Written by Peter Tremayne (pseudonym of Peter Berresford Ellis), The Sister Fidelma series is a historical mystery series taking us back to the 7th century.
Sister Fidelma is an Eognacht princess and sister to the king of Cashel, a religieuse of the Celtic Church, and an advocate of the Brehornn court. With the help of her partner Brother Eadulf, a Saxon monk, she solves crime, mainly in Ireland.
How to read the Sister Fidelma Series in Order?
This list is only about the Sister Fidelma book series. For more information about the short stories, you can find a publication order on the International Sister Fidelma Society.
- Absolution By Murder – In A.D. 664, King Oswy of Northumbria convened a synod at Whitby to hear debate between the Roman and Celtic Christian churches and decide which shall be granted primacy in his kingdom. At stake is much more than a few disputed points of ritual; Oswy’s decision could affect the survival of either church in the Saxon kingdoms.
- Shroud for the Archbishop – Wighard, Archbishop designate of Canterbury, has been found dead, garrotted in his chambers in Rome’s Lateran Palace in the autumn of A.D. 664. His murderer seems apparent to all, since an Irish religieux was arrested by the palace guards as he fled Wighard’s chamber, but the monk denies responsibility for the crime, and the treasures missing from Wighard’s chambers are nowhere to be found.
- Suffer Little Children – In A.D. 644, the Venerable Dacan, a respected scholar of the Celtic Church, is murdered while on a visit to the Abbey of Ros Ailithir in the Irish Kingdom of Muman. Dacan, unfortunately, was the close confidant of the hot-headed young king of the neighboring kingdom of Fearna, who is using Dacan’s murder as an excuse to provoke war.
- The Subtle Serpent – In the year 666 A.D., a headless female corpse is found in the drinking well of a remote abbey in southwest Ireland: clasped in one hand is a crucifix; tied to the other arm is a pagan death symbol. Sister Fidelma–sister to the king of Muman, a religieuse, and an advocate of the Brehon law courts–is sent to investigate.
- The Spider’s Web – In the spring of 666 A.D., Sister Fidelma is summoned to the small Irish village of Araglin. An advocate of the Brehon law courts as well as a religious, she is to investigate the murder of the local chieftain.
- Valley of the Shadow – In Ireland of A.D. 666, Sister Fidelma is sent by her brother, Colgu of Cashel, the king of Muman, to the remote valley of Gleann Geis, whose inhabitants still adhere to the ancient Druidic ways. Her mission is to negotiate with the chieftain Laisre for permission to build a Christian church and school in his territory.
- The Monk Who Vanished – In September of 666 A.D., an aged monk and a set of relics disappear during the night from the Abbey of Imleach. The missing monk is a matter of great concern for the abbey. But the relics are a disaster of a much higher order. The relics themselves are the political symbol of the entire kingdom and their disappearance threatens to disrupt its continued peace and stability. Sister Fidelma is asked to investigate.
- Act of Mercy – In the late autumn of 666 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel is at a crossroads. Needing to reflect upon her commitment to the religious life and her relationship to the Saxon monk Eadulf, she leaves Eadulf behind and joins a small band sailing from Ireland on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James in modern-day Spain. Her first surprise on board is the appearance of Cian, her first love, a man who had deserted her ten years ago, and who stirs up memories she’d rather forget.
- Hemlock at Vespers – Short Stories. In this collection of short mysteries, Peter Tremayne fills in many of the background details of Fidelma and seventh-century Ireland not found in the novels and weaves his always-beguiling mix of history and mystery.
- Our Lady of Darkness – Sister Fidelma returns hastily from a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James. The news that brings her back is that her companion and friend, the Saxon monk Brother Eadulf, is under arrest for a serious crime in the neighboring kingdom of Laigin. Riding furiously through hostile territory, she arrives only to find out she is too late. Eadulf has already been tried and found guilty of the murder of a young girl.
- Smoke in the Wind – In seventh-century Ireland, then the light of reason in a darkening world, Fidelma is an increasingly notable figure often called upon for her wisdom, legal knowledge, and devotion to the truth. While journeying with companion Eadulf to visit the new Archbishop of Canterbury, their ship is blown badly off course and the pair find themselves on the coast of modern Wales in the kingdom of Dyfed.
- The Haunted Abbot – In December of 666 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel and her companion Brother Eadulf, having completed their business with the Archbishop of Canterbury, make one final journey before returning to Ireland. At the insistence of Brother Botulf, a childhood friend of Eadulf, they detour from their trip to Eadulf’s home village and make their way to Aldred’s Abbey. Arriving at midnight on the night of the old pagan festival of Yule, as requested, they find Botulf’s dead body.
- Badger’s Moon – In October of 667 A.D., Fidelma is struggling with her most challenging role yet, that of mother to her infant son Alchu. So it is with mixed feelings that she receives the summons from Abbot Brogan. There have been a series of shocking murders that have terrorized the villagers near the Abbey of Finbarr; three young girls have been violently slaughtered – one per month on the night of the full moon, the most recent only days before during the badger’s moon, October’s full moon.
- The Leper’s Bell – In November of 667 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel has returned home to her brother’s castle to discover that a servant, her son’s nurse, has been found brutally murdered in the woods near town, and her son is missing, presumed kidnapped or worse. Sister Fidelma and her husband Brother Eadulf now must face their most personal and baffling case ever.
- Whispers of the Dead – Short Stories. Fidelma of Cashel returns in this new collection of fifteen tales. These stories of murder, mayhem, and mystery are not merely spellbinders but also provide insight into the ways and mores of the complex, fascinating society of seventh-century Ireland as well as heretofore unrevealed background details of Fidelma herself.
- Master of Souls – In January of 668 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel is called to investigate the brutal murder of Abbess Faife and the mysterious disappearance of six young female religieuses accompanying her on a short pilgrimage away from her abbey. When Sister Fidelma and her husband, Brother Eadulf, arrive they find that there has been another death under mysterious circumstances.
- A Prayer for the Damned – In February of 668 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel and her companion Eadulf are about to get permanently married. As the sister to the King of Muman, Fidelma’s marriage ceremony is a major event; the High King of Ireland, as well as other kings and major figures, are going to be in attendance. On the eve of the ceremony, the fanatical and much disliked Abbot Ultan is found murdered in his chamber and one of the distinguished guests, the King of Connacht, is accused of the crime.
- Dancing with Demons – 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 – some unimpeachable witnesses 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 Council of the Cursed – In 670 A.D. Fidelma of Cashel is asked to act as an advisor to the Irish delegation to a church council hostile to the Celtic Church. In an abbey in Burgundy, Bishop Leodegar of Autun has assembled church leaders from all over Western Europe-an assembly that soon descends into chaos. That night, one of the delegates is found murdered, his skull crushed and Fidelma and her companion, Brother Eadulf, are suddenly in the midst of a murder investigation involving some of the most powerful religious leaders.
- The Dove of Death – 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.
- The Chalice of Blood – 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?
- Behold A Pale Horse – (takes place after Shroud for the Archbishop) In 664 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel takes an unexpected detour on her trip home from Rome. While in the port at Genua, Fidelma receives word that one of her old teachers, Brother Ruadan, is reaching the end of his days. Determined to see her old mentor one last time, Fidelma takes the treacherous journey to a remote abbey in the countryside.
- The Seventh Trumpet – 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.
- Atonement Of Blood – Winter, 670 AD. King Colgú has invited the leading nobles and chieftains of his kingdom to a feast day. 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 put the king himself on the verge of death.
- The Devil’s Seal – Ireland, AD 671. When a curious deputation of religieux arrives in Cashel, death follows close behind. Sister Fidelma and her companion, Eadulf, seem unable to stem the bloodshed. Is one of the deputants responsible? What was the Venerable Verax, the scholar from Rome, hiding? Was there an evil secret behind the austere Bishop Arwald? Indeed, what was the real reason behind Eadulf’s brother Egric’s unexpected appearance at Cashel – could he be the culprit?
- The Second Death – Ireland, AD 671. The Great Fair of Bealtain is almost upon the fortress of Cashel, and a line of painted wagons carries entertainers to mark the occasion. But preparations take a deathly turn when one carriage is set alight, and two corpses are found, lying poisoned, within.
- Penance of the Damned – Ireland, AD 671. King Colgú of Cashel is shocked to learn that his loyal Chief Bishop and advisor has been murdered in the old enemy fortress of the Uí Fidgente. When word reaches Cashel that the culprit will be executed under the new law, a larger conflict looms.
- Night of the Lightbringer – Ireland, AD 671. On the eve of the pagan feast of Samhain, Brother Edulf and the warrior, Aidan, discover a man murdered in an unlit pyre in the heart of Cashel. He has been dressed in the robes of a religieux and killed by the ritualistic ‘three deaths’.
- Bloodmoon – Ireland. AD 671. Sister Fidelma has a mission, and she is sworn by oath to reveal her purpose to no other. The secret investigation leads Fidelma and her companions to the abbey of Finnbarr to question the abbot. But before they have a chance to speak to him, the abbot is found murdered – and the young girl suspected of the crime has fled the scene.
- Blood in Eden – Ireland. AD 672. The hamlet of Cloichín is said to be a veritable Eden, with its prosperous farms and close-knit, friendly community. But when Sister Fidelma and Eadulf arrive, a new priest has ordered the villagers to lynch a man accused of murdering a local farmer, his wife, and two sons. The only evidence they hold against him is the fact that he is a stranger to their land.
- The Shapeshifter’s Lair – Ireland. AD 672. The body of a dead man has been found on a lonely mountain road and taken to the isolated abbey of Gleann Da Loch for a proper burial. The abbot quickly identifies him as Brehon Brocc, who had been traveling to the abbey on a secret mission with Princess Gelgeis and her steward. When news reaches Colgu, King of Muman, that his betrothed, Princess Gelgeis, has disappeared, Fidelma with her trusted companions, Eadulf and Enda, enter the hostile Kingdom of Laigin in search of the truth.
- The House of Death – Ireland. AD 672. The Feast of Beltaine is approaching, and the seven senior princes of the kingdom of Muman are gathering at Cashel to discuss King Colgú’s policies. Just days before the council meets, Brother Conchobhar, the keeper of the sacred sword, is found murdered. Sister Fidelma and her brother, Colgú, fear that the killer has been trying to steal the sword that symbolizes the king’s authority to rule. As rumors begin to spread of an attempt to overthrow Colgú, news reaches Cashel that a plague ship has landed at a nearby port, bringing the deadly pestilence to its shores. Amid fear and panic, Fidelma, Eadulf, and Enda must work together to catch a killer as the death toll starts to mount….
- Death of a Heretic – Ireland. AD 672. The abbey of Muman at Imleach Iubhair is being renovated when its guests’ hostel burns to the ground. There is one fatality: Bishop Brodulf of Luxovium, a distinguished visitor and cousin to the King of Franks. Sister Fidelma is asked by Abbot Cuán to investigate the unfortunate incident and soon finds that the bishop had been stabbed to death before the fire had even started.
- Revenge of the Stormbringer – Summer, AD 672. Princess Gelgéis has arrived in Cashel with her bodyguard, a troop of female warriors called the Daughters of the Storm. When one of them is found slain next to the sleeping chamber of the newly married king and queen and, a short time later, the stewardess of the royal house is poisoned, questions are raised as to everyone’s safety … Fidelma and Eadulf must first explain the ‘locked room’ mystery of how the attack took place in King Colgu’s specially built secure apartment.
If you like Sister Fidelma, you may also want to take a look at the Hugh Corbett series, Brother Cadfael, or Candace Robb’s Owen Archer series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.