote series of books set in the English countryside as well as those set in the political life, works that show great psychological penetration. One of his greatest strengths was his ability to re-create in his fiction his own vision of the social structures of Victorian England. The author of forty-seven novels, he was one of the most prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era.