Following Saint Brigid’s Bones, Philip Freeman brings Sister Deirdre back in Sacrifice, and this time someone is killing the nuns from her monastery. Deirdre is a druid who still holds the title of bard, but is also a nun at the monastery of Kildare. When a nun is found strangled, bled dry, and left in a bog, Deirdre suspects a druid might be behind the killing. When a second nun is found dead, Deirdre is certain that the killings are following an ancient, long-forgotten sacrificial practice. Deirdre is charged with uncovering the murderer, but when confronted by the head nun at Kildare about her loyalties – to God or the druids – Deirdre is torn between her two worlds. Knowing she cannot divulge druid secrets, Deirdre accepts being banished from the sisterhood but refuses to give up searching for the killer. But can she find them before they complete the seven sacrifices, and can she protect the sisters of Kildare? What’s more, the killings are driving the Celtic clans to war over druidic and Christian faiths. Deirdre stands astride the rift, and only she can solve the killings and save Ireland from a brutal civil war that will destroy not only her home but also her beloved monastery.
Freeman drives a quick pace with characters that are well-crafted and dynamic. His writing and sense of place and time easily set the reader in an ancient Ireland so foreign yet incredibly familiar. Sacrifice is a great mystery that gets readers thinking they have the murder solved and then it throws it all out the window. This is a great book for its history and the characters that populate it.
Review originally appeared https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/sacrifice-a-celtic-adventure/