A perplexing case of murder and conspiracy in the pagan wilds of Northern Italy
In 664 A.D., just after the events detailed in Shroud for the Archbishop, Fidelma of Cashel takes a unexpected detour on her trip home from Rome. While in the port at Genua (modern day Genoa), Fidelma—sister of one Ireland's kings and an advocate in her country's law courts—receives word that one of her old teachers, Brother Ruadan, is reaching the end of his days. Determined to see her old mentor one last time, Fidelma takes the treacherous journey to a remote abbey in the countryside—a place where the old pagan religion still has a hold and where even the Christians are often in bloody conflict with each other. But after she hears her dying teacher's last words, Fidelma's most dangerous adventure has just begun. With one murder after the next and a vicious war in the offing, it is up to Fidelma, alone and on her own, to unravel an extraordinary conspiracy before it is too late.
Tremayne's enjoyable 22nd seventh-century historical featuring Sister Fidelma (after 2011's The Chalice of Blood) is, despite the subtitle, a sequel to the second Fidelma mystery, Shroud for the Archbishop (1995), set in Italy. On her journey home to Ireland, in a deserted Genoa street, Fidelma sees two cloaked figures assault an elderly religious with cudgels. After intervening to save the man's life, Fidelma learns that the intended victim was from the Abbey of Bobium, where her former tutor, Brother Ruad n, resides. To her dismay, Ruad n is at death's door after being attacked by adherents of the heretic Arius, who have rejected the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Her decision to visit her old mentor while she still can plunges her into the midst of a complex murder mystery. The writing and sense of place are as assured as ever, as is Tremayne's ingenuity at crafting a traditional whodunit.
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Just a thought
Seems a bit strange to title your book after William Coopers-Behold a Pale Horse. Coincidence?? I believe it was done on purpose.