St. Martin's, May 2004, 24.95, 320 pp.
Sister Fidelma of Cashel, daughter and sister to kings, is in what will become Great Britain with her Saxon husband Brother Eudolf, the emissary to Theodore, the Arch-bishop of Canterbury. After they are through with their business they travel to Aldred's Abbey to meet Brother Botulf who begged for a midnight meeting. Before they reach the abbey, they are caught in a storm and find shelter with “Mad” Mull who warns them that the place they seek is evil.
By the time they reach Aldred's Abbey, Fidelma is sick and Abbot Cild doesn't want a female in residence. He doesn't follow the Celtic Church but is a fanatic about obeying the rules coming out of Rome. Brother Botulf was murdered that morning and when Cild sees the ghost of his dead wife, he locks up Fidelma because he thinks she's a witch. When she is better, Fidelma and Eudolf escape but she must still solve the mystery of the death of Cild's wife and Brother Botulf if she wants to avert a war between two kingdoms.
The two protagonists are married under Irish law for a year and a day, but Fidelma realizes she can never be happy in Eudolf's homeland where women are treated as chattel. She does not have the power to question witnesses or give testimony and must tiptoe around the beliefs of the South Folk if she wants to bring the guilty to justice.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner