In AD 664 King Oswy of Northumbria has convened a synod at Whitby to hear debate between the Roman and Celtic Christian Churches and decide which shall be granted primacy in his kingdom. At stake is much more than a few disputed points of ritual; Oswy's decision could affect the survival of either Church in the Saxon kingdoms.
When the Abbess Etain, a leading speaker for the Celtic Church, is found murdered, suspicion falls upon the Roman faction. In order to diffuse the tensions that threaten to erupt into civil war, Oswy turns to Sister Fidelma of the Celtic Church (Irish and an advocate for the Brehon Court) and Brother Eadulf of the Roman Church (from East Anglia and of a family of hereditary magistrates) to find the killer. But as further murders occur, and a treasonous plot against Oswy matures, Fidelma and Eadulf soon find themselves running out of time.
©1994 Peter Tremayne (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Finding Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma mysteries appearing in the New Releases list in a great big bunch over a period of only a few days, I was curious. So I looked Peter Tremayne up on StopYou'reKillingMe, found out which was the first book, and listened to a segment on Audible. I was pulled right in by the story, and by Caroline Lennon's narration. The perfect match. Having listened to the first, and finding that Audible seems to have all of them, I'm a very happy camper! I think that this series of mysteries set in 7th century Europe (mostly Ireland???) would very likely appeal to Brother Cadfael fans and cozy mystery fans. I'm getting the next few books today!
Very good historica mystery with compellin intriug. Strong distinct cherecters. The author has a tendancy to emphasize lesser known facts about church history, like priests could merry and monks lived in co-ed monasteries. I am a church history fanatic so I loved the historical and theological detail, though i ca imagine that it mighty be boring for some. The reader has a lovely irish acent and obviously practiced her latin and unfamilliar words.
How do the characters in this medieval mystery express themselves? When they aren't doing it with their violet and green eyes, it is more likely with their lips. I lost count of how many times and how many characters "bit his" or "bit her lips" but craved to hear more of his/her thoughts or fuller description of his/her appearance. First published over 20 years ago, the time has long passed that an editor should have helped shape the mostly wooden characters or wimpy plot into something fuller ... but I was still seduced by the opportunity in fiction to learn something of this time period of history. Audible produced the recording presumably to fill a gap in the full, long series. This is the first that I "read" and I see that later books in the series get more positive reviews .... Maybe I'll give it another try, but fellow readers beware ...
I have read all of the Sister Fidelma series, but hearing them brings them to life for me.
Great job especially with the Irish word.
I would like to, but couldn't
Peter Tremayne has developed a wonderful character in Sister Fidelma, and depicted very vividly the setting and situation of the time period. Great storyline with plenty of twists and turns.
Even though I was intrigued by the setting and the period detail in this book, this story would have moved much faster if details and facts were not constantly repeated. I was so tired of hearing about Sister Fedelma's bright green eyes that I was ready to poke them out. I also tired of, and was annoyed by, the constant sexual undertones of the religious characters. While during this period there were mixed religious houses where both men and women lived, from what else I have read it seems men and women did not regularly "cohabitate" as described by the author but lived in separate quarters. When first introduced to Sister Fedelma, both female Abbessess in the story comment on her figure and her looks. I didn't realize that medieval nuns wore such form fitting habits that their figures were so easily judged. The main characters spend more time thinking about sex and the opposite sex than to about religion or praying. In fact, I don't recall Sister Fidelma ever praying or contemplating religion. It seemed off. The author needs to work on revealing his feminine side in his female characters. The killer was easy to spot early on. In addition, it bothered me that so many things were referred to by their latin names over and over; then again, without the narrator, I would never have guess how some of the names and titles were pronounced.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Interesting historical murder mystery set in AD 664 in Northumbria, a medieval kingdom, which in current day is northern England and the southeast part of Scotland . . . the book contains much about the fight in the Catholic church over doctrine and religious rituals during the time period . . . a battle for control between Rome and Ireland, more political than based on faith . . . which saddens me and I am sure many Christians that the teachings of Christ were and are used to personal and political gain . . . one must remember that in AD 664, Catholicism WAS the church, since the Protestant Reformation didn't begin until around 1517 when Martin Luther published his ninety-five theses . . . I had the greatest respect and admiration of Sister Fidelma in the story . . . I think you will, too . . . she's observant, out spoken, and honest . . . not to be outwitted, she is like a hound dog on the trail of his prey . . . yet she has a heart for the gospel . . . great conclusion . . .
I found the Irish, Anglo-Saxon, Latin - names, places and language very hard to follow. I even lost track of characters because of the foreign-ness of the text. Reader should know some Catholic and church history before reading.
Fair murder investigation. Good inter play between investigators.
50 something, retired professional, mother, grandmother, wife.
I wasn't sure about this book given when it is set, but I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. the mystery was developed well even though there was a fairly simple resolution. I'm not anxious to read another book in the series, but I am sure I will sometime and I am looking forward to it.
I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!
I love historical fiction, especially when I can actually learn something. I think there was a lot of literary and historical license taken in this book. There were monks, nuns, abbots and abbesses aplenty - but none like I have ever read about before. Even so - the characters were fun and likable. I will read more, simply for pleasure.
Report Inappropriate Content