The Dove of Death

Written by Peter Tremayne
Review by Veronika Pelka

It’s AD 670, and a pirate ship comes upon an Irish merchant vessel carrying Fidelma of Cashel and her husband Brother Eadulf. After the ship’s captain and Fidelma’s cousin Prince Bressal are brutally killed, Fidelma and her husband jump overboard and, through fate or fortune, are saved by a local monk who witnessed the pirate attack. Once ashore, Fidelma refuses to continue their journey home. She is determined to learn the identity of the pirates, and will demand justice for her cousin’s death. Although a foreigner and not familiar with the local language, Fidelma disregards the danger to herself and her husband and persists in her investigations. Much is amiss in these coastal villages and all recent crimes appear to be related to the pirate raids of the Dove of Death.

This novel is part of an ongoing series featuring the mystery sleuths Fidelma and Eadulf. Both are religieux but unlike the church at Rome, the Hibernian church at this time does not require celibacy. Fidelma is also a woman of substantial status, being a sister to the King of Muman and an advocate of the Brehon law courts. This insures the couple hospitality and protection at the manor of the local Breton nobility.

Within this entertaining story are bits of Celtic language and lore and hints that conflicts with the church at Rome are coming. True to the requirements of a good mystery, the character’s motives are hidden until the end. For those who want to read the series in order, The Dove of Death follows the events of the Council of the Cursed.