First Sentence: There was a light frost over the landscape
when Mara, Brehon of the Burren, set out from that kingdom
to spend the Christmas of 1519 at the King’s court.
The Christmas celebration and 20th anniversary of King Turlough
Donn’s reign over the three kingdoms of Thomond, Corcomroe
and Burran are interrupted by the murder of The Brehon of
Turlough. Mara, the King’s wife and overseer of the
law, must determine the murderer. An attack on the castle,
sabotage on the Turlough’s cannon, and the enemy’s
deadly trebuchet and guns may completely overshadow bringing
a killer to justice.
A wonderfully descriptive opening provides a very picturesque
sense of place while also informing us of Mara and her backstory.
It’s wonderful to have a protagonist who is not only
a woman, but one of power and respected by men. However, there
is nothing strident about the character as her power is based
on the actual laws of place and time.
Mara is an interesting, fully-developed character about whom
you come to care. Her relationship with King Turlough is one
to be envied. Some of the young people are particularly enjoyable.
Each chapter begins with information what explains Brehon
law and society. One fact I found particularly fascinating
was that there was a law pertaining to satire…”The
law regards satire as a very severe attack on a persona because
it strikes and cuts a log n-enech (literally the ‘price
of his face’-but meaning the ‘honor price.) Anything
that causes a person to lose face, injures that person and
recompense has to be paid.” There is nothing better
than to be entertained and educated at the same time.
The plot is interesting and includes a good red herring, a
dramatic and suspenseful battle scene and a look at the price
Verdict of the Court is well done. It’s a fascinating
look at different system of law and society.
of other titles in this series
Lady Judge #1
Sting of Justice #9
of the Court #11
to Death #12
Fatal Inheritance #13