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Verdict of the Court (A Burren Mystery) Hardcover – 1 Apr 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication edition (1 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072788378X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727883780
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 500,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: There was a light frost over the landscape when Mara, Brehon of the Burren, set out from that kingdom to spend the Christmas of 1519 at the King’s court.

The Christmas celebration and 20th anniversary of King Turlough Donn’s reign over the three kingdoms of Thomond, Corcomroe and Burran are interrupted by the murder of The Brehon of Turlough. Mara, the King’s wife and overseer of the law, must determine the murderer. An attack on the castle, sabotage on the Turlough’s cannon, and the enemy’s deadly trebuchet and guns may completely overshadow bringing a killer to justice.

A wonderfully descriptive opening provides a very picturesque sense of place while also informing us of Mara and her backstory. It’s wonderful to have a protagonist who is not only a woman, but one of power and respected by men. However, there is nothing strident about the character as her power is based on the actual laws of place and time.

Mara is an interesting, fully-developed character about whom you come to care. Her relationship with King Turlough is one to be envied. Some of the young people are particularly enjoyable.

Each chapter begins with information what explains Brehon law and society. One fact I found particularly fascinating was that there was a law pertaining to satire…”The law regards satire as a very severe attack on a persona because it strikes and cuts a log n-enech (literally the ‘price of his face’-but meaning the ‘honor price.) Anything that causes a person to lose face, injures that person and recompense has to be paid.” There is nothing better than to be entertained and educated at the same time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
I try very hard to save five star ratings for books that really make a special impression on me. This was one of those books. I've read other books in the series and have always enjoyed them very much, but this one was so full of suspense and tension that it catapulted onto a different level. Mara, Brehon of the Burren, is a female judge in a specific geographic region of Ireland with this story taking place in 1519 and into 1520. Mara is a 46 year old woman who runs a Law School in one of the three kingdoms ruled by her husband, King Turlough Donn O'Brien. Even though she and Turlough live apart most of the time they have had a warm and loving relationship in their ten year marriage and have one son, Cormac. Mara and her students are going to Bunratty Castle to spend Christmas with Turlough and others gathered at the castle to celebrate the season as well as the twentieth anniversary of his reign as the king of the three regions.

Even though Mara is not usually called upon to be the Brehon (judge) in this different region, circumstances push her into investigating a death which happens during the Christmas festivities. In uncovering the reason for that death she happens upon a larger problem which has an impact on everyone involved in this series. This novel had a plot which was so well constructed that I never guessed where the author was leading. The mystery involved would have been entertaining enough by itself, but when the additional plot element was introduced it signaled a change in the whole dynamic of relationships long established and hints at new possibilities for future novels. Needless to say, this author has added material which will enable her to continue to develop this series over a long period of time. Definitely an absorbing reading experience and highly recommended for readers who enjoy historical mysteries.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ionia Martin on 1 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
From the very first sentence this is an enchanting book with careful descriptions of the setting that bring the story to life. Cora Harrison is a wonderful writer. In a world where it seems that we have seen it all, done it all and read it all before, she reminds the reader why they love literature in the first place with her beautiful word choices and compelling plot.

One of my favourite things about this novel, was the way the plot gently unfolded. It felt very natural and not as if the author had to keep coercing it into behaving as she wished it to. One event sprung from another and there was never a time when I wished this story would hurry along.

The dialogue was excellent and interesting and written exactly as one would expect for a book set in this period. The characters each seemed to have their own way of speaking and reflecting their personality, which is really important in any novel, I believe. Being able to distinguish class, education and so forth from the way a character speaks makes the novel feel so much more alive and believable.

I love historical novels, and I appreciated that this one was researched so well and had such a solid foundation for the story. If you are also interested in historical novels, you can't go wrong with this one.

I recommend it.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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