The Leper's Bell (Sister Fidelma, Book 14)
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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, sister to king of Muman in Ireland, an advocate of the Brehon courts, and a religieuse of the Celtic Church, and her husband Brother Eadulf now must face their most personal and baffling case ever. Is there a traitor at her brother's court? Are the Ui Fidgente, the old blood enemies of Fidelma's family, involved? And what is the role of the mysterious dwarf seen leaving the kingdom carrying a leper's bell? With few clues and precious little time, Fidelma must unravel this complicated puzzle in time to rescue her missing child.
when Sárait, the nurse, tried to defend the baby, they killed her and made off with it.’ Even Eadulf saw the flaws in his argument before Fidelma spoke. He caught her antagonistic movement out of the corner of his eye, and intervened quickly. ‘With respect, Brehon Dathal, that is contradictory to the evidence that we have already discussed.’ Brehon Dathal’s eyes narrowed. ‘What do you mean, Saxon?’ His voice held a degree of restrained belligerence. ‘If Sárait had just chanced to be out at
compressed his lips. Colgú knew how he felt about Fidelma and must know how he felt about his lost child. ‘We must take any opportunity, however slight, of tracking down those responsible for the disappearance of Alchú and returning him to our care.’ The king inclined his head in silence for a moment. ‘Go then you must,’ he sighed. He glanced quickly at Fidelma. ‘You do not look well.’ The beginning of an angry frown crossed her face and then she carefully controlled her expression. ‘There is
Fidelma. ‘How can I help you, lady?’ Fidelma returned his gaze for a moment. ‘You know me?’ Brother Buite inclined his head. ‘I served in the army of your brother at Cnoc Áine. That was where I…’ He reached unconsciously with his right hand across his chest towards his useless left arm, and then his hand dropped back and he shrugged. ‘I know you, lady, and I know of your sorrow. I was in Cashel with my brothers on the night it happened. If there is anything I can do to relieve the pain you
with the pilgrims. They left. I spoke to the leader of the pilgrims and he accepted me as a travelling companion. I had a short time to look round the township and then I joined them as they set off on the highway. At that stage, I decided to play the leper’s part again as it is fine for travelling on the road but no so good in getting accommodation and food.’ ‘But you heard nothing? There was no outcry?’ ‘Outcry?’ The dwarf rubbed his chin. ‘There was, as I say, some fuss and some warriors
abbey’s tower, Eadulf could see across the grey waters of the bay what seemed to be a black tower in the distance, just visible against the darkness of the mountains behind. From that angle, it looked as if the tower was set on the mainland on the northern side of the bay. ‘It doesn’t look so impregnable to me,’ he remarked. The steward shook his head quickly. ‘Do not be misled, Brother Saxon. The stretch of sand that links it to the mainland appears to be firm enough when the tide is out but