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Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure Hardcover – October 15, 2014

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Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure + The World of Saint Patrick
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A lively and lucid biography. (The New York Times (on 'St. Patrick of Ireland'))

Philip Freeman creates convincing characters who use realistic dialogue. All books about Celtic Heritage should be this readable. I hope to hear more of Deidre in the future. (The Irish American News)

The pacing and suspense were very well stylized, and I was happy to see that Philip Freeman plans on publishing a second novel featuring the lively Sister Deirdre. (Historical Novel Society)

This is a goodly yarn, complete with its fascinating and colorful historical and cultural context, not to mention its dangers and horrors, a good start to what looks to be a good mystery series. (The Providence Journal)

About the Author

Philip Freeman received his Ph.D. in Classics and Celtic Studies at Harvard University and holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College. He is the author of thirteen books, including St. Patrick of Ireland, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek and Roman Myths. He is currently working on a book about the life of Sappho, the first woman poet, for W. W. Norton & Co. Philip lives in Decorah, Iowa.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (October 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605986321
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605986326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Freeman is the Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Classical Philology and Celtic Languages and Literatures. He has taught at Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis and lectured at the Smithsonian Institution. His books have been reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other national publications.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Longstreet on November 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
“Saint Brigid’s Bones” is a fascinating and well-written novel. While there may not be any sword fights or epic battles in Freeman’s Celtic tale of long ago, the book definitely holds plenty of intrigue and mystery. The book is reminiscent of a time and place described in Bernard Cornwell’s novels; however, “Saint Brigid” provides a much different take on this period in time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anita M. Sacrey on November 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great read, especially if you are interested in Irish history. I had read this author's book on St. Patrick before reading this novel, and that helped with the context of the novel. I do think one with no historical knowledge of Ireland could still enjoy this novel. Can't wait for the next one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurie J. on January 5, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good story with an interesting mystery and an unexpected but satisfying solution. The main character seemed a little too modern in her attitudes for her time, but overall the book was well researched. I will buy any more books he writes about this character.
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Format: Hardcover
Book Review: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saint Brigid’s Bones by Philip Freeman

Fans of the Sister Fidelma stories by Peter Tremayne would probably like this new series of Celtic Mysteries. Sister Deidre is a nun at the Abbey of St. Brigid at Kildare. She is also a Druid, and a Bard by training. In the time period in which her adventures take place, a Druidic Bard has tremendous clout. Even Kings dare not harm them, and they are paid graciously for their performances at feasts, weddings, and ceremonies.

The stories take place around 500 AD. Mr. Freeman’s focus is more on the pagan religions of the time, as opposed to Peter Tremayne’s focus on the battle between the Irish Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches. The Christian church was just beginning to be established, and despite differences, Christians and Druids have a certain respect for each other. Of course there are fanatics on both sides that seek to destroy the others religion.

At the Abbey of St. Brigid at Kildare, their most precious possession is the bones of St. Brigid herself. These holy relics bring in a lot of Pilgrims, and the Abbey depends on these visitor’s gifts of food and money to fund their charities. Now someone has done the unthinkable—the bones of St. Brigid are stolen from the altar at Kildare.

Abbess Anna seeks out Sister Deidre, who is suspected of burning down a new church the order has built at Sleaty, and places her in charge of finding the bones. There are several major suspects including royalty and an Abbot from a rival Abbey who takes a very dim view of women participating in church ceremonies and worship. A famous thief is suspected, and Sister Deidre’s ex husband could have played a role in the whole mess.
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Format: Hardcover
When the bones of Saint Brigid go missing from the monastery at Kildare, the task of recovering them is assigned to Sister Deirdre, a nun raised in a Druid family and trained as a professional bard.

The bones and their healing powers draw pilgrims to Kildare and the monastery is largely dependent on donations for its ministry. Without this support Sister Anna, the abbess, fears the school must close and the poor be turned away.

Deirdre, already guilty over the accidental burning of a new church intended to help provide for the monastery, is shocked and initially views it as punishment when the abbess assigns her the investigation. But pragmatic Sister Anna sees it differently—Deirdre is “insufferably curious” and her heritage and work as a bard provide her with unique tools for the job.

Deirdre and her friend Sister Dari soon discover a number of suspects—ranging from royalty to a jealous abbot and a fearful bandit chief—all of whom pose a variety of threats to the investigators. In addition to the dangers she faces with her prying, Deirdre’s reencounter with Cormac, a young king she’d loved in the past, causes her to question both her faith and his motivations.

Freeman has penned an absorbing and suspenseful tale of a time when Christianity coexisted in a shaky alliance with the pagans in Ireland and life was far from simple. This is the first in a projected series about the adventures of Sister Deirdre. I, for one, look forward to reading more.
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