How do you begin to describe Peter Berresford Ellis? You could start by saying he is an historian, a biographer, a novelist and short-story writer but, above all, he is a scholar. An eminent Celtic scholar.
He’s certainly a prolific writer. Berresford Ellis has now published over 90 books, roughly 100 short stories and numerous academic papers. His work has appeared in over 20 languages.
As `Peter Tremayne’ he is best known for his international best-selling Sister Fidelma Mysteries, set in 7th Century Ireland and featuring a popular sleuth who solves her cases in accordance with the ancient Irish law system, the Brehon.
Writing as Peter Tremayne : Sister Fidelma
I love the mystery, the sleuthing, the characters and customs. I enjoy reading good detective fiction that can transport me totally to another time. The Fidelma books do this exceedingly well.
Ireland has preserved as part of her heritage a large body of ancient law tracts, known collectively as ‘Fenechas’, the law of the Feine (Freemen), or more commonly, the Brehon Law. These laws are the oldest in Europe. The interpretation and enforcement of the law was vested in the hands of a specialist group of advocates known as Brehons. These advocates were highly trained in memorising huge amounts of traditional knowledge and intricate judgements.
Fidelma is an Eognacht princess, sister to the king of Cashel and respected advocate of the ancient Brehon laws. She is called upon to solve dark mysteries and murder most foul for Fidelma is a qualified dalaigh.
Five Highlights of the Honours for Peter Berresford Ellis
Berresford Ellis is a leading authority on the Celts and highly regarded by academics in his own field .Here are just some of the many honours he has received.
- Cornish Gorsedd : Inaugurated a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd for his work on the Cornish language in 1987.
- Anonn Is Anal: Commenced his regular monthly column `Anonn Is Anall’ for the Irish Democrat, the journal of the Connolly Association.
- Celtic League : Elected international president of the Celtic League 1988
- Society of Scotland : Elected Hon. Life President of the 1820 Society of Scotland.
- Irish Literary Society : Hon. Life Membership of the Irish Literary Society (founded in 1892)