Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventureby Philip Freeman
In ancient Ireland, an island ruled by kings and druids, the nuns of Saint Brigid are fighting to keep their monastery alive. When the bones of Brigid go missing from their church, the
In an evocative Celtic novel set in a time when druids roamed the land, lively young sister Deirdre embarks on a mission to find the stolen bones of her convent’s patron saint.
In ancient Ireland, an island ruled by kings and druids, the nuns of Saint Brigid are fighting to keep their monastery alive. When the bones of Brigid go missing from their church, the theft threatens to destroy all they have worked for. No one knows the danger they face better than Sister Deirdre, a young nun torn between two worlds.
Trained as a bard and raised by a druid grandmother, she must draw upon all of her skills, both as a bard and as a nun, to find the bones before the convent begins to lose faith.
Sixth-century Ireland was a place of magic when Druids still roamed the land and every well had healing powers. Sister Deirdre, who is both a trained bard raised by her Druid grandmother and a nun at the Monastery of Holy Brigid in Kildare, is tasked with finding the saint's bones after they are stolen from the monastery's chapel. Set a little more than a century or so before Peter Tremayne's series featuring Sister Fidelma, Freeman's (St. Patrick of Ireland) first novel has a strong atmosphere and absorbing, well-drawn characters. For the most part accurate in his portrayal of everyday medieval life, the author, who holds a PhD in classics and Celtic studies, has woven a compelling plot that touches on some of the struggles faced by the early Catholic Church in Ireland. Deirdre's story as a young woman torn between the pagan and Christian worlds is very intriguing, and this reviewer would love to see where it goes if there are future installments. VERDICT Fans of Tremayne's "Sister Fidelma" series will want to give this a try. It may also be of interest to those who like series set in Roman and pre-Roman Britain, such as those by Kelli Stanley or Ruth Downie.—Pamela O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY
- Pegasus Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Meet the Author
Philip Freeman received his Ph.D. in Classics and Celtic Studies at Harvard University and holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College. He is the author of thirteen books, including a number of nonfiction titles and his fictional Sister Deirdre series, Saint Brigid’s Bones and Sacrifice. His most recent work, Searching for Sappho, was published by W. W. Norton in 2016. Philip lives in Decorah, Iowa.
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Book Review: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 Saint Brigid’s Bones by Philip Freeman Fans of the Sister Fidelma stories by Peter Tremayne would probably like this new series of Celtic Mysteries. Sister Deidre is a nun at the Abbey of St. Brigid at Kildare. She is also a Druid, and a Bard by training. In the time period in which her adventures take place, a Druidic Bard has tremendous clout. Even Kings dare not harm them, and they are paid graciously for their performances at feasts, weddings, and ceremonies. The stories take place around 500 AD. Mr. Freeman’s focus is more on the pagan religions of the time, as opposed to Peter Tremayne’s focus on the battle between the Irish Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches. The Christian church was just beginning to be established, and despite differences, Christians and Druids have a certain respect for each other. Of course there are fanatics on both sides that seek to destroy the others religion. At the Abbey of St. Brigid at Kildare, their most precious possession is the bones of St. Brigid herself. These holy relics bring in a lot of Pilgrims, and the Abbey depends on these visitor’s gifts of food and money to fund their charities. Now someone has done the unthinkable—the bones of St. Brigid are stolen from the altar at Kildare. Abbess Anna seeks out Sister Deidre, who is suspected of burning down a new church the order has built at Sleaty, and places her in charge of finding the bones. There are several major suspects including royalty and an Abbot from a rival Abbey who takes a very dim view of women participating in church ceremonies and worship. A famous thief is suspected, and Sister Deidre’s ex husband could have played a role in the whole mess. A newly crowned King name Cormac who desires Sister Deidre as a wife draws suspicion for being entirely too generous to the Abbey during this time of need and making no secret that he would like the Abbey relocated to his own kingdom. Mr. Freeman has obviously done great research into the ancient customs of Ireland. In fact when Cormac becomes King, there is a ritual preformed that I had to research myself to believe. It is genuine, and I think explains a few ancient sites in Britain. You’ll have to find out for yourself, I only intend to whet the appetite. With so many suspects and so many confessions of dark secrets, subterfuge, and politics, the finial reveal is certain to be a surprise. It is very like walking a trail to a famous natural attraction—you turn a corner and there it is in all of its majesty, making your journey worth the time spent. Mr. Freeman masterfully guides the reader’s journey to the truth until the same type of dawning reality takes place. I need to thank Katie McGuire and the good people at Pegasus Books for my copy of this Celtic Mystery. And be sure to also to check out the next volume in the series, Sacrifice. It is a fine read also. Quoth the Raven…
Well written. Nice human geography lesson on ancient Ireland .