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The Dove of Death: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland (Mysteries of Ancient Ireland featuring Sister Fidelma of Cashel) Hardcover – October 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Mysteries of Ancient Ireland featuring Sister Fidelma of Cashel (Book 20)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312551207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312551209
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An intriguing lead and a tricky puzzle propel Tremayne's 18th whodunit featuring seventh-century Irish legal advocate Sister Fidelma (after 2009's The Council of the Cursed). When pirates board the Barnacle Goose, the ship on which Fidelma and her husband, Eadulf, are sailing home after the previous book's events, the pirates' white-clothed, masked leader fatally stabs both the Goose's captain and a royal envoy who's Fidelma's cousin. Fidelma and Eadulf jump overboard to save their lives. A man in a small boat rescues the couple and takes them to the island of Hoedig, where Fidelma vows to devote her energies to identifying the murderer, a promise complicated by evidence that the brigands may be connected with a local nobleman. More murders and plenty of action follow on Hoedig. The ease with which Tremayne brings 670 C.E. Ireland to life more than makes up for a solution that's less clever than usual. (Nov.) (c)
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From Booklist

Sister Fidelma and her companion-husband Brother Eadulf reappear in an all-new medieval adventure distinguished by the attention paid to both suspense and historical detail. Returning home aboard an Irish merchant ship after the divisive Council of Autun (Council of the Cursed), Fidelma, Eadulf, and their shipmates are beset by marauding pirates, who ruthlessly murder both the captain and Fidelma’s cousin, special envoy to her brother, Colgú, king of Muman. Barely escaping with their lives after jumping overboard, the two are determined to exact justice for the crime. As more atrocities are committed, Fidelma, an advocate of the law courts of seventh-century Ireland, employs her keen intellect and heightened powers of observation in pursuit of some uncomfortable truths. Tremayne, a master of the medieval mystery, continues to shine as he sheds light on the twists and turns of both church history and the remarkably enlightened political and legal position accorded to women in seventh-century Ireland. --Margaret Flanagan

Customer Reviews

Far too contrived.
Laura E.
The characters are very well portrayed and there is always a gripping plot and a difficult mystery.
S. Schwartz
Another great entry by Tremayne in his Sister Fidelma series.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the 19 book in this wonderful series and it is no wonder that there is a strong cult following for Sister Fidelma and for Ancient Ireland as portrayed by Mr. Tremayne. These books are set in and around the British Isles. The time for this particular book is 670 AD. The book is set in the province of Britany and Sister Fidelma and her husband Eadulf are returning home to Cashel in Ireland when their ship is attacked by pirates. They narrowly escape with their lives and it lands them smack in the middle of planned coup that places them both in danger over and over once they actually reach shore. Tremayne is an historian, and his books are wonderfully written. The characters are very well portrayed and there is always a gripping plot and a difficult mystery. I think it's the way he develops his background detail in each book that makes these books so special. These books are truly wonderful!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 670, married couple Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf sails home aboard the Irish merchant ship the Barnacle Goose after attending the deadly Council of the Cursed. Off the Breton Peninsular, pirates with a dove on their sail attack. In the pursuing melee, the masked apparent brigand leader known as the Dove of Death stabs and kills the captain Murchad and Fidelma's royal cousin Bressal, who was the envoy of King Colgu of Muman. Fidelma and Eadulf leap from the vessel, but are fortunate when a monk at sea rescues them. He takes the pair to Hoedig Island.

On Hoedig, Fidelma vows to unmask the Dove of death so she as a law advocate can bring this murderer to justice. As she makes inquiries, other homicides occur and she soon fears her investigation has placed her and her husband in peril as the clues seem to tie the Dove and his killers to the local aristocratic host.

Once again, Peter Tremayne brings to life ancient times with his latest exciting Sister Fidelma mystery. The story line focuses on Fidelma's investigation, but the audience also observes the problems the Irish religious orders have with the new Rule of Benedict that demanded rigid sexual abstinence; as that dictum went against several centuries of tradition. Fast-paced and loaded with action, fans of ancient mysteries will want to sail along side of Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf as they are detoured on their way home.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Don Paradiso on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This addition is the best yet in the Sister Fidelma mysteries. It moved along at lightening speed, the usual cast of 100 characters with impossible names was missing from the text, and the author went light on the teaching lessons. It was an actual page-turner, and many of the chapters ended in cliff hangers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Baisley, MSW on January 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a big Sister Fidelma fan. I read this book on Kindle & was a bit disappointed. The setting for this book is the European continent (as opposed to the Irish island)in the 7th century AD. I found it very frustrating that I couldn't place the location in my mind because I wasn't sufficiently versed in the ancient place names for the area & whether the location was Brittany or Burgundy. I don't know if the paper edition included a map, but a map would have been very enlightening. Actually, an actual map of the setting & a fictitious map of the relation of the fictional locations to each other would have been ideal.

The events of the book occur as Fidelma & Aedulf are returning from the Conference at Atun in Burgandy, France which is the setting of the book immediately preceding this one The Council of the Cursed (The Sister Fidelma of Cashel). The pair are onboard a ship when they are attacked by pirates & end up marooned on a small island where they are assisted by a monk. They make their way back to the mainland where they attempt to identify and apprehend the pirates.

While I am aware that the rift between the Celtic Church & Rome was a major component of the time period in which Fidelma lives, the constant encounter of nasty, oppositional clerics over the course of a number of books is beginning to wear on me. Conversely, I felt the differences between the 7th century Irish culture & the culture of Brittany, which is alluded to in the book, could have been further elucidated.

The characters were well drawn, as one would expect from Mr. Tremayne, but the sheer number of new characters was daunting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mystery reader on June 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This latest Sister Fedelma story is one of the author's best. It has a great plot based on people and vices and less on church disagreements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Kraus on April 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Dove of Death is the 18th novel in Peter Tremeyne's Mysteries of Ancient Ireland series. This story takes place in the year 670AD.

The main character is Sister Fidelma. She has a very complex life. She is a trained advocate of the law. She is a nun. She is the sister of King of Ireland. She is married to a monk: Brother Eadulf. (The rules about celibacy were different 1300 years ago!) And she is mother to their child Alchu.

Ancient Ireland had a well defined set of rules, laws and courts. Fidelma is trained to the second highest level of lawyer, just below judges. This means she is often called upon to solve mysteries, especially those surrounding untimely deaths. Often, her husband and partner work together to unravel mysteries. But make no mistake, Fidelma is in charge. Eadulf is Watson to Fidema's Sherlock.

In the Dove of Death, Fidelma and Eadulf are returning to Ireland by sea. Their ship is attacked by pirates commanded by a masked villain dressed in white. During the attack, Fidema's cousin is killed. Fidelma and Eadulf wind up on shore with no immediate way home. They must discover the identity of the leader of the pirates. As they investigate, several more murders occur. How many will die before Fidelma solves the mystery and finds justice for her slain cousin?
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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.