Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brigid of Kildare-Heather Terrell

Brigid of Kildare
Heather Terrell
Ballantine, Feb 9 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345505125

In Ireland desperately in need of money, the Sisters of St. Brigid plan to sell valuable ancient relics. They hire art appraiser Alexandra Patterson to evaluate their collection. Exhilarated with the assignment, Alex begins to catalogue the collection. However, she is stunned when she finds a beautifully scribed tome from apparently the fifth century. She wonders if this illuminated text could be the legendary lost Book of Kildare. Her colleague and former lover Trinity College Professor Declan Lamb supports her belief.

Apparently the Church, fearing the imminent collapse of the Roman Empire could take them down too, turn aggressive against anyone who may cause dissension. In that regard, Brother Decius travels to Gael to accuse Abbess Brigid of heresy. Once there he finds her faith as inspiring and asks her to let him scribe her tale to convert the Gael pagans.

As Heather Terrell did with The Map Thief, the author weaves a past and present duality into a delightful cohesive tale. The Brigid of Kildare subplot is a terrific look at the Church’s efforts to survive the collapse of Rome mostly told through the relationship between Decius and the title Saint. However, the modern day art sleuths fail to attain the same level of caring and passion that the ancient couple possesses especially Brigid’s efforts to bring the Gael to Christianity. Still fans will enjoy this fine thriller starring a woman whose belief was so strong she not just converted the locals, she persuaded the Roman to join her quest and leave readers admiring her.

Harriet Klausner

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