Absolution By Murder Paperback – Jan 5 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
This immensely appealing launch of a new series is set in seventh-century Ireland, which in Tremayne's rendering is a golden age of enlightenment and of total equality for women. Such narrative stumbling blocks as an abundance of stereotypical characters and much more dynastic trivia, ecclesiastical and secular history than can be absorbed are offset by the vigorous, intriguing puzzle posed by a series of murders and by Sister Fidelma, the tale's brilliant and beguiling heroine. An ecclesiastical conclave to settle major divisions between the Roman and Celtic branch of Christianity is held at Whitby in 664. When a major proponent of the Celtic way, the Abbess of Kildare, is murdered, Sister Fidelma, a fellow Celtic follower and legally trained scholar, is asked to investigate. She is paired with her ideological opposite, Brother Eadulf, on the Roman side, who is shrewd, highly educated and immediately smitten with the outspoken sister. The intellectual and physical sparks that are ignited between these two clerics (in an age before celibacy) light up the pages, and when two monks are killed and the malevolence thickens, the book becomes difficult to put down. It is reassuring to read that Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf will reappear... next time in Rome.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Peter Tremayne is the fiction pseudonym of a well-known authority on the ancient Celts, who has utilised his knowledge of the Brehon law system and 7th-Century Irish society to create a new concept in detective fiction.
Top Customer Reviews
I had read some of the short stories featuring Sister Fidelma before picking up this book. Fidelma can be exasperating; she is haughty, touchy and quick to anger. Her starring role in a novel-length adventure allowed Tremayne to show the reader her more appealing qualities: a zest for life, a sly sense of humor, a deep commitment to her friends and a formidable intellect.
As the plot thickened, it seemed Tremayne might lose control of his large cast of characters, but the mounting excitement left me barely able to put the book down. Tremayne wrapped things up nicely in a scene that cleverly resembles an Agatha-Christie drawing-room denouement. The epilogue hints at more adventures to come for Fidelma and Brother Eadulf.
The King of Northumbria, on learning about Fidelma's position as a dálaigh of the Irish Courts, urges her to bring the murderer to justice. Since rumours are already starting to circulate, no time is to be lost. The country is on the brink of Civil War. Fidelma agrees, and in so doing she accepts the condition imposed by the King of having the crime investigated in conjunction with a representative of the Roman faction, a Saxon by the name of Brother Eadulf. Thus forms one of the most famous partnerships in history for the purpose of solving crimes.Read more ›
The introduction to the main character, Fidelma, attempts to paint a picture of a self-assured, female esquire/nun prancing merrily through the Middle Ages without equal. She's all that and well proportioned too! Sadly, she comes off as a swaddled, "sister-superior" who should have been killed in the opening chapter. (It would have been a mercy killing on behalf of the reader).
Furthermore, it appears that Peter Tremayne (the author) must be thrilled with his own trite descriptions of the lady lawyer donned in sack cloth. "Rebellious strands of red hair steaked from beneath her headdress..." I know I read that in chapter one and then again a little later in the book word for word. Yawn. And like Elton John's Your Song, we still don't know if Sister Fidelma's eyes are green or blue as they are so changeable with emotion.
As the book rambled along, I must confess that I had repeated urges to break out in a song from Mary Poppins.
"Our daughter's daughters will adore us
And they'll sing in grateful chorus
Well done sister suffragettes!"
Truly, I expect medieval story to be flavored with phrases and words of the era. However, I read to relax and be carried away, not to labor through an encyclopedia written in a quasi-foreign language extolling the virtues ad nauseum of feminism.
Only read this one, if you have exhausted all other options.
Setting it aside to give it the time it deserves was a much better idea! Although initially slow and somewhat bogged down in the finer historical detail, I was soon swept into Sister Fidelma's world where nuns are NOT silent, men of the cloth are not always good, and politics are NEVER petty.
The characters are vivid, but Tremayne never gives away too much so that the "villians" aren't who they appear to be. He tempts the romantic with the introduction of Brother Eadulf but never succumbs to cheap romance or idle folly. The mysterious cultivation of friendship between Fidelma and Eadulf gives the most personal view of the protagonist(s).
The multiple murders keep you guessing to the end. The story picks up speed in the last half and is indeed VERY HARD TO PUT DOWN!
Most recent customer reviews
If you haven't met Sister Fidelna, Brehon, yet - then you've been missing out. I love a good murder mystery and I love a good historical novel and I get them both in Fidelma. Read morePublished on March 14 2004 by Susanna Duffy
I purchased this book via "used" selection. I am an Anglo junkie including reading history of early Brits, i.e. Celts. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2003 by Dianne Foster
I just finished reading this book, it was rather short, but I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. The historical aspects were interesting and unique. Read morePublished on July 9 2002 by Lora Friedenthal
This book wasn't too bad for a first effort. The era is an interesting one, and there is some pretty good history here if you're interested in early Christianity and Ancient... Read morePublished on June 4 2002 by Shirley Schwartz
The historical setting of this book with the conflict between Celtic and Roman Christianity was intriguing and realistic. You get a genuine sense for the time and place. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2002 by K. Eames
My first impression of this series was that the books were interesting, entertaining, and the balance between mystery and history done fairly well. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2002 by Stoneheart
I first picked up the first edition to this book which is The Subtle Serpent which is also a very good book. I picked it up not realizing what it was actually about. Read morePublished on July 18 2001 by Holly
The setting, a religious counsel in the year 664 C.E. gathered to debate conflicts between the Church of Ireland and the Church of Rome, promises much. Read morePublished on April 26 2001