The Raven in the Foregate

The Twelfth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
Narrated by: Patrick Tull
Series: Brother Cadfael, Book 12
Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (206 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After years of studying with the Bishop, young Father Ailnoth has come to take over the parish of Holy Cross. But soon Ailnoth's true nature surfaces - harsh, cold-hearted, and merciless - and someone lures him from his home and murders him. Who in Shrewsbury would kill a priest on Christmas Day?

Suspicion is cast upon a young man who arrived with the priest's train and was sent to work in Brother Cadfael's garden. Indeed, he is soon discovered to be an impostor. To Brother Cadfael, now falls the familiar task of sorting out the complicated strands of innocence and guilt.

Investigate another case with Brother Cadfael.
©1986 Ellis Peters (P)1995 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about The Raven in the Foregate

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I liked the TV version better

This still has lovely descriptions in Ellis Peter's way. The story mostly made sense. The PBS/BBC interpretation completely changed the story so I waited in vain for some characters to arrive. And of course names were dumbed down for TV. I still think the story was more cohesive. I listened at 1.2 speed as Patrick Tull tends to drag his words and pauses out. Still enjoyable but not my favorite.

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  • ED
  • 08-25-20

Why does Patrick Tull make Cadfael sound Indian at times?

As the title says. It gets annoying. Last time I checked, Welsch and Indian accents are not inherently similar.



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Great story, stunning background detail

I find myself listening to these stories over and over and each time discovering more subtlety and richness of detail In setting and plot that I somehow missed the last time. Pargeter/Peters is a consummately intelligent, skilled, and imaginative storyteller. I even took a strong lesson from one of the abbot’s sermons in this one—and always from Cadfael’s warm, compassionate, and canny presence. I count him among my valued friends.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Slow start and similar to previous stories

I've listened/read this series in order, and this one had an awkward start as it was difficult to understand the narrator (clearly) for the first 30 minutes?? Not sure what that is about. After that the narration matched that of previous books. The story is too closely knit to previous books in this series for this one to stand out.

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The Sleuthing Cadfael

I could listen to the narration of Patrick Tull all day long . . . the rhythm is soothing, almost magical . . . and I can see Brother Cadfael tending his herb garden, preparing his concoctions for the healing of others, and hanging his herbs to dry. For this alone, these tales are worth the listen. This particular story finds the parish of Holy Cross receiving a new priest, Father Ailnoth . . . who turns out to be a holier than thou, meaner than a snake, high and mighty do gooder. Unable to extend even the slightest amount of grace to the parishioners, he soon makes many enemies. Simultaneously a young man has arrived to train under Brother Cadfael in his garden. When Father Ailnoth is found murdered, suspicion falls on the young man training under Brother Cadfael, who turns out not to be who he says he is. As is usually the case, nothing is quite as it appears, and Brother Cadfael begins to try to unravel the mystery. With most everyone glad the hateful priest is dead, it becomes quite the task. The story is a lesson for the church . . . that love is greater than the law . . . and that judgement is best left to the one who made us.

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Love this series

Excellent story. Prefer the reading by Patrick Tull. One of the best series out there. Heard these were on PBS so will also check that out.

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Ellis and Patrick are a great pair

What made the experience of listening to The Raven in the Foregate the most enjoyable?

Ellis Peters is a great writer, and Patrick Tull really brings the stories to life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Brother Cadfael is a wonderful protagonist.

What about Patrick Tull???s performance did you like?

I think his personification of Brother Cadfael is spot on, and his different voices for the different characters really helps keep the narrative sections straight.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

awful over "acting" by narrator

Patrick Tull really knows how to ruin a story. if you can deal with the horrible stereotypical Shakespearian over acting, you'll like it but it's too distracting for me. Had to return it and find the story with a different narrator.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not Thrilled

I usually enjoy listening to Cadfael mysteries over and over, but I found this formulaic and disjointed. The dialog which is usually close to poetry just plods, and the plot was predictable.
The butter on the bun though was a mushy ending to a totally improbable story.

The performance was dead on, just not much to work with.

I Hesitated to write this so I listened again. It just isn't there.

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

Disappointing. Cadfael stories are usually great.

What would have made The Raven in the Foregate better?

The main thread of the story was a workable and potentially interesting skeleton but instead of live flesh and sinews, what was pasted onto the bones was a pallid and uninteresting filler. I got the idea that the author had run out of ideas and was trying to give the story enough words to make it into a full length novel.

What would have made it better would have been less passages which had nothing to do with moving the story forward and a few more red herrings that Cadfael had to solve before he could get to the actual mystery.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Probably the next book in the Old Man's War series: The Last Colony

Which character – as performed by Patrick Tull – was your favorite?

Patrick Tull is an amazing narrator. Every character he does seems unique, even many of the minor ones. His Cadfael is great and so is his Berringar.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Raven in the Foregate?

The scene where the Abbot does his sermon at the burial of the murdered priest. I could see no reason at all to include his sermon in the book. It had nothing to do with the story and was incredibly boring.

Any additional comments?

I have liked every Ellis Peters novel I've ever read/listened to. This is the first one that I gave up on before finishing. Don't take this review as indicative of the quality of her other books. I'm assuming she had an off year when she wrote this one.