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Oct 28, 2014

Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure by Philip Freeman

Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure by Philip Freeman
Pegasus Books, October 2014
240 pages, Historical Fiction

In an evocative Celtic novel set in a time when druids roamed the land, lively young sister Deirdre embarks on a mission to find the stolen bones of her convent’s patron saint.
In ancient Ireland, an island ruled by kings and druids, the nuns of Saint Brigid are fighting to keep their monastery alive. When the bones of Brigid go missing from their church, the theft threatens to destroy all they have worked for. No one knows the danger they face better than Sister Deirdre, a young nun torn between two worlds.
Trained as a bard and raised by a druid grandmother, she must draw upon all of her skills, both as a bard and as a nun, to find the bones before the convent begins to lose faith.
In this swiftly told tale set in Ancient Ireland, Sister Diedre is tasked with the most important job of the monastery at Kildare: to retrieve the stolen bones of Saint Brigid. Without the bones for pilgrims to come pay homage to, the nuns and those they care for will not survive for very long without the donations from visitors seeking healing from the precious relics. 

The author proves his intellect and research within the first person narrative of Sister Diedre as he deftly sets up the mystery and even manages to flesh out Sister Diedre's character as we wonder if she should have even become a nun in the first place. There was a short period within the telling where I wondered if I had missed a previous novel featuring Diedre's story, but we slowly learn the secrets of her past before she dedicated her life to the monastery. Diedre is a strong and willful young woman who was also a skilled bard with a few suitors at her doorstep. While she seeks answers to the mystery of the saint's bones, she encounters ruffians and piratical lords as well as several kings of the lands of Ancient Ireland. I was surprised that so much could occur within the seemingly short novel yet the pacing and suspense were very well stylized, and I was happy to see the Philip Freeman plans on publishing a second novel featuring the lively Sister Diedre.