Atonement of Blood (Book Acquired, Sometime in Early July, 2014)

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Atonement of Blood is historical mystery fiction by Peter Tremayne. Publisher’s blurb:

Winter, 670 AD. King Colgú has invited the leading nobles and chieftains of his kingdom to a feast day. Fidelma and her companion Eadulf are finally home for an extended stay, and have promised their son, Alchú, that they’ll be able to spend some time together after months of being on the road, investigating crimes. Fidelma and Eadulf are enjoying the feast when it is interrupted by the entrance of a religieux, who claims he has an important message for the King. He approaches the throne and shouts ‘Remember Liamuin!’ and then stabs King Colgú. The assassin is slain, but does enough damage to take out Colgú’s bodyguard, and to put the king himself on the verge of death.

As King Colgú lies in recovery, Fidelma, Eadulf, and bodyguard Gormán are tasked with discovering who is behind the assassination attempt, and who Liamuin is. They must journey into the territory of their arch-enemies, the Uí Fidgente, to uncover the secrets in the Abbey of Mungairit, and then venture into the threatening mountain territory ruled by a godless tyrant. Danger and violence are their constant companions until the final devastating revelation.

The Seventh Trumpet (Book Acquired, 7.01.2013)

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The Seventh Trumpet, another mystery from Peter Tremayne. Publisher Minotaur’s blurb:

When a murdered corpse of an unknown young noble is discovered, Fidelma of Cashel is brought in to investigate

Ireland, AD 670. When the body of a murdered young noble is discovered not far from Cashel, the King calls upon his sister, Fidelma, and her companion Eadulf to investigate. Fidelma, in addition to being the sister of the king, is a dailaigh—an advocate of the Brehon Law Courts—and has a particular talent for resolving the thorniest of mysteries.

But this time, Fidelma and Eadulf have very little to work with—the only clue to the noble’s identity is an emblem originating from the nearby kingdom of Laign. Could the murder be somehow related to the wave of violence erupting in the western lands of the kingdom? The turmoil there is being stirred up by an unknown fanatical figure who claims to have been summoned by “the seventh angel” to remove the “impure of faith.” Fidelma and Eadulf, once again grappling with a tangled skein of murder and intrigue, must somehow learn what connects the dead noble, a murdered alcoholic priest, and an abbot who has turned his monastery into a military fortress. When it appears that things cannot get more complex, Fidelma herself is abducted, and Eadulf must rescue her before the mystery can be solved.

 

Books Acquired, 10.08.2011

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Two reader copies in the mail today. First up, Picador’s new tpb edition of Ian Morris’s Why the West Rules—For Now. This is a big, chunky book. Haven’t had a chance to dip into it yet, but it looks promising, and I recall it receiving positive reviews last year when it debuted in hardback. From the NYT

Fortunately, Morris is a lucid thinker and a fine writer. He uses a minimum of academic jargon and is possessed of a welcome sense of humor that helps him guide us through this grand game of history as if he were an erudite sportscaster. He shows us how different empires were boosted by periods of “axial thought” to surge up the development ladder, only to crumble upon hitting a “hard ceiling,” usually inflicted by what he calls the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse: climate change, migration, famine, epidemic and state failure.

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The Chalice of Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland continues Peter Tremayne’s medieval mystery series. Tremayne is the pseudonym of Peter Berresford Ellis, a historian who specializes in the ancient Celts. And while history informs his writing, Tremayne delivers the thrills and dark puzzles that mystery readers demand. Publisher’s description—

Ireland AD 670: When an eminent scholar is found murdered in his cell in the Abbey of Lios Mor, fear spreads among his brethren. His door was secured from the inside, with no other means of exit.  How did the murderer escape? And what was the content of the manuscripts apparently stolen from the scholar’s room?
Abbot Iarnla insists on sending for Sister Fidelma and her companion Brother Eadulf to investigate the killing.  But even before they reach the abbey walls, there is an attempt on their lives. As the mystery deepens, Fidelma and Eadulf must also wrestle with problems of their own, problems which threaten to separate them forever…

Books Acquired, 9.15.2011

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The kind people at Minotaur (St. Martin’s) sent Biblioklept a hefty little stack of new titles in several of the genres the press specializes in. (The box arrived yesterday but I didn’t have the time to put this post together until today). The first is a mystery, Mignon F. Ballard’s Miss Dimple Disappears

It is 1942, and most of the men in the town of Elderberry, Georgia, have gone to war. One frosty morning just before Thanksgiving, young schoolmistress Charlie Carr and her fellow teachers are startled to find that the school custodian, Wilson “Christmas” Malone, has neglected to stoke the furnace or empty the wastebaskets—and then is found dead in a broom closet, the apparent victim of a heart attack. But when Miss Dimple Kilpatrick, who is as dependable as gravity and has taught Elderberry first graders—including Charlie—for nearly forty years, disappears the following day, town residents are shaken down to their worn, rationed shoes. Knowing that Miss Dimple would never willingly abandon her students, Charlie and her friend Annie begin sleuthing—and uncover danger surprisingly close to home.

20110916-111440.jpgOkay, I’m not crazy about the cover for Jeri Westerson’s medieval noir The Demon’s Parchment, I dipped into it this morning (the genre seemed intriguing) and the writing is sharp and precise. Publisher’s description—

In fourteenth century London, Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight convicted of treason and stripped of his land, title and his honor. He has become known as the “Tracker”—a man who can find anything, can solve any puzzle and, with the help of his apprentice, Jack Tucker, an orphaned street urchin with a thief ’s touch—will do so for a price. But this time, even Crispin is wary of taking on his most recent client. Jacob of Provencal is a Jewish physician at the King’s court, even though all Jews were expelled from England nearly a century before. Jacob wants Crispin to find stolen parchments that might be behind the recent, ongoing, gruesome murders of young boys, parchments that someone might have used to bring forth a demon which now stalks the streets and alleys of London.

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Tasha Alexander’s Dangerous to Know looks to be somewhere between a bodice-ripper and a body ripper. Not really my thing, but I’m sure the book will find an audience interested in historical fiction that mixes romance and suspense. The title band reminds me of a candy wrapper. Publisher’s description—

Set in the lush countryside of Normandy, France, this new novel of suspense featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves is filled with intrigue, romance, mysterious deaths, and madness.

Returning from her honeymoon with Colin Hargreaves and a near brush with death in Constantinople, Lady Emily convalesces at her mother-in-law’s beautiful estate in Normandy. But the calm she so desperately seeks is shattered when, out riding a horse, she comes upon the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. The girl’s wounds are identical to those inflicted on the victims of Jack the Ripper, who has wreaked havoc across the channel in London. Emily feels a connection to the young woman and is determined to bring the killer to justice.

       Pursuing a trail of clues and victims to the beautiful medieval city of Rouen and a crumbling château in the country, Emily begins to worry about her own sanity: She hears the cries of a little girl she cannot find and discovers blue ribbons left in the child’s wake. As Emily is forced to match wits with a brilliant and manipulative killer, only her courage, keen instincts, and formidable will to win can help her escape becoming his next victim.

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Peter Tremayne’s The Dove of Death  (“A Mystery of Ancient Ireland”) was the title in these four that I found most intriguing. Again, I dipped into it this morning, and Tremayne’s prose is tight, precise, and propelled by dialogue—just what you might look for in a page-turner. Description—

In A.D. 670, an Irish merchant ship is attacked by a pirate vessel off the southern coast of the Breton peninsula. Merchad, the ship’s captain, and Bressal, a prince from the Irish kingdom of Muman, are killed in cold blood after they have surrendered. Among the other passengers who manage to escape the slaughter are Fidelma of Cashel and her faithful companion, Brother Eadulf.Once safely ashore, Fidelma—sister to the King of Muman and an advocate of the Brehon law courts—is determined to bring the killers to justice, not only because her training demands it but also because one of the victims was her cousin. The only clue to the killer’s identity is the symbol of the dove on the attacking ship’s sails, a clue that leads her on a dangerous quest to confront the man known as The Dove of Death.