Thirteenth book in the Sister Fidelma series set in 660's A.D. Ireland. Fidelma and Eadulf are beside themselves when the nurse to their baby Alchu is murdered and the baby abducted. At first it is thought that it was a planned abduction for ransom, then possibly a political abduction engineered by enemies to the north. But once Fidelma puts her emotional responses aside and resumes her logical stance and begins to investigate, she wonders if it wasn't a personal attack on the nurse, with Alchu being an unexpected complication. Fidelma and Eadulf also grapple with whether to continue their temporary marriage, as the "year and a day" is fast coming up and they must decide whether to walk away from the arrangement or commit to one another permanently. The stress of Alchu's abduction shows each of them a side to the other previously unseen, and it's unsettling for both of them. I always enjoy a visit to Tremayne's Ireland and it was far too long since my last foray there, so this was a thoroughly enjoyed treat for me. One of my very favorite historical series.
A mystery of ancient Ireland
This book picks up immediately where the previous left off, with the news of the murder of the nurse of Fidelma and Eadulf's son Alchu, who is now missing and feared kidnapped or worse. The only significant clue to the disappearance of their baby is the mysterious leper dwarf that they must now find and question. To complicate matters, Fidelma still has to sort through unresolved feelings of depression that cause her to clash with Eadulf and doubt the wisdom of their remaining together as the year and a day of their trial marriage comes to a close. This is one of the more convoluted mysteries within mysteries that Tremayne has penned, and he keeps the tension ratcheted up high, with the added threat of trouble with warriors of the neighboring kingdom who may have kidnapped the child for political purposes. Fidelma and Eadulf are astute as ever, and I enjoyed that Eadulf was given a bigger role in solving the mystery than he usually has. Tremayne can score another notch on his belt, and I'm looking forward to the next book.
Doing what she's best at - Sister Fidelma manages to garner the few clues and solve the murder.