Review of “The Shapeshifter’s Lair”

The Shapeshifter’s Lair by Peter Tremayne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one I am giving three stars. On the one hand, I have to give it to Peter Tremayne for such stamina: 31 books in the series including two anthologies of short stories. I have high praise for Tremayne’s research on a period of European history that few people know about. The period we called the “Dark Ages” was actually more interesting than ever. I have also read Tremayne’s non fiction -published under his real name.

On the other hand, as many other readers and reviewers know, keeping track of all the characters with “strange” sounding Irish and Saxon names that are rarely, if at all, used today is difficult. Who still names their son Eadulf? Or their daughter Fidelma?

Furthermore, this book is heavily serialized or dependent on readers having read earlier books. For example, Beccnat, one of Fidelma’s college classmate, references events that predates the first book and Act of Mercy (book 9). If you know Fidelma’s back story, then they make sense. The main plot of this book is a continuation of the events in The Seventh Trumpet. You should read that first before this one.

Lastly, it has become tiring that Fidelma keeps having to remind people of her legal and social rank. Yes, we know she’s smart and learned. Yes, we know she’s the daughter of a king and sister of another. Therefore, if a character tries to play dominance games whether an abbot or a local lord, Fidelma is not shy in reminding you. In this book, she turned the tables on the local lord in a sly way to the point where the lord can’t do anything without looking petty and digging a bigger hole for himself. Maybe Tremayne should stop doing this. It is annoying.

All in all, I enjoyed this book but not enough for more than 3 stars.

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