Death of a heretic A mystery of ancient Ireland

Peter Tremayne

Book - 2022

"Ireland. AD 672. The abbey of Muman at Imleach Iubhair is being renovated when its guests' hostel burns to the ground. There is one fatality: Bishop Brodulf of Luxovium, a distinguished visitor and cousin to the King of Franks. Sister Fidelma is asked by Abbot Cun to investigate the unfortunate incident and soon finds that the bishop had been stabbed to death before the fire had even started. Thrown into a world of treachery and jealousy, where religious beliefs are vehemently dispute...d, Fidelma and her companions, Eadulf and Enda, face a barrier of deceit. The abbey, a leading ecclesiastical teaching institution as well as a conhospitae, housing both men and women, is divided into factions. Can Abbot Cun trust Prioress Suanach, who is in charge of the sisterhood? Can the professors trust each other as well as their students? Moreover, can suspicion be levelled at the builders working on the abbey under their dominant Master Builder, Sítae? As more deaths follow, Fidelma must use her wit and ingenuity to unravel the complexities of this intricate mystery" --

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Tremayne, Peter. Sister Fidelma novels ; 33.
Historical fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Edinburgh : Severn House 2022.
First US edition
Item Description
Subtitle from cover.
Physical Description
xvi, 304 pages : map ; 23 cm
Main Author
Peter Tremayne (author)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Tremayne's superior 33rd mystery featuring seventh-century Irish law advocate Sister Fidelma (after 2021's The House of Death), tragedy strikes the abbey of Imleach Iubhair, one of the kingdom's most influential religious centers. An abbey guesthouse has just burned down, and its sole occupant, Bishop Brodulf, was found dead inside it. The cleric had been visiting from a region in Burgundy that has adopted the Roman Empire's edicts concerning the only proper way to practice Christianity. Those doctrines have met resistance in Ireland, and Brodulf traveled to the abbey apparently to see how the faith was taught there. Despite the initial belief that he died from the fire, the discovery that he was stabbed through the heart before the conflagration gives Fidelma a homicide to solve. There's no shortage of suspects, given Brodulf's abrasive personality and the possibility that he came to the abbey to search for a noncanonical gospel stored in the abbey's library. Tremayne juggles the different possibilities expertly, and the reveal is satisfying. This is an impressive achievement for a decades-old series. Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

An exceedingly clever lawyer, a woman of great stature among her people, delves into another series of crimes in the year 672. Sister Fidelma, an advocate of the Irish law courts, and her companion, East Anglia transplant Brother Eadulf, are returning from a trip when they hear of the death of a visiting Burgundian bishop at a nearby abbey. Abbot Cuán asks the couple, well known for solving thorny mysteries, to investigate a case they soon realize is connected to the battle over whose theology will rule Christianity. Everyone disliked Bishop Brodulf, who insisted that instead of staying in the abbey's guest quarters he'd stay in an old wooden structure behind the abbey--which ended up burning with him inside, though the dagger in his chest showed that the blaze was no accident. The abbey is slowly replacing all its wooden structures with stone buildings, and it appears the fire had help from the sulphur dust the masons used to split rock. The abbey is a mixed house where members of both sexes live and work, producing some suggestive undercurrents. The bishop had been arguing violently with the abbey's star pupil, Brother Garb, whose opinions were antithetical to his. Garb believed both in the equality of women and in the heretical idea that Jesus was not the son of God but only a wise man. The bishop, who was caught rummaging in the library, is known to have stolen some paperwork concerning the line of succession in the land of the Franks. When the murder of Brother Garb is added to her problems, Fidelma must use all her finely honed skills to unravel a complex case. A mystery embedded in a revealing look at the violently differing theological views of early Christians. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.