Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Ancient Ireland, 7th century AD
First Sentence: Eadulf was staring moodily out of the window at the darkening sky above the fortress of Cashel, the stronghold of Colgu, King of Muman.
This novel is the twenty-fourth in Tremayne's Fidelma mystery series.
Fidelma and her husband are attending a feast presided over by Fidelma's brother Colgu, the King of Muman. During the festivities a monk arrives asks to speak to the king. When the monk is admitted to the king's presence, the monk attempts to assassinate the king. While stabbing the king the assassin shouts, "Remember Liamuin!" The monk is quickly killed.
His death leaves a mystery. Who is he? Who is Liamuin? And, why did the assassin want to kill the king?
Soon, Fidelma and Eadulf are traveling the countryside asking questions and gathering clues.
Fidelma is a logical thinker. She uses logic to uncover facts which she uses to form the basis for her legal decisions. In this novel, she is frustrated by the number of clues she discovers by coincidence.
Yet, in the end she eventually gathers the facts she needs to unravel the mystery. A mystery that involves intertribal hatred, political intrigue, and unrequited love.
There are two things I especially liked about this novel. First, the author lets Fidelma and Eadulf spend some time with Alchu, their son. He appears at the beginning of the novel. As Fidelma and Eadulf leave to investigate, we see Eadulf rue the fact that, once again, they are leaving Alchu behind.
Also, there is a running gag about Eadulf's cultural background. Eadulf is an Angle. But characters continually refer to him as a Saxon. A mistake he usually corrects, often to deaf ears.
In my opinion, this was an enjoyable read. The complex plot kept me guessing until the reveal. Fidelma continues to be one of my favorite characters.