Dancing with Demons: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland (Mysteries of Ancient Ireland)
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 prevent the violent fracturing of an increasingly fragile peace.
witnesses to sit in the Great Assembly to hear your report.’ There was a silence while Irél led in Gormflaith and her daughter Muirgel, which caused a great deal of outspoken surprise among the Assembly. They were shown to empty benches guarded by members of the Fianna. Then came the warriors Lugna, Erc and Cuan, the latter closely guarded. All the servants of the High King’s household, Brother Rogallach, Torpach, Brónach, Báine, Cnucha, Maoláin and Duirnín followed. Bishop Luachan, still
this mission?’ Fidelma grimaced. ‘I am saying that I will undertake it for the sake of the memory of Sechnussach. The truth about his assassination deserves to be known. Out of respect and my duty to the next High King, Cenn Faelad and the Great Assembly, I will go to Tara even though it grieves me to desert my son after returning here a short time. But it is fair to be aware of any pitfalls that lie ahead.’ Colgú seemed to relax and he smiled at his sister. ‘We are not always in control of
affirmed that he was, adding, ‘He has his own residence just outside the royal enclosure. But I think he is working at the hall of the Great Assembly.’ Fidelma thought about it but then dismissed the idea. ‘It would be better to see Gormflaith first, without rousing ideas that might prove false,’ she decided. At that moment they saw Caol and Gormán approaching them. The men looked worried. ‘Lady.’ Caol halted. ‘What is the matter?’ asked Fidelma, gazing from him to Gormán. Caol looked
perhaps to the uaimh?’ ‘It is not beyond the realm of possibility,’ agreed Brother Rogallach. ‘But it is speculation,’ Fidelma pointed out, turning her remark to Eadulf. ‘You’ve absolutely no idea what it was that Bishop Luachan brought to the High King that night?’ pressed Eadulf, ignoring her. Brother Rogallach sighed. ‘Only that it was a circular object. The only other person who would have such knowledge is Bishop Luachan himself.’ Eadulf was disappointed. ‘Well,’ Fidelma said, ‘you
did it happen?’ Caol wanted to know. ‘Who did it?’ ‘Dibergach — raiders. They came riding down with their godless battle standard a few days ago and began to slaughter the brethren. I managed to escape and hide in the forest until they had gone. I did not know what to do – whom to trust. Five of the brethren were slaughtered and I am the only survivor.’ ‘Delbna Mór is the next biggest abbey I know of. Why did you not go there?’ ‘Does Delbna Mór still stand?’ queried the man, hopefully. ‘It