translate this page

HOME | THE SOCIETY | NEWS | ABOUT FIDELMA | THE GUIDE/FAQs | THE AUTHOR | THE BOOKS | THE STORIES

FOREIGN EDITIONS | THE FÉILES | THE CRITICS | PRONUNCIATION | GUESTBOOK | CONTACT US


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Checklist of the Works of Peter Berresford Ellis

PETER TREMAYNE is the fiction writing pseudonym of the Celtic scholar and author Peter Berresford Ellis.

 

Click here to read a recent interview with

Peter Berresford Ellis about Sister Fidelma

Peter Berresford Ellis (born 10 March 1943) is a historian, literary biographer and novelist who has published over 90 books to date under his own name and that of his pseudonyms Peter Tremayne and Peter MacAlan. He has also published 95 short stories. His non-fiction books, articles and academic papers have made him acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on Celtic history and culture. Under his Tremayne pseudonym he is the author of the international bestselling Sister Fidelma Mystery series. His work has appeared in 25 languages.

 

Life

Peter Berresford Ellis was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, England. His father was a Cork-born journalist who started his career on the Cork Examiner.[1] The Ellis family can be traced in the area from 1288.[2] His mother was from an old Sussex family of Saxon origin able to trace their lineage back through fourteen generations in the same area. Her mother was of a Breton family.[3] Educated at Brighton College of Art and London University. He took a first class honours degree and his MA in Celtic Studies. He was given a D. Litt (honoris causa) by East London University in 2006 in recognition of his work. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1996) and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (1998). He has received numerous awards and honours for his work such as a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd (1987) for his work on the history of the Cornish language - The Cornish Language and its Literature (published in 1974); an Irish Post Award (1989); Hon. Life President of the Scottish 1820 Society (1989); Hon. Life Member of the Irish Literary Society (2002); he was given a civic reception by the Mayor and Council of Cashel, Co. Tipperary (2004) - the highest civic award Cashel can bestow.[4] He was awarded the French Prix Historia for the best historical mystery novel of 2010 for Le concile des maudits (The Council of the Cursed).

 

SISTER FIDELMA MERCHANDISE!!

T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, totebags, mousepads, more!!

CLICK HERE!!!

He began his career as a junior reporter on an English south coast weekly, becoming deputy editor of an Irish weekly newspaper and was then editor of a weekly publishing trade journal in London. He first went as a feature writer to Northern Ireland in 1964 for a London daily newspaper which had a profound effect on him. His first book was published in 1968 - Wales - A Nation Again, on the Welsh struggle for political independence, with a foreword by Gwynfor Evans, Plaid Cymru's first Member of Parliament. In 1975 he became a full-time writer.

 

He used his academic background to produce many popular titles in the field of Celtic Studies and he has written numerous academic articles and papers in the field for journals ranging from The Linguist (London) to The Irish Sword: Journal of the Irish Military History Society (UCD). He is highly regarded by academics in his own field and was described in by The Times Higher Education Supplement, London, (June, 1999) as one of the leading authorities on the Celts then writing.

 

He has been International Chairman of the Celtic League 1988-1990; chairman of Scrif-Celt (The Celtic Languages Book Fair in 1985 and in 1986); chairman and vice-president of the London Association for Celtic Education 1989-1995, and now is an Hon. Life Member); He was also chairman of his local ward Labour Party in London, England, and was editorial advisor on Labour and Ireland magazine in the early 1990s. He is a member of the Society of Authors.

 

Apart from his Celtic Studies interests, Ellis has always been fascinated by aspects of popular literature and has written full-length biographies on H. Rider Haggard, W.E. Johns, Talbot Mundy as well as critical essays on many more popular fiction authors. His own output in the fictional field, writing in the genre of horror fantasy and heroic fantasy, began in 1977 when the first "Peter Tremayne" book appeared. Between 1983 and 1993 he also wrote eight adventure thrillers under the name "Peter MacAlan".[5]

 

A prolific writer, Ellis has published (as of January, 2009) a total of 91 books, 95 short stories, several pamphlets, and numerous academic papers and an uncountable number of signed journalistic articles. Under his own name he wrote two long running columns: 'Anonn is Anall' (Here and There) from 1987-2008 for the Irish Democrat, and, 'Anois agus Arís' (Now and Again) from 2000-2008 for The Irish Post. His books break down into 34 titles under his own name; 8 titles under the pseudonym of Peter MacAlan and 49 titles under his pseudonym of Peter Tremayne.

 

He has lectured widely at universities in several countries, including the UK, Ireland, American, Canada, France and Italy. He has also broadcast on television and radio since 1968.[6]

 

With the unparalleled popularity of his 7th century set Sister Fidelma Mysteries, in January, 2001, an International Sister Fidelma Society was formed in Charleston, South Carolina, with a website and producing a print magazine three times a year called The Brehon.[7] In 2006 the Cashel Arts Fest[8] established the first three-day international gathering of fans of the series which is now held bi-annually and receives the full support of the Society. [9] In Fall, 2012, the US publishers McFarland published The Sister Fidelma Mysteries: Essays on the Historical Novels of Peter Tremayne. The volume was edited by Professor Edward J. Rielly and David Robert Wooten. ISBN 978-0-7864-6667-2 and eBook ISBN 978-1-4766-0034-5. Print book price was $40. As well as analytical essays, there is a biographical essay which has the full approval of the author.


CLICK HERE TO VISIT BRUDEN FIDELMA

OFFICIAL HOME OF THE SOCIETY WHEN IN CASHEL!


A CHECKLIST OF THE WORKS OF PETER BERRESFORD ELLIS

 

Sister Fidelma series (listed in chronological order of UK publication) - novels and collections of short stories, as Peter Tremayne:

  1. Absolution By Murder (1994)
  2. Shroud for the Archbishop (1995)
  3. Suffer Little Children (1995)
  4. The Subtle Serpent (1996)
  5. The Spider's Web (1997)
  6. Valley of the Shadow (1998)
  7. The Monk Who Vanished (1999)
  8. Act of Mercy (1999)
  9. Our Lady of Darkness (2000)
  10. Hemlock At Vespers (2000)
  11. Smoke in the Wind (2001)
  12. The Haunted Abbot (2002)
  13. Badger's Moon (2003)
  14. Whispers of the Dead (2004)
  15. The Leper's Bell (2004)
  16. Master of Souls (2005)
  17. A Prayer for the Damned (2006)
  18. Dancing With Demons (2007)
  19. The Council of the Cursed (2008)
  20. The Dove of Death (2009)
  21. The Chalice of Blood (2010)
  22. Behold a Pale Horse (2011)
  23. The Seventh Trumpet (2012)

Non-fiction

Listed in chronological order under first world publication (mainly UK but with first US publication where applicable).

  1. Wales - A National Again: The Nationalist Struggle for Freedom, Foreword by Gwynfor Evans MP. Library 33 Ltd., London, 1968.
  2. The Scottish Insurrection of 1820, Co-authored with Seumas Mac a' Ghobhainn. Foreword by Hugh MacDiarmid. Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1970.
  3. The Problem of Language Revival: Examples of Language Survivals, Co-authored with Seumas Mac a' Ghobhainn, Club Leabhar Ltd., Inverness, Scotland, 1971.
  4. A History of the Irish Working Class, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1972.
  5. James Connolly: Selected Writings, Edited with an introduction. Pelican Books, Penguin Ltd., London, 1973. (1st US edition, Monthly Review Press, hardcover, New York, 1973.
  6. The Cornish Language and its Literature, Routledge & Kegan Paul ltd, 1974.
  7. Hell or Connaught: The Cromwellian Colonisation of Ireland 1652-1660, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1975. (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, hardcover, New York, 1975).
  8. The Boyne Water: The Battle of the Boyne, 1690, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1976 (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, hardcover, New York, 1976).
  9. The Great Fire of London: An Illustrated Account, New English Library, London, 1977.
  10. Caesar's Invasion of Britain, Orbis Publishing, London, 1978. (1st US edition, New York University Press, hardcover, 1980).
  11. H. Rider Haggard: A Voice from the Infinite, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1978.
  12. Macbeth: High King of Scotland 1040-57, Frederick Muller Ltd, London, 1980. (1st US edition, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1993).
  13. By Jove, Biggles! The Life of Captain W.E. Johns, Co-author Piers Williams, W.H. Allen, London 1981.
  14. The Liberty Tree - A Novel, Michael Joseph, London, 1982.
  15. The Last Adventurer: The Life of Talbot Mundy 1879-1940, Donald M. Grant Publishers Inc, Rhode Island, USA. 1984.
  16. Celtic Inheritance, Frederick Muller Ltd, London, 1985. (1st US edition, Dorset Press, hardcover, New York, 1992).
  17. The Celtic Revolution: A Study in Anti-Imperialism, Y Lolfa Cyf, Ceredigion, Wales, 1985.
  18. The Rising of the Moon: A Novel of the Fenian Invasion of Canada, Methuen, London, 1987. (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, hardcover, New York, 1987.
  19. A Dictionary of Irish Mythology, Constable, London, 1987. (1st US edition, ABC Clio, hardcover, Santa Barbara, California, 1989).
  20. The Celtic Empire: The First Millennium of Celtic History 1000 BC-AD 51, Constable, London, 1990. (1st US edition, Carolina Academic Press, hardcover, North Carolina, 1991).
  21. A Guide to Early Celtic Remains in Britain, Constable Guides, London, 1991.
  22. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, Constable, London, 1992. (1st US edition from ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, California, 1992).
  23. Celt and Saxon: The Struggle for Britain AD 410-937, Constable, London, 1993.
  24. The Celtic Dawn: A History of Pan Celticism, Constable, London, 1993.
  25. The Book of Deer (Constable Library of Celtic Illuminated Manuscripts), art by Roy Ellsworth and text by Peter Berresford Ellis. Constable, 1994.
  26. The Druids, Constable, London, 1994. (1st US edition, Wm. Eerdmans, hardcover, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995).
  27. Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature, Constable, London, 1995. (1st US edition, Wm. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996).
  28. Celt and Greek: Celts in the Hellenic World, Constable, London, 1997.
  29. Celt and Roman: The Celts in Italy, Constable, London, 1998. (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, hardcover, New York, 1998).
  30. The Ancient World of the Celts, Constable, London, 1999. (1st US edition, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1999).
  31. The Chronicles of the Celts: New tellings of their myths and legends, Robinson, London, 1999. (1st US edition, Carroll & Graf, hardcover, New York, 1999.
  32. Erin's Blood Royal: The Gaelic Noble Dynasties of Ireland, Constable, London, 1999. (1st US edition, extensively revised and expanded, Palgrave/St Martin's, hardcover, New York, 2002. 32.
  33. Over the Hills and Far Away: A Hurstpierpoint Soldier in Wellington's Army, Hurst History Study Group, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. 2002.
  34. Eyewitness to Irish History, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York, 2004.

Pamphlets

Some of Ellis's pamphlets have been previous listed on sites as books. But these pamphlets are:

  1. The Creed of the Celtic Revolution, Introduction By F.A. Ridley, Medusa Press, London, 1969.
  2. The Story of the Cornish Language, Tor Mark Press, Cornwall, 1971.
  3. Revisionism in Irish Historical Writing: The New Anti-Nationalist School of Historians, A Connolly Association Broadhseet, London, 1989. (Text of Peter's 1989 C. Desmond Greaves Memorial Lecture at Conway Hall, London).
  4. The Cornish Saints, Tor Mark Press, Cornwall, 1992.
  5. Orangeism: Myth and Reality, Connolly Association Broadsheet, London, 1997. (Text of Peter's lecture at the Irish Labour History Museum, Dublin, 1995).

As Peter Tremayne

As well as the Sister Fidelma series, under the pseudonym "Peter Tremayne" Ellis has written many novels and short stories, the majority inspired by Celtic myth and legend.

  1. The Hound of Frankenstein, Ventura Books, London, 1977. (1st US edition included in The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein, Carroll & Graf, New York, 1994).
  2. Dracula Unborn, Corgi/Bailey Bros, London, 1977. (1st US edition, Walker & Co, hardcover, New York, 1979.
  3. Masters of Terror 1: William Hope Hodgson, Edited and introduced. Corgi Books, London, 1977.
  4. The Vengeance of She, Sphere Books, London, 1978.
  5. The Revenge of Dracula, Bailey Bros, Folkestone, 1978. (1st US edition, Donald M. Grant Inc, Rhode Island (illustrated collectors' edition) 1978; 1st popular edition from Walker & Co (hardcover) New York, 1979.
  6. The Ants, Sphere Books, London, 1979. (1st US edition, Signet Books, paperback, New York, 1980).
  7. Irish Masters of Fantasy, Introduced and edited. Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1979.
  8. The Curse of Loch Ness, Sphere Books, London, 1979.
  9. The Fires of Lan-Kern, Bailey bros, Folkestone. 1980. (1st US edition, St Martin's, hardcover, New York, 1980).
  10. Dracula, My Love, Bailey Bros, Folkestone, 1980. (1st US edition, Dell/Emerald, paperback, New York, 1983).
  11. Zombie, Sphere Books, London, 1981. (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, paperback, New York, 1987).
  12. The Return of Raffles. Magnum/Methuen Books, London 1981.
  13. The Morgow Rises! Sphere Books, London, 1982.
  14. The Destroyers of Lan-Kern, Methuen, London, 1982.
  15. The Buccaneers of Lan-Kern, Methuen, London, 1983.
  16. Snowbeast! Sphere Books, London, 1983.
  17. Raven of Destiny, Methuen, London, 1984 (1st US edition, Signet Books, paperback, New York, 1986.
  18. Kiss of the Cobra, Sphere Books, London, 1984.
  19. Swamp! Sphere Books, London, 1984 (1st US edition, St Martin's Press, paperback, New York, 1989).
  20. Angelus! Panther Books, London, 1985.
  21. Nicor! Sphere Books, London, 1987.
  22. Trollnight, Sphere Books, London, 1987.
  23. My Lady of Hy Brasil and other Stories, Donald M. Grant Inc, Rhode Island, USA, 1987.
  24. Ravenmoon, Methuen, London, 1988 (1st US edition, Baen Books, paperback, New York, 1988).
  25. Island of Shadows, Methuen/Mandarin, London, 1991.
  26. Aisling and other Irish Tales of Terror, Brandon Books, Ireland, 1992.
  27. An Ensuing Evil: Fourteen Historical Mystery Stories, New York, 2006.

Short stories

For avid collectors of Ellis's work it should be noted that as of 2009 he has produced 95 short stories, including 1 short story as Peter MacAlan and 1 story as Peter Berresford Ellis.

 

As Peter MacAlan

He has also published eight thriller novels as Peter MacAlan. These are:

  1. The Judas Battalion, W.H. Allen, London, 1983.
  2. Airship, W.H. Allen, London, 1984.
  3. The Confession, W.H. Allen, London, 1985.
  4. Kitchener's Gold, W.H. Allen, London, 1986.
  5. The Valkyrie Directive, W.H. Allen, London, 1987.
  6. The Doomsday Decree, W.H. Allen, London, 1988.
  7. Fireball, Severn House, London, 1991.
  8. The Windsor Protocol, Severn House, London, 1993.

Overall, Ellis's works have appeared in 25 languages. His signed articles are almost too numerous to count and include several academic papers in the field of Celtic culture and history.

 

Citations (references)

[1] The Burning of Cork, Gerry White and Brendan O'Shea, Mercier Press, Cork, 2006.

[2] The Ellis Family of Millstreet, Millstreet: 'A Considerable Town,' Aubane Historical Society, Cork, 2003.

[3] Daisy: Growing Up in a Sussex Village, Eva Daisy (Randell) Ellis, Hurstpierpoint Historical Society, Sussex, 2003.

[4] Entries on Ellis's career at various times can be taken from his entries in the following reference works: International Authors' and Writers' Who's Who (Cambridge, UK) from 8th ed 1977 onwards; Contemporary Authors (Detroit, USA) from Vols 81, 1979, onwards; Who's Who in the World (Chicago, USA), 5th ed. 1980 onwards; European Biographical Directory (Belgium) 1990); Who's Who in International Affairs (London), 1990; Who's Who of Authors and Writers (Europa Publications), 2004; The Cambridge Blue Book, (Cambridge, UK), 2005; The Writers' Directory (Detroit, USA), 2005.

[5] Book and Magazine Collector, London, March, 1993 (contains an overview of life and work and bibliography to that date).

[6] Other details of his fiction work and career are contained in the Tremayne entries in The Encyclopaedia of Fantasy ed. John Clute and John Grant, St Martins Press, USA, and Little Brown, UK, 1997; The Mammoth Encyclopaedia of Modern Crime Fiction, ed. Mike Ashley, Robinson, UK, and Carroll & Graf, USA, 2002; and Supernatural Literature of the World, An Encyclopaedia, edit. S.T. Joshi and Stefan Dziemianowicz, Greenwood Press, USA, 3 vols, 2005.

[7] Book and Magazine Collector, London, October, 2004 (contains a detailed looked at The Sister Fidelma Mysteries).

[8] Details of the biannual three day international gatherings at Cashel on the Cashel Arts Fest website at www.cashelartsfest.com.

[9] A profile of, and tribute to, Ellis and his work as an historian appeared in History Ireland, Vol 17, No 5 September/October, 2009.


Peter started to write the Sister Fidelma mysteries as short stories in 1993 merely to illustrate how the Brehon laws worked and how a woman could be an advocate of the law system in 7th Century Ireland. The stories were so well received that Headline offered him an initial three-book contract to write novels featuring Sister Fidelma. These have proved extraordinarily popular and several critics have hailed Sister Fidelma as the natural successor to Brother Cadfael.

This is a compliment that Peter disarmingly rejects, pointing out that Fidelma and Cadfael are poles apart. Fidelma lives in a period 800 years before Cadfael and operates in a cultural and law system that is totally alien to the Cadfael settings. However, he does point out that he owes a surprising debt to Cadfael - the origin of the Peter Tremayne pseudonym.

Writing in Past Poisons: An Ellis Peters Memorial Anthology of Historical Crime (ed. by Maxim Jakubowski, Headline, 1998) Peter informs us that Ellis Peters, the creator of Brother Cadfael in 1977, was the pseudonym of Edith Pargetter, famous for her Welsh historical novels. Asked to review the first Cadfael novel A Morbid Taste for Bones in the "Catholic Herald" (London), in August, 1977, he thought that he could not write the review under his own name in case readers might think Ellis Peters was merely a reversal of Peter Berresford Ellis. He then created Peter Tremayne, using the name of a favourite spot in Cornwall, and a name which he developed into his fiction writing pseudonym.

 

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL SISTER FIDELMA SOCIETY