Tremayne, Peter - 'The Chalice of Blood'
This is another excellent instalment chronicling the life and loves of Sister Fidelma and her companion Brother Eadulf. Fidelma is a wonderfully feisty woman and it is great to see her taking control at a time when women were usually seen and not heard. The Fidelma stories, by Peter Tremayne, are richly woven tapestries that give wonderful detail of life in the AD 600s and make everything seem very real. I am becoming a huge fan of this series and think that Fidelma is rather cool.
In this episode, Fidelma and Eadulf have separated. Fidelma wants to remain doing what she does best - working in the law - while Eadulf wants them, together with their young son, to go and live in a monastic community for the rest of their lives. They both miss each other but are determined not to change their minds. A mysterious death in the abbey of Lois Mor soon reunites the pair, however, as Fidelma's brother, the King, sends them together to investigate. The dead man, an eminent scholar, had recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and had been becoming increasingly paranoid and reclusive in the days leading up to his demise. There is a big problem with this case, though, and that is he is found in his cell, lying on his bed, with the only key to the door close beside him. Fidelma sets about unraveling the conundrum and before too long there are other deaths for her to resolve as well.
An excellent story, with a superb ending and an interesting side issue for Fidelma, as she ponders the future of her marriage and her life in the law.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland