Saint Brigid’s Bones: A Celtic Adventure

Written by Philip Freeman
Review by Marie Burton

In this swiftly told tale set in 6th-century Ireland, Sister Deirdre is tasked with the most important job of the monastery at Kildare: to retrieve the stolen bones of Saint Brigid. Without the bones for pilgrims to pay homage to, and the donations from visitors seeking healing from the precious relics, the nuns and those they care for will not survive for very long.

The author proves his intellect and research within the first-person narrative of Sister Deirdre as he deftly sets up the mystery of where the bones are and who has taken them. He even manages to flesh out Sister Deirdre’s character as we wonder if she should have even become a nun in the first place. There was a short period within the telling where I wondered if I had missed a previous novel featuring Deirdre’s story, but we slowly learn the secrets of her past before she dedicated her life to the monastery. Deirdre is a strong and willful young woman who was also a skilled bard with a few suitors at her doorstep. While she seeks answers to the mystery of the saint’s bones, she encounters ruffians and piratical lords as well as several kings of the lands of ancient Ireland. I was surprised that so much could occur within this seemingly short novel, yet the pacing and suspense were very well stylized, and I was happy to see that Philip Freeman plans on publishing a second novel featuring the lively Sister Deirdre.