Bloodmoon: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland (Sister Fidelma Mystery)

Written by Peter Tremayne
Review by Kristen Hannum

Sister Fidelma and her husband, Brother Eadulf, are once again on the track of a murderer in 671 AD Ireland. Or, rather, Brother Eadulf has insisted on coming along on Fidelma’s mission to the abbey of Finnbarr, despite her refusal to reveal to him the reason for the trip. She has sworn a blood oath of secrecy. But before she can meet with her kinsman, the abbot, the old monk is murdered, and the two most likely suspects have fled out into the foggy winter marshes.

This was my first Sister Fidelma novel (there are 27 others). The author, Peter Tremayne, aka the historian Peter Berresford Ellis, has written close to 100 books. Bloodmoon is told with a master storyteller’s straightforward ease, and it brims over with Irish words and facts from 7th-century Ireland. Brother Eadulf is chagrined at being excluded from his wife’s confidence and loyally trying to accept being kept in the dark, and Fidelma is irritated with him for pushing and yet regretful about not being able to tell him. Their mixed emotions are entertaining and give a sense of their differing backgrounds. Sister Fidelma has royal Irish roots while Eadulf has Angle roots, a point he has to make with a number of Sister Fidelma’s people. “The trouble was that in Fidelma’s language the same word, Sagsanach, was applied to both Angles and Saxons,” he thinks with annoyance.

I enjoyed Bloodmoon and am pleased that there are so many other books in which I can read more about these characters.