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!
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 ...
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.
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.
Not another in this series. Returned this one.
If you like TONS of background/history and could get through the first part of the book, you might like this.
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.
Tremayne really wowed me with his historical detail. He spent a lot of time developing the characters too. The clues were all there like breadcrumbs and lots of nice, juicy red herrings too.
I have read many of the Sister Fidelma books over the years and tried, using the author's pronunciation guide in the earlier books, to pronounce the names and places while reading. It's not easy! I really enjoy the books but it's a real treat now to listen to them and hear the names and places spoken.
The historical details are fascinating. The political and religious tides that pass through the time period are amazingly complicated, and learning about them, while listening to a great mystery, really keeps my interest fired up.
The one thing that I feel is missing are the historical notes that are found in the book. I would have liked to have that as part of the audio book as well, even at the end, because it gives a great deal of context. The legal system in Ireland in the 7th century was amazingly progressive.
That being said I'm just very happy the series has been brought to Audible. Kudos to Caroline Lennon for her narration!
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