I was so busy this weekend I forgot to write up The Literary Horizon! Here it is now, at any rate.
Council of the Cursed by Peter Tremayne
In 670 A.D. Fidelma of Cashel is asked to act as an advisor to the Irish delegation to a church council hostile to the Celtic Church. In an abbey in Burgundy, Bishop Leodegar of Autun has assembled church leaders from all over western Europe—an assembly which soon descends into chaos. That night, one of the delegates is found murdered, his skull crushed and Fidelma and her companion, Brother Eadulf, are suddenly in the midst of a murder investigation involving some of the most power religious leaders. Between the autocratic Bishop Leodegar and the malignant abbess, Mother Audofleda, a web of sinister intrigue soon spreads. The theft of a priceless reliquary box, the disap pear ance of women and children and rumours of a slave trade make this one of the most sinister and deadly puzzles that Fidelma and Eadulf have ever faced.
For the past few years, I have soured considerably on mysteries and shows like CSI. I find them too formulaic, too repetitive to really grab my attention. I only watch a show like that if the crime itself is interesting.
I am considering reconsidering my position. A friend of mine got me to watch an episode of Castle, which I enjoyed greatly, and this popped up on my radar a few weeks ago. A period mystery centering around early Irish Christians? The very phrase “malignant abbess” piques my interest. I’ve never read any Tremayne before, and, since this is just a book in a series, I certainly hope this one is just as fresh as the first adventure with Fidelma. If it’s not… I’ll just have to seek out her first outing, won’t I?
Council of the Cursed was released today!
The Singers of Nevya by Louise Marley
In the wintry world of Nevya, music is literally the only thing that keeps the population alive. Gifted Singers call up safe circles of light and heat; they use their music to heal the sick and broken. But their Gift also forces them to make great sacrifices, as they’re thrust into political battles and required to give up almost all human contact. Some are strong enough to survive the perils . . . and some are not. Louise Marley vivdly portrays a world of ice and snow and occasional summer, of dangers that lurk both outside, in the cold—and inside, among flawed and difficult people. She details the cost that accompany her great Gift, but she also conveys such joy in music that the reader’s own world glows with warmth and illumination every time a Singer performs.
The Singers of Nevya is not a new novel, but a compilation of Marley’s trilogy of the same name. The three novels, Sing the Light, Sing the Warmth, and Receive the Gift came out during the latter half of the nineties, when I was a wee lass scarfing down whatever I could read.
I myself have toyed with the idea of a world where music constitutes magic, but I hardly have the resources and understanding of vocal music as an opera singer! I’m always fascinated by creative and out of the box ways of writing magic, and this certainly fits the bill. There’s also the fact that Nevya is sunk in winter for five years at a time, giving, I hope, rise to plenty of delicious imagery, as well as providing an icy backdrop for all the political machinations. Oh, I just want to read it already!
The Singers of Nevya will be released on November 1–next Tuesday!