Luther Professor Philip Freeman's books venture across ancient Ireland

Delving into the world of fifth and sixth century Ireland, Philip Freeman, Luther College professor in classics, has written two new books: "Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure" and "The World of Saint Patrick."

In Freeman's first foray into historical fiction, "Saint Brigid's Bones" tells the story of a young nun traversing ancient Ireland in an attempt to recover the most precious treasure of her monastery – the bones of its patron saint.

Living in a realm ruled by kings and roamed by druids, the nuns of St. Brigid are fighting to keep their monastery alive. When the bones of Brigid go missing, all they have worked for is threatened and even their faith is in danger of being lost.

The convent's only hope lies in the hands of Sister Deirdre, a young nun trained as a bard and raised by her druid grandmother. Deirdre must draw upon all the skills of her differing life experiences in order to survive her trek and find St. Brigid's Bones.

Scheduled for release Oct. 15, "Saint Brigid's Bones" will be the first in a series of books about the adventures of Sister Deirdre. It is available for pre-order at http://tinyurl.com/saint-brigids-bones.

In "The World of Saint Patrick," Freeman translates from Latin and Old Irish sources to provide a vivid account of the life of St. Patrick as well as other major Irish Christian figures.

One story within the book tells of how St. Patrick was kidnapped by pirates at a young age and sold into slavery. Originally an atheist who rejected the teaching of his religious family, he developed a close relationship with God during his captivity, even coming to follow voice of God to lead him to his own freedom and life as a missionary.

This story, along with others from accounts of St. Patrick; St. Brigid, Ireland's first female saint; and St. Brendan, legendary for his voyage across the western ocean, are not only colorful tales of ancient Ireland, but weave a line of historicity into the myth and legend surrounding early Irish Christianity.

"The World of Saint Patrick" was developed for a class at Luther of the same name. The book will be published by Oxford University Press for both classroom use and general readers around the world.

Pre-order "The World of Saint Patrick" at http://tinyurl.com/world-saint-patrick. The book will hit shelves Sept. 1.

An internationally recognized specialist in Greek, Roman and medieval cultures and Celtic studies, Freeman has authored several other books, including "Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek and Roman Myths," "Alexander the Great," "St. Patrick of Ireland" and "Julius Caesar."

Freeman holds the Master of Arts degree in classics from the University of Texas, the Master of Arts degree in language and literatures as well as the first joint doctoral degree in classical philology and Celtic languages from Harvard University.

He has served as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy in Rome and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.

Freeman is a frequent speaker and presenter and has given talks on the ancient world at the Smithsonian Institution and interviews on National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Television and public radio stations across the country.