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Behold a Pale Horse (Sister Fidelma, #22)
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Behold a Pale Horse (Sister Fidelma #22)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  341 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
The brilliant new novel by the internationally bestselling author of the Sister Fidelma mystery series.

AD 664: Sister Fidelma finds herself in the seaport of Genua, en route from Rome back to her native Cashel. Her old teacher, Brother Ruadn, lies dying in the abbey of Bobium - an isolated abbey in a disturbed country where even the Christians are in bloody conflict with o
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Hardcover, 370 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Headline (first published July 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Danny
Aug 11, 2012 Danny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Historical mysteries may seem like a non-starter. After all, these days we have such an abundance of crime-based TV shows featuring technological wonders that you may wonder how many surprises a nun from ancient Ireland could possibly provide.

The answer, as you've probably guessed, is plenty. In the very first scene Sister Fidelma proves she can handle herself when attacked by a man holding a cudgel. She's in the city of Genua waiting for a ship back to her homeland when she sees two thugs follo
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Celia
Jun 03, 2013 Celia rated it it was ok
This is another puzzle mystery involving the Irish nun and lawyer, Sister Fidelma of Cashel. Fidelma is stuck in Italy when the ship she was going to go home in is wrecked. She tries to save an elderly cleric from being attacked in the street and ends up going to a monastery in the mountains that had been founded by the Irish St. Columbanus, with the purpose of seeing her old mentor, who is apparently dying. As usual, all sorts of mysterious things are going on in the abbey, and the surrounding ...more
Robert Mitchell
Feb 12, 2015 Robert Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Peter Tremayne is one of my favorite authors. He never fails to spin a great yarn, interspersed with church history and its theological controversies. In BEHOLD we are treated to a story fueled by the savage Arianism controversy which raged in the early Church. Unless you went to seminary or studied the history of Christianity, you probably would miss what was behind the violence, even though Tremayne goes out of his way to try to explain what's going on.
I never cease to be amazed at Tremayne's
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Bobbie N
The 22nd in the Sister Fidelma series actually takes place immediately after the events of Shroud for the Archbishop, the series' number two (the author's note at the novel's beginning explains why). It is 664 AD, and Fidelma is on her way home to Cashel after completing her busines in Rome. Her journey is delayed in Genoa, where she learns that one of her childhood teachers is nearing the end of his life. She determines to see him one last time, and journeys to the remote abbey where he is now ...more
Willowblue
Jan 13, 2015 Willowblue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Many details on historical information I was unaware of. The more I read the more I wanted to read. I am quite sure I will read more of this series.
Shannon Hollinger
Jan 04, 2016 Shannon Hollinger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
This is the story of a book that I never would have chosen for myself. A story that begins in my local bookstore, an overstock and remainder shop where you can get new books at a fantastic price. The only problem is that your options are a bit limited, but if you’re up for trying something new, this is a great place to be. The shop owner and I were discussing our reading preferences.

Me: “Mysteries are my favorites, but it’s been a long time since I actually chose a book from the mystery section.
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Laura Edwards
Oct 30, 2014 Laura Edwards rated it really liked it
Seeing that the book was set six years in the past from the previous in the series, I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised and truly enjoyed the book. A great many suspects to choose from and I was not certain of all the conspirators until the end.

One complaint. While Tremayne is very adept at juggling the vagaries and nuances of ancient history, he seems woefully shortsighted and inadequate when in regards to Sister Fidelma's personal history. I have mentioned before his mis
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Marleen
Jul 19, 2012 Marleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bib-dilbeek
This is my first Peter Tremayne book. I had never heard of the Sister Fidelma mysteries before discovering it at my local library just last week, and I was intrigued by the subject matter.
It’s not that I disliked this book, because I'll admit enjoying the author’s style & prose. The fact is that I just couldn’t get into the story.
In my opinion, it’s because this is not the first instalment of the series – this is actually number 22 in the Sister Fidelma mysteries – and I suppose I’m missin
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Shirley Schwartz
Oct 23, 2011 Shirley Schwartz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-reads
This is the best Sister Fidelma book I've read in years! I love this series because of its authenticity. This book is set in 664 AD and contrary to other books this book is not sequential. Instead we go back to Fidelma just after she has left Rome after solving a puzzling murder there. She is on her way home from Italy, and makes a detour to go to an abbey to visit her old mentor who is dying. Here she finds that her old mentor is grievously injured, and she uncovers a web of murder and lies tie ...more
Kathy Davie
Sep 06, 2014 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history
Series (Published): Sister Fidelma, 22

Series (Chronologically): Sister Fidelma, 3


This is the twenty-second installment in the Sister Fidelma medieval mystery series, but the action takes place after Shroud for the Archbishop which places it in the number 3 slot chronologically. It's the summer of 664 and Sister Fidelma finds herself stranded in Italy on her way home from the activity in Rome. The action in this story takes place in the then Abbey of Bobium (today's Abbey of Bobbio).

My Take
I do
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Abby Tamkin
Jan 20, 2016 Abby Tamkin rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2016
Fun book. Very easy read. The mystery was pretty good, and I thought the trail of bread crumbs was well laid from the beginning, though there were lots of red herrings.
The writing style was pretty simplistic, but I kinda rushed through the book and didn't take much time to appreciate it.
The history is fascinating, and I think I will read more in this series for the sake of the history at least, and for Fidelma, as she seems like a cool person to follow.
Susan
Jul 25, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
In 664 A.D, Sister Fidelma of Cashel takes an unexpected journey after a shipwreck on her way home from Rome. She hears that one of her girlhood teachers, Brother Ruadan, has been seriously injured and decides to visit a remote abbey in the mountains of northern Italy to see him one last time. Brother Ruadan is barely conscious but does manage to convey a warning of a great evil. An intriguing addition to the series.
Christine Ku
Apr 08, 2016 Christine Ku rated it really liked it
This is the first book of Peter Tremayne I read and I was attracted straight away because a) I was fond of Ellis Peters and b) fantasy and mystery were the only genres that I read and both Peter Tremayne and Ellis Peters seem to be combined these two genres in one book for me in their works. In this book, almost every single chapters ends in a cliffhanger and I was hooked.
Brace1737
Jun 24, 2016 Brace1737 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You should know that this novel is set completely in Italy and not Ireland. The first 120 pages are really S-L-O-W.

This is the second book of the Sister Fidelma series that I have read. The book has several murders for Sister to investigate, yet this is more an historical novel than a mystery novel. You might want to look for another book in this series to read before you get to this one.
Gail Hamilton
Apr 28, 2014 Gail Hamilton rated it really liked it
Unlike many of the other mysteries featuring Sister Fidelma, this was set in Northern Italy, not Ireland. It was a very entertaining mystery and kept my guessing until the end.
Michel Harenczyk
Apr 26, 2014 Michel Harenczyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toujours un plaisir, la lecture des aventures de Sister Fidelma. N'hésitez pas vous serez séduit par l'enquête et la connaissance de ce Moyen Âge . Si moderne
Kathy Nealen
Aug 21, 2012 Kathy Nealen rated it really liked it
I have been reading the Sister Fidelma mystery series for years. I enjoy learning about Ancient Irish (Hibernian) culture through reading these books as well as the usual enjoyment of the mystery. Most of the books in the series follow Sister Fidelma through her life in chronological order. Most of the books are set in Ireland. This book is an exception to both of the above. It is set in an earlier time in her life (but not before the series started); and, its location is Italy. It was interesti ...more
Mark Stone
I'm unsure what to write here. There were parts of this story I enjoyed, but...

With this being #22 in the Sister Fidelma series, it was easy to tell Mr. Tremayne had wearied writing about the character. To whom would I recommend this book? Only those who are deeply invested in the series. Before this I had read one other entry (The Haunted Abbot). I thought that book fabulous so I'll be continuing with Sister Fidelma, most likely with the first of the series (Absolution by Murder).
Dale
Dec 23, 2012 Dale rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, history, ireland
I had just about given up on this series - the plots and characters are generally interesting, but Tremayne has a repetitively pedantic style that gets a bit hard to take.

But this latest is an improvement. Maybe because it is set in northern Italy, slightly outside the center of Tremayne's obsessions, you are allowed to enjoy the story without quite so many teaching moments.

This is also the only novel in the series that is out of sequence, so you get a refreshing view of the main character, Fide
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James Krauss
Dec 18, 2014 James Krauss rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful in giving insight to the religious orders and in lower Europe during the 600's. The writing was easy to read and the logic in solving the mystery was flawless.
Margaret Sankey
Jan 09, 2013 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Having taken the dysfunctional relationship of Fidelma and Eadulf about as far as readers can stand without resolution, Tremayne backs up to the earliest days of Fidelma's career as a lawyer/detective for a side trip to Bobbio in Northern Italy, where an abbey is caught between two feuding Lombard warlords and factions of Arian and Nicene Christianity. I read these about once a year when a new one comes out, but more often than that bring out the Mary Sue, 7th Century Ireland is better in every ...more
Deborah
Sep 01, 2013 Deborah rated it liked it
Mix together 6th century Ireland, Britain, Catholics, about-to-be Episcopalians, religious friction, then add a murder or several, shake well with engaging characters and I had a very fun and interesting read.

The pseudonymous author is a Celtic scholar, so the history seems to be solid (at least from what little I know of 6th century anything). The writing is very fluid, mixing in Latin and English, and the stories are interesting.

This is one of the latest in the series. Now will start from the
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Tequila
Aug 12, 2012 Tequila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this Sister Fidelma mystery, in part because it is a jaunt back in time in Fidelma's life to when she was unencumbered by husband, baby, post-partum depression and crippling religious doubt which could cause a permanent rift between her and Brother Eadulf. Who doesn't enjoy the 9th century nun who can swashbuckle with the best of them? Though one often wonders why medieval abbeys were such dangerous places. At least a half dozen of their residents and neighbors seem to die every ...more
Argum
Randomly this book takes place out of sequence back on Fidelma's journey home from Rome. No Eadulf back to that do I like him blah blah. It was nice to see Fidelma with a different partner and not knowing who to trust. She is in Genoa and sees an attack on a brother through this she learns that the mentor of her childhood is ailing nearby and takes an impromptu trip to the countryside to visit him. Deaths abound and a war plot thickens.
Rosemary Allix
Mar 08, 2012 Rosemary Allix rated it really liked it
Was delighted to find a new Sister Fidelma novel on the shelf in the library this morning. I like the combination of easy to read mystery novel and well researched history, especially as it is about a period I know almost nothing about (seventh century Ireland). Am already deep in to the story, having ridden with the good sister and some doubtful companions to an abbey deep in the Italian hills. That's all for now .. got to get back to reading!
Carol
Dec 17, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
This was a storyline of Sister Fidelma in her earlier years prior to becoming the wife and mother she was later. thus she was a bit more tentative in her sleuthing and vulnerable to making mistakes. it is a well executed plot and kept me interested, and I am sure anyone reading the series will enjoy it, but for a person just beginning these books it is advisable to read the first book of the series before embarking on this one.
Vilo
Nov 04, 2012 Vilo rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Fascinating mystery set in 664 AD. Although it is #22 chronologically in the main character's life it is one of the earliest. I will definitely be looking for others. Fidelma is a religieux and an advocate in this time when nuns and priests are not yet expected to be celibate and the Nicene Creed is still fairly new and controversial. The mystery was not obvious to solve, but logical clues are laid out.
Ross
Jul 19, 2012 Ross rated it it was amazing
Another great medieval murder mystery by Tremayne. This is number 22 in the Sister Fedilma series. I've read them all. This one is out of chronical order, a throwback to her early days, but is still a great read. I've not found one of them to be uninteresting or well written.

All of this series are founded in historic fact, and with few exceptions accurate of the 7th century Ireland and European world.

Vespertine
Jan 19, 2014 Vespertine rated it really liked it
It is not one of my favorite book in the series (it lacks the character of Eadulf who makes such an interesting match with Fidelma) but I give it four stars for the complexity of the plot, which was full of surprises and still consistent.

As always, the historical setting wass compelling and the fact that Fidelma did not know who she could trust in this one was interesting.
Pat Stearman
Jan 07, 2012 Pat Stearman rated it really liked it
The latest Sister Fidelma, though out of chronological sequence. I missed Eadulf (as did she!) but it's a good rolicking yarn. Did get a bit confused with the characters as they mostly start with G or W but a more attentive reader would be fine!! Interesting insight into the history of Italy too. (I assume the basic facts are correct, PT is a historian after all).
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Peter Berresford Ellis (born 10 March 1943) is a historian, literary biographer, and novelist who has published over 90 books to date either under his own name or his pseudonyms Peter Tremayne and Peter MacAlan. He has also published 95 short stories. His non-fiction books, articles and academic papers have made him acknowledged as an authority on Celtic history and culture. Under Peter Tremayne, ...more
More about Peter Tremayne...

Other Books in the Series

Sister Fidelma (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Absolution by Murder (Sister Fidelma, #1)
  • Shroud for the Archbishop (Sister Fidelma, #2)
  • Suffer Little Children (Sister Fidelma, #3)
  • The Subtle Serpent (Sister Fidelma, #4)
  • The Spider's Web (Sister Fidelma, #5)
  • Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma, #6)
  • The Monk Who Vanished (Sister Fidelma, #7)
  • Act of Mercy (Sister Fidelma, #8)
  • Hemlock at Vespers (Sister Fidelma, #9)
  • Our Lady Of Darkness (Sister Fidelma, #10)

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