In November of 667 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel has returned home to her brother's castle to discover that a servant, her son's nurse, has been found brutally murdered in the woods near town, and her son is missing, presumed kidnapped or worse. Sister Fidelma, sister to king of Muman in Ireland, an advocate of the Brehon courts, and a religieuse of the Celtic Church, and her husband Brother Eadulf now must face their most personal and baffling case ever. Is there a traitor at her brother's court? Are the Ui Fidgente, the old blood enemies of Fidelma's family, involved? And what is the role of the mysterious dwarf seen leaving the kingdom carrying a leper's bell? With few clues and precious little time, Fidelma must unravel this complicated puzzle in time to rescue her missing child.
In the pseudonymous Tremayne's intriguing 15th Irish historical (after 2005's Badger's Moon), Fidelma of Cashel suffers a terrible personal loss. On returning in the fall of A.D. 667 to the castle of her brother, Colg , who's the king of Muman, Fidelma discovers that her baby son's nurse has been murdered and her son has disappeared. She and Brother Eadulf, her partner in a trial marriage, become involved in a complex plot involving palace politics and hostile tribes, frightening captures and hair-raising escapes. The diverse supporting cast includes warriors and woodsmen, bishops and apothecaries, dwarfs and lepers. Despite some clunky prose, the author, an authority on ancient Celtic culture under his real name of Peter Berresford Ellis, once again brings the people and customs of seventh-century Ireland to vivid life.