This is the first of the Sister Fidelma series which was actually not only my introduction to this series but also my first introduction to this author. This series is set in Ireland around 600 to 700 years after the death of Christ, although Sister Fidelma is a Christian, there are major divisions between the Catholic church in Rome and the church in Ireland, for one thing the church in Ireland is very friendly towards women, woman are not only educated but they can rise quite high in the church. Sister Fidelma is a legally trained scholar and is probably the time's equivalent of a lawyer. An ecclesiastical conclave to settle major divisions between the Roman and Celtic branch of Christianity is held at Whitby in 664. When a major proponent of the Celtic way, the Abbess of Kildare, is murdered, Sister Fidelma, a fellow Celtic follower and legally trained scholar, is asked to investigate. She is paired with her ideological opposite, Brother Eadulf, on the Roman side, who is shrewd, highly educated and immediately smitten with the outspoken sister. Also while solving this puzzle Brother Eadulf is very attracted to Sister Fidelma, now while there were church officials who practiced celibacy, this was actually before that time and priests could marry etc. This was a wonderful book, it's nice to find someone like Sister Fidelma, she is highly intelligent. This book is a great read and I plan on reading some more of this series.
This murder mystery is set against the background of a meeting of church theologians to discuss the differences between the Irish church and the Roman church. Eventually, the Irish view was labelled as the Pelagian heresy, and the Roman view--Augustinianism--prevailed.
I loved this book and hope to read more of the series. I have been reading historical mysteries for a short while and mostly mysteries set in ancient Rome or the US. I have never been exposed to Irish or British history and am fascinated by it. I think the author presented the material in an interesting and flowing style and I am a definite fan of Sister Fidelma now!
Peter Tremayne is an expert in all things Celtic, the author of over 20 books, so he brings much authority to his Sister Fidelma series, set in 7th century Ireland. This is a classic police procedural who-dun-it with Sister Fidelma and her sidekick Brother Eadulf solving the murders. Do not read for subtle characterization or for clever or tricky plotting. Read for the local color and discover how the Irish saved civilization while her neighbors lived in the Dark Ages.
A bit slow to start up, but a great read for 7th century Celtic civilization. Respect given to educated women at that time makes you wonder whatever happened over the next centuries. Stay with it and this book will certainly grow on you. So much background must be given to describe the life of the time! Thoroughly enjoyable.
Great discovery! This is number one in a series of 15 or more. I love mysteries, Ireland and history and this series has all that. The author is a historian and his books are both educational and entertaining. Brings the 7th century alive.
Overall an OK read - took me about 50 pages to get into - the beginning was a bit confusing with all the old irish names and the introduction of what seemed like a million characters with similar looking/sounding names. Finally, you figure out which ones you are supposed to pay attention to that are central to the plot. I found the dialog a bit stilted, perhaps he is trying to convey a different manner of speech, but it was distracting. And there were a few annoying phrases - like "he grimaced indifferently" - how does one do that? The author used this phrase a few times and I was frustrated because to grimace means you are not indifferent, you are disgusted and unhappy about something...Anyway, just a pet peeve...
The plot was fine, I had it figured out a while before the "reveal" - I am going to read the next book in the series and see how that goes. If it is similar to this one, I probably won't continue with the series. They are not as enjoyable as the Brother Cadfael mysteries.