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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting new (for me) series & great narrator!

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!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • BHL
  • NY, United States
  • 05-02-15

It is all in the lips...pursed,compressed, bitten.

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 ...

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Early Medival murder mystery

What made the experience of listening to Absolution by Murder the most enjoyable?

I have read all of the Sister Fidelma series, but hearing them brings them to life for me.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Fidelma.

What about Caroline Lennon’s performance did you like?

Great job especially with the Irish word.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would like to, but couldn't

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 02-03-17

Murder among the Monks and Nuns

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 . . .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Pitman, NJ, United States
  • 05-01-15

Well written and well read, though sometimes tedio

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, annoying writing, too many green eyes

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.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Townsend
  • Pearland, TX, United States
  • 04-26-17

If Brother Cadfael was female and Irish,,,,

Seventh Century Irish nun/lawyer solves murder mysteries in the middle of a church conference. Yes, nun and lawyer. Really. The book is worth a credit just to find out haw that worked.

Very complex set of characters and situations. Inspires me to do a little research on a period of history most of us know very little about. Narrator does a great job.

My only complaint -not really a complaint, more an inevitable problem - is that many of the names sound alike, making it a challenge to keep all the characters straight.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing cartoonish story

Would you consider the audio edition of Absolution by Murder to be better than the print version?

Don't know, but I like the reader very much.

What did you like best about this story?

Historical accuracy

Which scene was your favorite?

Confrontation of the astrologist

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. Though the few times historical inaccuracies pop up, they are really stand out. For instance, in the first book they mention "autopsy." I'm fairly certain this concept was not current in Sister Fidelma's time, let alone the word it self. I don't know why, but I found that jarring, bothersome.

Any additional comments?

I'm hooked. The things that bother me are the rather cartoonish way in which Fidelma is portrayed, rather like the cartoons about the founding of America around the time of the Bicentennial. Although to be fair, Brother Eadulf, does act somewhat as a foil, showing Fidelma's almost arrogant attitude. The reasons for her attitude though are quite real, however, and the books bring up the differences in the way the Irish respected their women in an interesting way. I'm hopeful the characters deepen and develop over time.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable historical mystery

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, I enjoyed this book and it’s well worth a listen. I think that Tremayne is not as skilled as, say, Steven Saylor at being a pure story teller and this book tends to be a bit wooden. But he packs in a lot of historical detail (even if very opinionated detail!).

Would you recommend Absolution by Murder to your friends? Why or why not?

For sure. Although the writing is a bit wooden, I do find that I enjoy the Fidelma stories very much.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, I thought that the narrator matched the story quite well.

Did Absolution by Murder inspire you to do anything?

No. Not sure why it would.

Any additional comments?

This was a good listen. I did guess the answer fairly early as I thought there were huge hints not all too well concealed.