In a flashback to the days before she married, Sister Fidelma of Cashel has a wild adventure in A.D. 664 Italy.
Sister Fidelma is returning from Rome, where she solved a murder for the Pope. While stranded in Genua, she saves Magister Abo of Bobium from an attack and learns that her old teacher Brother Ruadán is at the Abbey of Bobium. Determined to visit Ruadán before he dies, Fidelma rides with Abo and his companions, Brother Faro and Sister Gisa, toward Bobium. On the way, they are again attacked and rescued by Wulfoald, commander of troops for Radoald, Lord of Trebbia. Fidelma barely arrives in time to speak with her mentor, who’s been badly beaten and left for dead, apparently by a faction that opposes the teachings of Abbot Servillius of Bobium. Several local lords who have religious differences are struggling for power, and Fidelma is soon caught in the middle. Since she doesn’t speak the local language, she seeks help from Brother Eolann, the librarian, who’s also from Ireland. A hidden treasure may hold the answers to many of her questions, but they won’t be disclosed until Brother Ruadan has been attacked again, this time fatally, and Fidelma herself kidnapped while trying to solve the murder of a young goatherd.
Once again, Tremayne (The Chalice of Blood, 2011, etc.) presents a detailed, readable depiction of life in ancient times with a clever mystery neatly woven into the plot.