FÉILE FIDELMA 2019 OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED FOR SEPTEMBER 6-8, 2019 IN CASHEL!!
IS SISTER FIDELMA?
Fidelma is an Irish religieuse of the 7th century
AD who is also a trained advocate of the ancient
Irish law system of the time - the Laws of the
Fenechus, popularly called the
Brehon law system. She is the heroine-sleuth
of a series of popular novels and short stories by
author Peter Tremayne.
When the first stories began to appear, the UK
Book and Magazine Collector prophesied: "Sister
Fidelma promises to be one of the most intriguing
new characters in 1990s detective fiction." They
have been proved right and Sister Fidelma has now
survived into a new decade with a still growing
"Sister Fidelma is fast becoming a world
ambassador for ancient Irish culture," says the
Irish Post. The USA Publishers Weekly has called
her: "A brilliant and beguiling heroine; immensely
appealing..." And the Ellery Queen Mystery
Magazine has said she is "One of the most
interesting sleuths to come on the scene in recent
NOTICE: Any statements purporting to represent the views of Peter Tremayne / Peter Berresford Ellis, his family, or The International Sister Fidelma Society should be discounted and ignored unless they are verifiably made officially by Peter and/or by David Robert Wooten as Director
Céad Míle Fáilte! A Thousand Welcomes to the Sister
Fidelma Mysteries website. This site is provided for everyone interested in
Peter Tremayne's international bestselling mystery series and, indeed, to those
interested in all his work both as Peter Tremayne and his non-fiction work as
the Celtic Scholar Peter Berresford Ellis. It is provided free of charge through the courtesy of The International
Sister Fidelma Society.
We would like to point out that this is a Society of volunteer workers, entirely funded by membership subscription. We provide not only this website, but all
subscribing members to the Society get our print magazine, The Brehon, sent to them three times a year, and are updated on all
Why not join us? Click on THE SOCIETY link above and find out what
we have to offer, and to join our ever-growing organization.
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION...
"When is the next Sister Fidelma book coming out?"
MOST FREQUENTLY GIVEN ANSWER... Depends if you are following the UK publications or the US publications:
- UK hardback Bloodmoon, July 2018
- UK paperback Night of the Lightbringer, March 2018
- US hardback (Severn House) Night of the Lightbringer, April 2018
- US hardback (Severn House) Bloodmoon, July 2018
- For eBooks check publishers' websites, Amazon, Barnes Noble, Waterstones etc.
- If you're interested in foreign language titles, or other formats of the books, click HERE
To recap the titles IN READING ORDER (another common question):
- Absolution By Murder (1994)
- Shroud for the Archbishop (1995)
- Suffer Little Children (1995)
- The Subtle Serpent (1996)
- The Spider's Web (1997)
of the Shadow (1998)
- The Monk Who Vanished (1999)
of Mercy (1999)
- Our Lady of Darkness (2000)
- Hemlock At Vespers (2000)
- Smoke in the Wind (2001)
- The Haunted Abbot (2002)
- Badger’s Moon (2003)
- Whispers of the Dead (2004)
- The Leper's Bell (2004)
- Master of Souls (2005)
- A Prayer for the Damned (2006)
- Dancing with Demons (2007)
- The Council of the Cursed (2008)
- The Dove of Death (July 2009)
- The Chalice of Blood (July 2010)
- Behold A Pale Horse (July 2011)
- The Seventh Trumpet (July 2012)
- Atonement of Blood (July 2013)
- The Devil's Seal (July 2014)
- The Second Death (July 2015)
- Penance of the Damned (July 2016)
- Night of the Lightbringer (July 2017
- Bloodmoon (July 2018)
NEWSPOINTS - UPDATED 6 APRIL 2018
CLICK HERE TO RENEW FOR 2018 ONLINE!
A "NEW" FIDELMA FOR 2018! - by David Robert Wooten, Director
Fidelmaniacs around the world will be eminently familiar with the
iconic image of Sister Fidelma used on virtually all of the Society's website
pages, program booklets, flyers, etc. This beautiful painting, with which I
fell in love many years ago, was graciously provided to the Society by Hans van
den Boom of Peter's Dutch Publisher (and the publisher of the brilliant new
graphic novels) De Leeskamer. I think all will
agree on this image has been a wonderful depiction of the good Sister. However,
as one who has to work with the image from a graphic/creative standpoint, I
have always had to accommodate for the original image's layout within a Celtic
knot framework, which essentially "lopped off" the back 1/3 of her
head. I have usually made some sort of
modification in my own projects to take
this into account, but I have felt, for years, that we needed an
"updated" - and "freestanding" - image of the good Sister
for use as we enter the 18th year of our existence.
With that in mind, I contacted a
brilliant artist, and good friend, Eric Müller, who has rendered a wide variety
of illustrations through the years of the famous, infamous, celebrity, or
common man (he even rendered both my daughter and
me in amazingly accurate portrait style). In fact, his amazing portrait of Fidelma's creator is now forever part of
a large tribute piece presented to the author during the anniversary months of
his 50th year of publishing, his 100th title actually published, and even his
75th birthday. Each of these individual events is a milestone in itself, but
combined I think you will agree that something special had to be done.
As noted, I took it upon myself
to have rendered not only the creator of the titular character of the Fidelma series but the good Sister herself.
Unaccustomed as Eric was to rendering a character completely out of "thin
air" as one might say, I gave him both Peter's own descriptions of the character from the novels, as well as an
actual living, breathing actress, I felt embodied the look and character
of Fidelma. After a few back-and-forths, Eric came up with the beautiful image you see here (and, once again, I am in
love with this woman). Peter agrees with me that this rendition of his creation
is both lovely and true to form (which was my ultimate hope).
Peter then immediately chimed in with "Naturally you are going to
have her rendered in color," a process
which I had already undertaken when he commanded such a task. I had turned to
longtime friend and equally brilliant artist Franchesco! for suggestions as to
qualified artist who could color the good Sister to my standards. He noted that
he, himself, was not accustomed to
coloring other artists' works, as he did not want
to enforce his style onto their artwork.
While Eric is a brilliant penciller and
inker, his coloring work is primarily confined
to using colored pencils to render
original artwork (with wonderful
So, as I patiently waited for Franchesco! to provide contact information and samples of qualified colorists,
imagine my surprise, delight, and amazement when Franchesco! emailed me back - not with the names of other
artists, but with his own digital
coloring of the good Sister, now seen at upper right on this page and front-and-center
of our lead page. With only a few minor
tweaks requested by me, we ended up with what I consider to be a true image of
Fidelma, and someone to whom I would
gladly play Eadulf against in the novels.
I certainly hope you will all agree with the ultimate depiction of “David’s
Fidelma,” and welcome your comments via email to email@example.com.
FRONT PAGE UPDATE!
Just as we updated the look
of Sister Fidelma on our website
and elsewhere, we felt we were long overdue for a bit of added
"character" to the main page of the website. After all, this is the
page that's meant to lure in the Fidelma
fan, fellow Fidelmaniac, and hopefully, potential International Sister Fidelma
Society member. Yes, we all love the good Sister, but the "bottom
line," as it were, is that we are always recruiting to bring more fellow
Fidelma fans into the fold (and your help is ALWAYS needed!!).
So, to spruce up our intro
page, we scoured the web for some appropriate Celtic music. We wanted something
that was well short of Dropkick Murphy (whose music we certainly appreciate) and
more like Enya (but a bit more Irish, sans vocals, and without the potential to
quickly lull the listener to sleep). If you take a listen to the tune,
we believe we have succeeded in this task - at least in our ever-humble opinion.
But all that simply
wasn't enough. What if someone is coming to our page had no
idea who Sister Fidelma was (heaven forefend!)? They would need someone to
quickly and succinctly explain who, what, where, and why, in hopes that the
visitor will want to delve further into Fidelma's World. And it took no thought
at all on our part to decide upon the narrator of this brief but important
voiceover - "The Voice of Fidelma" herself.
Our dear friend Caroline Lennon has narrated every Audible
Sister Fidelma title, plus more, on cassette tape and now CDs. You listen to
her narration and are easily taken back to 7th century Ireland. You hear her
speaking Irish words you had no hope of
pronouncing correctly (though Peter notes this really isn’t that important when
reading the books – see our FAQs page) and think “Oh, THAT’S how you say that
word or phrase!”
So, we sent Caroline an initial script which she tweaked
ever-so-slightly, putting her own feeling
and emphasis to the sentences, teasing
the listener just enough to invite them into Fidelma’s World, as if they would
truly be missing out if they did not follow her lead.
We cannot thank Caroline enough
for her participation in this overall team effort, updating and enhancing the
website to hopefully bring in a fresh batch of Fidelmaniacs who have been
quietly lurking in the shadows, waiting for someone to ask them to come in. As
ever, our heartfelt thanks go out to Caroline, as they should from all members
of the Society.
SOCIETY MEMBER'S SECOND NOVEL PUBLISHED
ORIGINAL NOTICE: Longtime Society member (and frequent Féile Fidelma attendee) Joy Ross Davis has been contracted for a second novel to take place in Ireland... and she'll be using Cashel as her model for the setting. Ecanus Publishing is delighted to announce they have signed Joy Davis' Countenance. UPDATE: Countenance has now received two major awards: a Silver Medal of Excellence from Readers' Favorites and the Gold medal for Best Paranormal Book of 2017 from Chanticleer Reviews.
GREAT NEWS FOR U.S. FANS OF THE SISTER FIDELMA MYSTERIES!
Beginning April 1, Severn House Publishers take over the US publication of the new titles in the series starting with The Night of the Lightbringer, from their distribution headquarters with Ingram Book Services in LaVergne, Tennesee (and there was much rejoicing… yaaaayyyy!!!). Following Lightbringer, Bloodmoon will also
be released in both markets. This new title is due out from Headline, UK, and Severn House, USA, in July. Simultaneous title publication will also continue with Peter’s next contracted Fidelma novel scheduled for publication in July 2019.
For the first time in the series’ history, US and UK editions will now be published concurrently. In case you didn’t hear that the first time, I’ll say it a little louder – NO MORE WAITING A YEAR FOR THE NEWEST FIDELMA TITLE TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE U.S.!!!
In the September 2017 issue of The Brehon, we reported the shocking news that, having published the series since February 1995 with the first title, US publishers, St Martins Minotaur of New York, announced they were ceasing to publish the series with Penance of the Damned. That title was produced by St Martins in July 2017, a full
year after the UK edition.
In our article “Bookless in Seattle,” we discussed reasons why
St Martins made their curious decision to stop the series. It was not, we felt, that the books were any less popular, but because of self-inflicted distribution problems and the fact that the US editions continued to be published a full year or more after they were available in the UK, Canadian, and other English-speaking markets. There seemed no attempt over the years to obtain simultaneous publication, causing many fans to search for copies from other sources or give up altogether. Obviously, publication at
the same time - on both sides of the pond - would have been more appropriate to maintain strong sales base in the US. We dealt with many complaints from fans over the years on this very subject.
We felt sure that it would not be long before a more market-knowledgeable publisher would pick up the series for the USA, even though they were entering that market after 27 titles had been published in America by Minotaur. Publishers are usually loathed to pick up a series halfway through, let alone after 27 titles issued by another publisher.
But the series, as we fans know, is ongoing, vibrant, and continuing. And this was, of course, immediately seen by a savvy publisher like Severn House.
So our prediction was right. Severn House Publishers’ US operation is based in LaVergne, Tennesse, in a deal with the Ingram Book Company as distributors (a company which handles more than 7.5 million titles in US distribution). Severn House Publishers was founded in London in 1974 and immediately set up offices in New York for simultaneous publication.
The company was taken over by Cannongate Publishers in September 2017, who also has a specialization in the US library markets.
Contact for Ingram Publishing Services: 1 Ingram Blvd, LaVergne, TN 37086, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Severn House is very excited at the prospect of taking over Fidelma’s World in the US, and have promised an effective publicity campaign to announce their editions. We are reliably informed that Kate Lyall Grant, CEO of Severn House, has been a longtime enthusiast of the series, and is delighted that Peter is joining their US list.
For the sake of continuity, as seen by their jacket for Night of the Lightbringer, Severn House will continue with a similar jacket format for the US series, seen here.
So, we are now delighted to welcome Severn House, USA, into the Fidelma World!
Of course, this is a good time to advise those US members who’ve been hesitant about renewing their memberships, caused by St Martins stopping the series, that their renewals will be more than welcome (just drop me an email at email@example.com and ask to be invoiced the $29.95 annual rate by Square
or PayPal). We would never say “We told you so,” but we’d merely point out that Fidelma’s World is still alive and spinning, and will continue for many more years to come.
Mention the news to your fellow book reading friends, librarians, and bookstore contacts!
You are on the front line, leading the charge to make fellow US readers aware of the better availability of Sister Fidelma titles.
Now that the US has a simultaneous publication with the UK, there’s no excuse for us not to get the “Fidelma Show” back on the US road, where it should have been all the time.
DOROTHEA CHEESMUR ELLIS, 11 September 1940 - 30 March 2016
It is with deepest regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Peter's lovely wife, Dorothy. She was an incredibly vibrant spirit, and the true inspiration for Sister Fidelma. Members of the Society will receive a tribute edition of The Brehon for May 2016, including many photographs, stories, and condolences from individuals Dorothy touched all over the world.
Tributes to Dorothy, ‘Vibrant Personality Who Cared About Social Justice’
15 April, 2016
by Joe Cooper, Islington Tribune
“Dorothy was a larger-than-life character. There was no monotony when she was around... conversations with her were never dull.”
Those were the words of Seamus King, an organiser of a literary weekend in Ireland, at the funeral of Dorothy Cheesmur Ellis.
The bi-annual weekend was devoted to the Sister Fidelma Mysteries, written by her husband, Peter Berresford Ellis, and set in Cashel, County Tipperary.
The festival began in 2006, and the sixth weekend was due to be held in September but was postponed due to Dorothy’s illness.
She died on March 30, aged 75, following a battle with cancer. She had lived with Peter in Archway since 1981.
The chapel at Islington Cemetery, in East Finchley, was packed on Monday for a humanist ceremony in her memory.
Mr King told the service: “Dorothy has been an integral part of these weekends. Usually they attract people from different countries and sometimes a person may not know anyone on a first visit. Dorothy was good at noticing such a person and made it her business to become acquainted and make the person part of the group.
“If Peter and other speakers were important at a formal level, Dorothy was vital on a social and personal level at making these weekends a success.
“She will be greatly missed when we hold the next Féile Fidelma.”
The service was conducted by Steph Bramwell, of the British Humanist Association, who said that Peter had received messages of condolence from New Zealand, Japan, and Argentina.
She added: “Dorothy was a vibrant personality, full of interests and full of energy, the sort of person who would welcome strangers and keep an eye out for anyone feeling lost or lonely.
“She cared about community and about social justice. She loved music and dancing. She had a mystical side and a practical side. She was intelligent and resourceful and independent, with a zest for life and a gift for friendship as you can see just by looking around and seeing how many people are here.
“Her death leaves a gap in life that nobody else will fill. There will never be anybody quite like her.”
Dorothy was fascinated by Ireland’s history and culture. Her interest in the country was represented in the service by folk ballad The Fields of Athenry and 10th century poem Storm At Sea. That was chosen to represent the storm she went through with her illness.
Dorothy was Labour’s fundraising officer in Islington’s Hillrise ward for a period. An active campaigner, she took a stand against a proposal to sell Ashmount School for housing.
She was one of the first people to support Jeremy Corbyn’s 1983 election campaign. Last week he paid tribute to her spirit and tenacity.
The celebration of Dorothy’s life continued at The Spaniard’s Inn, in Hampstead, a pub she loved for its literary connections.
Donations can be made to St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, where Dorothy died.
As of 2018, all of the Fidelma Mysteries published to date are available to download only from the www.audible.com website. All the books were read by Caroline Lennon. The first title Absolution By Murder was priced at €19.95 while all other tiles are at $24.95.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CELTS
One of Peter’s non-fiction studies A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CELTS has been issued by Audible Studios UK read by Christopher Oxford price Str£13.12. It is available on www.amazon.co.uk. The title is also available as an eBook (Kindle) as well as in paperback. This book was first issued in 1999 as THE ANCIENT WORLD
OF THE CELTS, published by Constable in the UK, Barnes Noble, in the USA and was a ‘Book of the Month’ for the Ancient and Medieval History Book Club. In 2003 Constable re-issued it as a paperback with the new title and it was also re-published in the USA by Carroll & Graf. It has appeared in translation in such language as Bulgarian.
LONGTIME SOCIETY MEMBER'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY PUBLISHED
Professor Ed Rielly, one of our earliest and long serving members, who co-edited The Sister Fidelma Mysteries: The Historical Novels of Peter Tremayne (2012) with David Robert Wooten, has just published an autobiographical account of his early childhood.
BUY YOUR COPY OF THE FIDELMA GRAPHIC NOVELS BY CLICKING THE ABOVE GRAPHIC!!
Transceltic is a website devoted to the six Celtic Nations: Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. The folks behind the site promote transcelticism: bringing the six Celtic nations closer together, and dedicated to increasing the awareness
of the shared heritage that connects the Celtic nations.
They have published an online article about - and interview with - Peter Berresford Ellis (with pictures) on his views on the Celtic world.
AUDIO INTERVIEW DURING THE FÉILE FIDELMA 2012 WEEKEND
Seamus King was gracious enough to provide us with an audio copy of an excellent interview given by Peter Tremayne and David Robert Wooten, covering a broad range of subjects about the novels, Peter's background, and the Féile itself. Click HERE to listen to the interview.
TITLE ABOUT FIDELMA AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!
The Sister Fidelma Mysteries - Essays on the Historical Novels of Peter Tremayne
Edited by Edward J. Rielly and David Robert Wooten
Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6667-2; Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0034-5; notes, bibliographies, index; 239pp. softcover (6 x 9) 2012
Order directly from the publisher
About the Book
This is a collection of new essays on Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma novels, which feature Sister Fidelma’s attempts to solve a wide range of crimes, often murders that occur under especially mysterious conditions. The novels, set mainly in 7th century Ireland, also include a great deal of history, which is not surprising given that the author is actually Peter Berresford Ellis,
a noted Celtic historian. Some of the essays analyze aspects of the novels, focusing especially on the protagonist and her partner in detection and, ultimately, husband, Brother Eadulf. Other essays place Fidelma and the novels within the tradition of detective fiction. Still others explore the historical, intellectual, spiritual and geographical contexts for her labors. Also included are accounts of the author’s career, the International Sister Fidelma Society, and the biennial Sister Fidelma conferences held
in Cashel, Ireland.
About the Authors
Edward J. Rielly is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He has presented papers at the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture as well as other conferences. He is the author of about two dozen books and lives in Westbrook, Maine. David Robert Wooten is director of The International Sister Fidelma Society and editor of its magazine, The
Brehon. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
PETER TREMAYNE ATTENDS CZECH BOOK FAIR
Peter Tremayne was a guest at Book World
Prague – the 18th International Book Fair and Literary Festival – in
May, 2012. He has a large following in
the Czech Republic for his Sister Fidelma Mysteries, which are published in Czech by Vysehrad Ltd. This
video shows the opening of a "meet the author" session which he gave on May
18. Vysehrad’s owner and director, Pravomil
Novák, speaking in Czech, introduces Peter and Czech historical novelist Hana
Whitton (sometimes given as Whittonová), who then acted as moderator while Peter
talked and answered questions from the large audience. This was done
under a simultaneous translation system.
While we only have Pravomil’s introduction,
it is hoped we can secure the major part of what appears to be an interesting
Full details of Peter’s visit to the Czech Republic and other events was given in the September, 2012, issue of The Brehon. We are also able a link to the
videos of the two interviews Peter gave to Czech Television, one of them on the
prestigious talk show called Na plovárne
(By the swimming pool) with Marek Eben, one of the Czech Republic's best known
presenters, as well as an actor, composer, and musician - the English version, with a short Czech intro, may be seen here - http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/1093836883-na-plovarne/6286-episodes-in-english/8593-peter-tremayne/ (an all-Czech version, overdubbed, may be seen here - http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/1093836883-na-plovarne/212522160100023-na-plovarne-s-peterem-tremaynem/). The other such interview is available (in Czech) at http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/1183270092-knizni-svet/21254215121/ - you'll have to endure a short ad, then go to the 17:21
mark to see the short piece.
TREMAYNE RECEIVES FRENCH AWARD FOR BEST HISTORICAL CRIME NOVEL 2010
Peter Tremayne has received the Prix Historia du roman policier historique 2010 - the Historia Prize for a historical crime novel in 2010. The award was given for the French edition of Master of Souls.
Historia is an old established major historical monthly magazine in Paris. The jury, chaired by the chief editor and president of Historia Dr Patrician Crété, also included historians and historical crime fiction experts Catherine Decouan and Liliane Crété, who were unanimous in their decision.
The Sister Fidelma novels have become bestsellers in France. Full details of the award will appear in the next issue of The Brehon.
IRISH INDEPENDENT REVIEW
Saturday, 21 August, brought an excellent review of Peter's title The Chalice of Blood in the Irish Independent. The extensive article details the good Sister, her creator, and even mentions
this year's Féile.
"Of course there is a formula at work here, but the pleasure is in the world Peter Tremayne has created and into which we can escape. Fidelma is a feminist with a cool brain — a nun with a male companion. Brehon times were so much more liberal...
"So after 21 books, does the formula hold up? Yes. Because the author keeps inventing great new stories. Does the writing hold up? Yes. An example is the first chapter of ‘Dancing with Demons’ in which the king’s murder on the Hill of Tara combines brilliant imagery with savage detail like that found in a Jacobean tragedy...
"If you like a good mystery, cleverly plotted and beautifully written, and have not yet discovered Fidelma, a treasure trove awaits."
Click the graphic for a PDF of the article in its entirety.
FIDELMA'S WORLD MAP COMPLETELY UPDATED
As most of you know, for some time there has been a map of
Fidelma’s travels available for sale in support of the Society. Most of the
books come with a simple lineart map, showing details of that particular novel,
but nowhere else will you find a chart noting all of the good Sister’s travels
(granted, some are still in far-off lands, remote from Éire, but are so noted
on the map).
While the map has always been reasonably well received,
we have never been thoroughly satisfied with it. Thus, when it came time to update
the map to Peter’s latest title (The Chalice of Blood)*, we felt a major
overhaul was in order.
The new map features all of the same locations, updated with
the latest titles, but the map itself is much more aesthetically pleasing.
Plus, it is now available in a larger, and easier to read, 23” x 35” size, as
well as a smaller 11” x 17” mini poster print.
So, if you’ve been holding out on this map, now is the time
to buy one. Or, if you bought one of the original/earlier versions, now’s the
time to update! The prints, from CafePress, are extremely well done, and are
available unframed, as well as framed in smaller sizes.
You can see these new items – as well as all other Sister
Fidelma merchandise, including Féile Fidelma 2010! Items (and 2008!, and 2006!)
– via our CafePress shop at http://www.cafepress.com/eclecticon.
Just look for the INTERNATIONAL SISTER FIDELMA SOCIETY shop amidst all the
*THE MAP IS NOW UPDATED THROUGH BLOODMOON, IN 2018!
THE TALENTED MR TREMAYNE
In January, 2006, St Martins Minotaur of New York, published
a collection of short stories by our favourite author entitled AN ENSUING EVIL. This collection had only one Fidelma mystery and were mainly a collection of mysteries from the 11th to the 20th centuries, demonstrating that Peter Tremayne's talent was not confined to one period or one culture. The stories include some set in Shakespeare's time to some great Sherlock Holmes pastiches. The collection is now in its fourth reprint from St Martin's proving how popular Peter's tales are.
Moreover, the collection was published in German as Das Flustern der Verlorenen Seelen in November 2007. They also decided to add two more uncollected Fidelma short stories to it. And it is already reprinted.
Now the Italians are about to publish the collection with the original contents under the title I neri agenti della notte (Night's Black Angels), the title of the Macbeth murder mystery with which the collection starts.
contents ©2000-2018 Peter Berresford