Fidelma of Cashel’s nuptials must take a back seat to her investigation of the murder of an arrogant abbot.
When Abbot Ultan is found stabbed on the eve of Fidelma’s wedding, the alleged killer, the King of Connacht, asks for Fidelma as his advocate. The King had sued the Abbott for his involvement in the death of his uncaring wife’s sister, a beautiful poetess who killed herself after the Abbott broke up her love affair with a member of his community and sent her lover on the voyage leading to his death. There are almost too many suspects. The Abbott has been traveling Ireland with his steward and two female scribes trying to impose his brand of Christianity on other religious houses. In a time when members of the religious community still marry, the Abbott, a mean-spirited, sadistic man, demanded piety of others but remained licentious and power-hungry himself. With all the royalty of Ireland gathered at Cashel for her wedding, Fidelma is under pressure to solve the case. The pressure rises when the King of Connacht is murdered during a wild boar hunt while he is out on parole, but Fidelma will not let political expediency stand in the way of justice.
Faithful fans of Fidelma (Master of Souls, 2006, etc.) will enjoy another chance to immerse themselves in Tremayne’s detailed depiction of medieval Ireland. Newcomers may find the turf tough going.