A king’s sister investigating a murder uncovers a plot against her brother.
Though she’s well-respected throughout ancient Ireland for her skills as an advocate of the Brehon Law, Fidelma of Cashel (Behold a Pale Horse, 2012, etc.) is chagrined that she hasn’t been appointed Chief Brehon. A murder investigation may be just what she needs to divert her mind. The body of a young man who appears to be of noble birth is found near Cashel, home of Fidelma’s brother, the king of Muman. The king, who’s busy entertaining his future wife, is happy to have Fidelma and her companion, Brother Eadulf, set off, accompanied by two warriors, to trace the man’s identity. Many of the areas nearby have recently been beset by the burning and pillaging of unknown raiders, but Fidelma and her friends have no problems at first. All too soon, however, they come across another murdered man, and Fidelma is abducted along with Torna, a young bard they’ve met camping along a river. Eadulf and a warrior follow the trail and find Fidelma, who’s been left to die in a warehouse, but Torna is gone. Their attempt to find him leads them into ever more trouble and unearths a conspiracy that may involve several of the nearby rulers in the lands surrounding Muman. Fidelma’s ability to solve difficult problems stands her in good stead when she has to untangle a complicated plan to overthrow her brother.
Fidelma shines once more in a scholarly, clever and eminently readable historical mystery.