- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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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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
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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. The plotting was excellent and kept me riveted until the final page. I feel a mystery should keep you guessing until the end, but leave you looking back & saying, "Of course! I should have seen that." The author doesn't disappoint in this regard at all.
If you are a fan, you won't want to miss this, but it is not the best of the series nor one to start with if you are a newcomer to Sister Fidelma's world.
When I try to imagine travel in the seventh century I see a dangerous adventure that requires a lot of effort. The Dove of Death is a story about the journey Sister Fidelma and her husband Eadulf take to return to Ireland from south eastern France.
First if one takes a route on land, roads in that part of Europe are rather crude, mostly dirt paths going up and down hills and mountains that may allow one to travel fifteen miles each day. Water travel is better as it requires less effort fro the traveler. When you cross part of what we now call the Atlantic Ocean, you might encounter pirates. I would be tempted to travel with an army, but that might lead to war.
Fidelma and Eadulf encounter pirates while crossing the ocean. The pirates are a brutal lot and, after the boat surrenders, kill both the boat captain and Fidelma's cousin, a royal emissary traveling to Cashel to see Fidelma's brother the king. Eadulf and Fidelma escape by jumping overboard, losing all their luggage and money. .
Our travelers become involved in a political power struggle that costs the lives of several local citizens and threatens Fidelma as well.
The mystery of this book is Fidelma investigating the murder of her cousin. The investigation is complex with Fidelma getting only reluctant help from the locals. The final resolution is much simpler than most of Fidelma's work, but the descriptions of the locale and customs are superior.
The Dove Of Death is an excellent mystery and a well told story...I recommend this book.
Also, this story is very formula. The author is cranking one out to meet the publisher's deadline, too easy to guess "who done it" and why. For that reason, I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars.