"The action is tense and gripping...a compelling, enjoyable adventure." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer on The Monk Who Vanished
In the late 7th Century, the High King of Ireland is killed at night in the middle of his compound. Who killed him is not in question - there are unimpeachable witnesses that point directly to the clan chieftain responsible. Dubh Duin is, after all, found by the High King's guards in the High King's bed chamber holding the murder weapon. But with impending civil war in the balance, the motive for the murder becomes of paramount importance.
The Chief Brehon of Ireland asks Fidelma of Cashel - sister to the King of Muman and a dailagh - to investigate. What her investigations reveal is an intricate web of conspiracy and deception that threatens to unbalance the five kingdoms and send them spiralling into a violent and bloody civil war and religious conflict. And it's up to Fidelma to not only see to justice but to private the violent fracturing of an increasingly fragile peace.
Dispatched to investigate, Fidelma and her companion Eadulf discover that the man facing punishment is Gormán—commander of the King’s bodyguard. But Fidelma cannot believe Gormán would carry out such an act—and yet he was found locked in a chamber with the body, weapon in hand. The evidence is stacked against him.
If they are to exonerate Gormán and keep the peace between the kingdoms, Fidelma and Eadulf must find the true culprit. As the threat of war looms, the date of execution drawers ever closer...
When the debate quickly becomes acrimonious, a local abbess has to step in as a mediator between the two sides. But not even a day later her body is discovered, bludgeoned to death. The Chief Brehon Aillín accuses young Egric of murder, and suspicions and tempers run high. With the war of words threatening to spill over into bloodshed, Fidelma is sure there is something more sinister behind the murder than religious differences, and she is resolved to find out what really happened-and why.