Sacrifice by Philip Freeman

Sacrifice, A Celtic Adventure
By Philip Freeman

ISBN: 978-1-60598-889-4

A killer seems to be targeting the nuns of St. Brigid’s Order in Kildare, but why?

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“. . . compelling mystery . . .”

Set in sixth century Ireland, this suspenseful mystery’s atmosphere of conflict and fear reflects the distrust between the clans who still revere the druidic religion, the clans who converted to Christianity, and King Dunlaing, who tenuously rules them. It is a time of political tensions and religious fervor. Clothed in historical and religious details of this period in Irish history, the story exposes that a violent resolution to different belief systems is not beneficial to any caught in this misunderstanding.

In this compelling mystery, Deirde, a nun at St. Brigid’s Monastery, is assigned the task of solving the gruesome murder of Sister Grainne, who was killed in an ancient, almost forgotten, druidic ritual. According to Sister Anna, the Abbess of the Order, Deirde is the only person who can solve this murder since she is both a Christian by choice and a Druid by heritage. As events escalate, Deirde is expelled from the Order and returns to her druidic role as a bard in order to abolish the fears of her countrymen, but, instead, is faced with even more horrendous murders. Racing time, she discovers the clues and assumptions she has so depended upon are false. Struggling to find the killer before another nun is murdered, she also wrestles with reconciling her druidic teachings with those of Christianity.

The clash of religious beliefs results in acts of violence: her Druid Grandmother is severely injured when a Christian clan burns her farm, and the eastern clans and the western clans march to war, as the king attempts to inspire tolerance and understanding. Hoping to prevent the impending bloodshed and according to ancient druidic rituals, Deirde, the druidic bard, rushes between the armies. Her surprising revelation of the serial-murderer’s identity shames both armies and begins a hesitant truce between the religious factions. However, religious conflict continues in the minds of all, especially Deirde unable to reconcile the two faiths.

Reviewer: C. L. Collins