cover image Night of the Lightbringer

Night of the Lightbringer

Peter Tremayne. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8817-4

At the start of Tremayne’s solid 28th whodunit set in seventh-century Ireland (after 2017’s Penance of the Damned), the Biblos Iakobos, a heretical book considered a serious threat to Christianity for its contention that Jesus was just a mortal rabbi, disappears from the papal palace in Rome. The thieves are visitors from the Five Kingdoms of Éire, whose inhabitants “prefer their own interpretations of the Faith to the wisdom that Rome can offer them.” A church representative travels to Ireland to retrieve the incendiary volume. Meanwhile, in the region of Ireland ruled by King Colgú, the brother of series lead Sister Fidelma, a shepherd’s corpse is found concealed at the base of a woodpile to be used for a bonfire for a pre-Christian festival. The ritualistic way the man was killed suggests that he was a victim of the so-called threefold death. Sister Fidelma, who serves as Colgú’s legal adviser, investigates. Her solution of the shepherd’s murder is both plausible and satisfying, as is the eventual integration of the Biblos Iakobos plot line. Tremayne effectively explores the era’s religious schisms. Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (May)