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4.0 out of 5 stars Irish History made simple, 30 April 2012
By 
Ruth O'D (Limerick, Ireland) - See all my reviews
Sister Fidelma is exactly the sort of heroine that Lisa Simpson would approve of. She is well-educated, smart, rather pretty and very self confident. In this adventure she is sent by her brother as an ambassador to a bunch of savage pagans in an isolated valley somewhere in Kerry, (I kept thinking of Doone Valley in Lorna Doone!), where she has to solve various gruesome murders. The detective element of these books is quite typical - false trails, unknown motives, reluctant witnesses - quite enjoyable, but nothing special.

The real attraction of this series is the light it sheds on a very unfamiliar period of history. In the seventh century, while the rest of Europe was shrouded in the Dark Ages, Ireland stood out as 'the Land of Saints and Scholars', with a well developed political and legal system, and the Celtic Church was in competition with the Roman Church for the hearts and minds of British and Irish Christians. Peter Tremayne obviously knows this era well and this book is crammed full of details and facts about the Irish 'Brehon law' system as well as the church and civil politics of the day.

In the previous books I read - Absolution by Murder set at the Synod of Whitby and Shroud for the Archbishop in which Fidelma visits Rome - I had found her assertiveness rather annoying ...'How dare a mere woman speak so boldly?' he wondered. Fidelma tossed her long auburn hair, in her homeland it was normal for women to be treated as equal - why were these foreigners so backward... . However, I liked this book alot more. Because it is set in Ireland there was not the constant underlining of how much better things are in her own country, and the characters were more varied and interesting in consequence. I even began to warm to Fidelma herself, and I have to admit to taking a childish pleasure in seeing names of towns and villages that are only a few miles away from me.

These books are generally a light and pleasant read, and once you get into the mystery you don't want to put them down; I tended to finish them in a sitting. The author is inclined to show off his knowledge a bit too obviously, but I find I can easily forgive him since the setting is so unfamiliar and the details and explanations are genuinely interesting. They are not great literature, but enjoyable reading and fascinating history; of the 3 Sister Fidelma books I've read this has been the best, although they do have some progression from one book from the next and maybe should be read in order.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reluctant fan, now hooked., 13 Nov. 2014
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She's feisty, far too beautiful and upper-class to be someone I could take to immediately, although I like her courage and refusal to accept male authority unquestioningly. (Cadfael - the Welshman of the books, not Derek Jacobi on TV - is a much more attractive character, older, more empathic, with a true vocation for the religious life, rather than Fidelma's adoption of religious orders as part of aristocratic/professional/academic life. God as designer accessory!)
Much as I hate Fidelma for her red hair, green eyes, physical prowess - horsemanship, martial arts, coldness, and ruthless devotion to her legal profession, I've got increasingly intrigued by her century, and the diverse cultures of the time, church history and divisions.
The plots become more compelling as you follow the novels and get more drawn into that century. Lots of checking Wikipedia etc, to inform history, mythology, speculation and fiction, which is good - entertainment and enlightenment in one.
So far, I'm fonder of Eadolf, even though he's Saxon, has a bad tonsure, miscalculates the date of Easter, can't quite get his head round women's rights.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Mountains, 21 April 2013
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As with all Sister Fidelma Mysteries, it was a tale with many twists and turns. I was captivated from the first page and could not put it down. I won't tell of any of the plots so as not to give the main themes away. I reccomend this mystery to anyone who enjoys tales set in a wolrd we know nothing of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma) (Paperback)
I absolutely love the Sister Fidelma series and find the books hard to put down. I often wish we still had the Brehon laws - they sound so much fairer!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valley Of The Shadow (A Sister Fidelma Mystery) Kindle Book, 3 Jan. 2013
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An excellent mystery in the series. I highly recommend that readers start at the beginning of the series with "Absolution by Murder".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another success in the series, 19 Dec. 2013
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Enjoyable reading if one likes to double a good mystery with historical information regarding the ancient kingdoms and laws of Ireland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. I just cannot believe that the books can ..., 6 July 2014
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Wonderful. I just cannot believe that the books can get better each time I read a new one. They always keep me guessing. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read., 25 Mar. 2013
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Anthony Cassar (GUDJA, MALTA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma) (Paperback)
One of the best books of Sister Fidelma series. I recommend to anyone who love mysterious to buy these books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read I am really enjoying the Sister Fidelma, 23 Mar. 2015
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great read
I am really enjoying the Sister Fidelma stories
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma) (Paperback)
such a pleasant read
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Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma)
Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma) by Peter Tremayne (Paperback - 13 Aug. 1998)
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