by Peter Tremayne
Honestly, I have very mixed emotions about this little mystery novel. It is set at and during one of the most important events in the history of Christianity in the British Isles, a famous local council known as the Synod of Whitby.
|St Hilda, shown holding|
her abbey at Whitby
|Ruins of the Abbey of Whitby|
Photo by Hugh Chappell
Indeed, this whole event is one of my favorites in British history (even though I can easily wax romantically nostalgic about the elements of Celtic Christianity that began to disappear as a direct result), which confirms my Geek status for life. So I loved reading this novel about it, but felt very ambivalent about some aspects of the author's handling of it, and especially his characterizations of some of the historical figures involved.
As a mystery, this book is acceptable, about average, but the starring sleuth, Sister Fidelma of Ireland, is quite an enjoyable character. She is an attorney, of all things, a legal expert recognized in the medieval Irish courts. Who knew that women could do such things in 7th-century Ireland? Sister Fidelma was a lot of fun; the rest of the book was readable, but not exemplary.