Behold a Pale Horse

Written by Peter Tremayne
Review by Kathryn Johnson

What do we like best about a Peter Tremayne novel? The historical settings, the complex blend of mystery and adventure… or the characters? How can we not love Sister Fidelma of Cashel as she wends her way through 7th-century Europe — seeking truth, narrowly escaping danger? It’s impossible to choose; the clever mix of history, mystery and appealingly realistic characters is a perfect concoction. Tremayne, in real life Celtic/Irish scholar Peter Berresford Ellis, has discovered the magic of perfectly balancing rich historic details and clever plot.

In this installment, she is on her way home from Rome when she learns of the failing health of her old teacher, Brother Ruadan. Determined to visit him, she sidetracks to a remote abbey where he breathes his last words, thus inspiring her risky efforts to resolve a series of murders that may foreshadow a bloody war. The conspiracy she seeks to unravel forms the satisfying basis of the plot, but what readers will enjoy — have always enjoyed of these stories — is presented in the person of Fidelma herself, picking her way through a hostile world, her only weapons being her intelligence and a little self-defense training, courtesy of her monk friends. A great read!