The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfael’s tranquil life in Shrewsbury, as raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two young orphans from a noble family and their companion, a young Benedictine nun. The trio, never reaching Shrewsbury, have disappeared somewhere in the wild countryside.
Cadfael feels afraid for these three lost lambs, but another call for help sends him to the Church of Saint Mary. A wounded monk by the roadside will surely die without Cadfael’s healing arts. Why this holy man has been attacked and what his fevered ravings reveal soon give Brother Cadfael a clue to the fate of the missing travelers. Now Cadfael sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. The road will lead him to a terrible murder and a tale of passion gone awry, in Ellis Peters’ most stunning depiction yet of love and war.
©1982 Ellis Peters (P)1997 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Some of the most elegant, unstilted prose being written in mystery.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
“This chronicle ranks as a favorite in the series….[Vanessa] Benjamin relies strictly on the drama inherent in the text, subtly underscoring it with pacing and emphasis.” (AudioFile)
“The Ellis Peters books set in 12th-century Britain have the freshness of a new world at dawn….Peters weaves a complex, colorful, and at times quite beautiful tapestry.”—Houston Post
I have to be honest. Throughout most of the book I thought it was just OK, two stars, even though from the very beginning I did really like the atmosphere of the cold and snowy winter; it was perfectly depicted. It wasn't until the last chapter that I understood the importance of this book. It too is a must read! These books hold together; to get the most from them they must be read as a group. Each builds upon the other, and in a beautiful way! Ellis writes beautifully, with humor, descriptive ability and with plot content carefully planned. You effortlessly learn about a past era.
I do not agree with those who say this series need not be read in order. Maybe you do not need to, but that is how you will get the most out of them. However start with book two and read the rest in order. Throw in book one when you want to fill in lost details. The more you read, the more you will fall in love with the different monks and other influential characters. They grow; you learn who they are. Each action builds upon another.
This book, book 6, isn't wow until the end, and then you realize its importance. I am not saying it is bad, it is just not one of the best, but it must be read!
Narration by Vanessa Benjamin was in my view not as good as narration by Johanna Ward (alias Kate Reading) or Stephen Thorne.
Previously, I have listened to the abridged version at BBC and disliked it, but since I know now I like the series, I will listen instead to the unabridged audiobook. It is not abridged and not destroyed by BBC dramatization!
Held My Interest
Twists and turns kept me guessing
Vanessa's read was smooth and pleasant
Yes...but to tell which moment would be telling...close to the end
VERY Good 'read'.
This is one of Ellis Peters best Cadfael mysteries. I had read it before, but it makes an excellent listen. It also cleared up some inconsistencies introduced by the TV version. This one shows a taste of the hideous brigandage that was so rampant in some areas as "left over" mercenaries decided to simply feed off the the local peoples until they were destitute or dead and then move on to another area. This element causes the confusion as to what happened to the children and the young nun. Fortunately Ms. Peters emphasizes the story instead of using it as an excuse for violence and horror as less talented authors often do.
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