Atonement of Blood

Written by Peter Tremayne
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Fidelma’s brother Colgú, the king of Muman, is holding a royal feast. Finally, after months on the road, investigating mysteries and solving crimes, Fidelma, a learned advocate of the courts, and Eadulf are able to attend and to spend time with their little son, Alchú. But when a well-dressed stranger attends the feast, he rushes Colgú, yelling “Remember Liamuin!”, stabbing the king and killing a bodyguard before losing his own life.

As Colgú hangs onto life by a thread, Fidelma and Eadulf start a journey to uncover the hows and whys of this would-be assassin and to learn who Liamuin is or was. Their journey takes them into hostile territory, the land of their arch-enemies, the Ui Fidgente, and to an abbey which holds many secrets.

I have read most, if not all, of the Fidelma books, and it never ceases to amaze me how seamlessly Tremayne, aka learned Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis, interweaves history with fiction, peopling his novels with fascinating characters – some extremely learned, some downright barbarian – and educating us about the Celtic world. I now am also seeing Fidelma deal uncomfortably with the demands of motherhood (Eadulf, I think, feels more comfortable in his role as a father), being torn in different directions by her head and her heart. She is becoming more complex, more real and I understand her better than I ever have.

This installment of the Fidelma series is by far one of Tremayne’s best outings, and I highly recommend it.