• The Leper of Saint Giles

  • The Fifth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
  • By: Ellis Peters
  • Narrated by: Johanna Ward
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (419 ratings)

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The Leper of Saint Giles  By  cover art

The Leper of Saint Giles

By: Ellis Peters
Narrated by: Johanna Ward
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Publisher's summary

Setting out for the Saint Giles leper colony outside Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael has more pressing matters on his mind than the grand wedding coming to his abbey. Yet as fate would have it, Cadfael arrives at Saint Giles just as the nuptial party passes the colony's gates. He sees the fragile bride looking like a prisoner between her two stern guardians and the bridegroom, an arrogant, fleshy aristocrat old enough to be her grandfather. And he quickly discerns this union may be more damned than blessed. Indeed, a savage murder will interrupt the May-December marriage and leave Brother Cadfael with a dark, terrible mystery to solve. For the key to the killing - and a secret - are hid among the lepers of Saint Giles. Now Brother Cadfael's skills must ferret out a sickness, not of the body, but of a twisted soul - in the fifth Brother Cadfael Chronicle, a work that displays Ellis Peters' special genius at her best.
©1981 by Ellis Peters (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"Each addition to the series is a joy. Long may the Chronicles continue." (USA Today)

What listeners say about The Leper of Saint Giles

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why was this narrator chosen?

I have read all of the Brother Cadfael books in French as well as English, and am a solid fan of this author and series.
While I enjoyed the accent of this narrator, however, and her skill, her efforts to convey male voices failed in my view (as a function of her voice capabilities), with the unfortunate and unintended consequence of making all of these characters (and almost all characters are male of course) sound pompous and self-important. I have much preferred male narrators for this series.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story, decent performance

As ever, Ellis Peters delivers an interesting mystery with creative characters set in medieval England. The single disappointment was the reader’s pronunciation of the name Cadfael. As he is the main character, it seems like the author would have made an attempt to discover how the name is usually pronounced or at least referred to other similar words as a guide. Israel, Raphael, Cadfael. Even Cadfile would have been acceptable but it is tedious to continually hear our favorite monk called “Cadfle.” This isn’t the only mangled name in the reading. Unfamiliar names can be a challenge to pronounce, but simple research should be part of the performer’s preparation.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Questionable Narration

The narration of Ms Ward wasn't bad, except when she was speaking Cadfael's voice. The voice she used, supposedly to mimic Welsh speaking, was more reminiscent of Calcutta or Bombay. It was quite annoying. Only the excellence of Ellis Peters' story carried me to the conclusion. I'll make it a point to avoid Ms Ward's narration in the future.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another great listen!

Any additional comments?

I have been slowly going through the BC series, and have enjoyed them all thus far. But I want to comment specifically on the reader, Joanna Ward. There have been some comments on this, and other BC books, about her being a bad choice. I have to strongly disagree. Of the readers I have heard so far, she is clearly the top one. Her ability to add Welsh inflections, where needed, are terrific, and her male/female character voices are as good as anybody else's given that any reader, male or female, is going to be challenged to sound authentic doing the "other sex".

I have just started "Virgin in the Ice", and the reader (Vanessa Benjamin, I believe) is already bothering me immensely.

I wish that Joanna Ward had read them all.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

No mystery at all

Well-narrated, but this murder was no mystery at all. I really dislike books peopled by caricatures rather than characters, who do stupid things merely to advance the plot. Ellis Peters is no grand master of crime.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worth the time!

I enjoy the intrigue and romantic tension (as well as tension relief). It’s not really a romance and I am happy for that. I don’t like really sappy novels. This one did not fall into that trap. It’s really a good listen.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another story worth its telling.

Caedfael 's stories are so engaging they are never difficult to listen to. Ellis Peters delivers great detail and interesting mystery every time.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Cadfael again saves a young man from a murder char

In 12th century, a woman’s guardians choose whom she will marry. In this story, her aunt and uncle have chosen a wealthy, elderly gentleman. The prospective groom is murdered, apparently by the young man the bride loves. Cadfael discovers why the victim was out the night he was killed, and identifies additional suspects.

Another enjoyable light mystery.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best of Cadfael

This is my favorite Brother Cadfael story, with unpredictable twists and turns and plenty of apropos spiritual reflections. It is superbly narrated!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great!

I like brother Cadfael and this is my favourite narrator of the series. I wish there were more than these two books read by her.

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