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Dancing with Demons: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland (Mysteries of Ancient Ireland) Hardcover – October 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Mysteries of Ancient Ireland (Book 18)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312375646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312375645
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,398,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Judicial advocate Sister Fidelma takes on her most sensitive assignment yet in Tremayne's excellent 16th mystery set in seventh-century Ireland (after 2007's A Prayer for the Damned). When Sechnussach, High King of the five kingdoms of Éireann, is assassinated, the killer appears to be a kinsman, Dubh Duin, found in the king's bed chamber, dying by his own hand and still bearing the knife that apparently struck the fatal blow. Since the powers-that-be are concerned that Sechnussach's heir, Cenn Faelad, not fall under suspicion, they appoint Fidelma, as an outsider, to uncover the motive for the crime. She soon finds that a person, possibly someone close to the throne, had arranged for Duin to get past the king's guards and enter Sechnussach's chamber unchallenged. Tremayne does his usual masterful job of depicting the strain between Christianity and the Old Faith, and provides a logical, if surprising, twist toward the end. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"... excellent ... Tremayne does his usual masterful job of depicting the strain between Christianity and the Old Faith, and provides a logical, if surprising, twist toward the end."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
 
"A classic puzzle."
--Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

Peter Tremayne is the fiction pseudonym of Peter Berresford Ellis, a renowned Celtic scholar who has written over 30 books on the Ancient Celts and the Irish. As Tremayne, he is best known for his stories and novels featuring 7th century Irish religieuse Fidelma of Cashel. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
It is well written, is full of historical detail, and has an abundance of suspense and intrigue.
W. Easley
Yet the story had so many twists and turns that I was kept off balance, and the way the many ends tied up was genius.
Sarah Schmidt
Fidelma of Cashel, a brilliant court advocate and sister of the king of one of the Five Kingdoms, will investigate.
J. Moran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 669, the High King of the five kingdoms of Eireann Sechnussach is murdered in his compound. The assassin is captured immediately as the monarch's kinsman Chieftain Dubh Duin is found in the king's bedchamber. The guards assume a murder suicide occurred though whispers abound that Dubh was so loyal he would kill himself before allowing harm to his liege; besides conspiracy theory buffs question how the assassin got the opportunity.

Concerned over rumors that could harm the ascendancy to the throne of Sechnussach`s heir Cenn Faelad, Ireland's Chief Brehon assigns Court advocate and royal sister Fidelma of Cashel to investigate. He informs her not to focus on who killed the High King but why Dubh assassinated the High King and how the opportunity arose that enabled him to get past the guards. However, Fidelma quickly realizes Duin had to have insider help, but who close to the High King and his royal guards could have arranged the assassination.

This is a great seventh-century Irish mystery that brings to life the era as much through the judicial legal system. With a superb plausible final twist to cap a fantastic historical investigative medieval thriller, fans will appreciate Fidelma's increasingly imperative she solve the entire case before the Five Kingdoms splinter into civil and religious war. Peter Tremayne is at his best in DANCING WITH DEMONS.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on July 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Peter Tremayne knows how to write a story, and the world he has created with the Sister Fidelma series is quite magnificent. The story is set in Ireland in 669 AD. Things were quite different then, and Sister Fidelma's world has been enlightening me for some years now since this is something like the 17 or 18 book. Tremayne builds his stories on true historical happenings, and he quite captures the feeling of the times. In this book the High King of the Five Kingdoms is found dead in his locked bedroom, and the assassin has put a knife through his own heart in order to avoid being caught for this treasonous act. Sister Fidelma and the faithful Eadulf are called in to determine what happened, and they uncover political and personal plots that put their lives in danger. I recommend this series highly, but it should be read in order, starting with 'Absolution by Murder'. It would be difficult to get into the era without the background that is built up in each book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss DIckens on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Normally I wouldn't bother with these mysteries; the writing is flat. But my fascination with the Irish church keeps me reading. Who knew that scholarship, humanism, and genuine equality of the sexes were practised as part of church dogma. The ascendancy of the Roman Church was a disaster that is taking centuries to recover from. Hard to understand why Ireland accepted the boot heel of the Vatican for a long as they did. Learning about this early church has been eyeopening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Easley VINE VOICE on July 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Mystery stories with an abundance of suspense and intrigue, and that are well written as well, generally get my vote. Dancing With Demons sets up a perfect situation for political intrigue. The High King is killed in his bedroom one night and the accused assailant is caught. The ministers and the Assembly demand to know why. They appoint Sister Fidelma to investigate and report her findings.

The Ireland of Fidelma of Cashel is a well organized civilization. In centuries past the warriors and druids ("pagan" priests) established a society divided into five regions, each ruled by a King and an assembly of the people. To encourage peace, they established a "High King" with an assembly of representatives from the five lower kingdoms. In addition they created a court system with judges (called Brehons) investigators and lawyers (dailagh).

This story has several layers: assassination of the King; conflict between the old faith of the Druids and the new faith of the Christians; political unrest among the tribes of Ireland; and detailed challenges to the system of law.

Fidelma is a great representative of the culture of Ireland in the 700s. In most cultures of that time a woman was limited to being a wife and mother, and was seen as subservient to her husband/father. In Ireland women were free to live as they choose. In other cultures, class distinction limited education and position to the upper class. In Ireland a person, through hard work, could rise as high as talent would take him. So Fidelma is highly educated, and a professional. She is a respected leader and attorney who takes advantage of the opportunities available.

Dancing with Demons is a great novel. It is well written, is full of historical detail, and has an abundance of suspense and intrigue. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Schmidt on August 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have only recently discovered Peter Tremayne's mysteries with Sister Fidelma of Cashel, and have loved them all! I had so much fun putting pieces of the puzzle together (and learning about customs of the time and place). Yet the story had so many twists and turns that I was kept off balance, and the way the many ends tied up was genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Helen H. Kraack on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was another fine mystery and solution--a page turner that I read in one sitting. Anyone who likes a good mystery story will enjoy reading this book.

Helen Kraack
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