The Virgin in the Ice

The Sixth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
Narrated by: Patrick Tull
Series: Brother Cadfael, Book 6
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (306 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Civil war continues to blaze in the autumn of 1139. Amid the uncertainty and peril of the moment two noble children make their escape, headed for Shrewsbury. But for reasons no one knows, the young fugitives never reach their destination.
©1982 Ellis Peters (P)1992 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A splendid combination of romance, mystery, medieval swashbuckling." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Good Story, Great Narrator

Patrick Tull, may he rest in peace, gave seamless performances, and this is one of them. The story is classic Ellis Peters - a well-crafted mystery set in a slower time. Cadfael's forensics were as scientific as the times allowed, but just as much about heart and his understanding of human nature. These are characters I care about, who interest me. I'll keep listening.

4 people 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

Many strands of mystery resolved with grace

An excellent story with valiant and loving characters!
Precise language, vivid characters, rich historical details.
Perfect narrator for a mesmerizing and complex tale that is full of faith and grace.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I prefer Sir Derek!

What did you love best about The Virgin in the Ice?

This is my 2nd favorite Cadfael novel. The book introduces Cadfael's son, one of my favorite characters in the entire series. BTW First favorite is Brother Cadfael's Penance in which also includes Cadfael's son.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Olivier, Cadfael's son who manages to get into what amounted to enemy territory and get back out without getting caught and still do what he was sent there for.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Tull's voice fits the book and it's characters but he has a tendency to get a bit carried away. I have listened to Derek Jacobi's versions of the Cadfael books. He played Cadfael in the British TV series based on the books. He does a better job IMHO by keeping the needed interest without going off the deep end the way Tull has a habit of doing, more so in this book than he did in the other Cadfael book I have of his, "One Corpse Too Many"

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I have done so twice now and have also listened to it in parts during my working hours.

Any additional comments?

I like Tull's performance but I would like to see the unabridged versions by Derek Jacobi available as well. If they were available, I'd buy the lot!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Story, Superb Narrator

The Brother Cadfael books are among some of my most favorite. This particular book is among my most favorite of the Cadfael books. And this narrator does a simply masterful job in bringing this story to life. An audiobook I will listen to again and again.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Made Me Tear Up

Outstanding way of putting together 5 books. Best book yet of series. Love this series.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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You need to fix the Audible Version of this book!

The reason for my giving a low rating to this book is because this is the 5th Audible book in this wonderful series where the Audible doesn't match with the Kindle written version. I couldn't read along as I like on my Kindle Fire. The recording would stop everytime I attempted to read.. So now I will check my library or do without the Audible. The reader was excellent; I just couldn't follow along.

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Disappointed with the 'Mystery'

When the title mystery in your mystery book ends up as a minor subplot, something left the rails. Its resolution felt like brushing aside an afterthought. While there were plenty of elements that could have been entertaining, many of the connections felt contrived, and more of a halfhearted attempt to make sure the same guest characters appeared in them.

In a book full of contrivances, the backstory of "Olivier" felt especially contrived when presented. Claiming to be a half-syrian bastard of a crusader who abandoned him before birth; raised muslim and converting after the death of his only known relative to christianity; and then not only being accepted into the service of a crusader, but as a squire; and to top it off sent to rescue said crusader's kin alone? My credulity did not stretch that far. I was convinced that this had to be a lie told by the character in-story. With the book bereft of attention on the title mystery, I attempted to suss out the truth. So what would be the clues? Dark hair and olive complexion said it could be anywhere in the mediterranian. Better french than Enlish led me to guess Spain or Italy. The extreme lengths taken to avoid killing the known murderous bandits during his "infiltration" of the camp made me even more suspicious.

I could only conclude that he was in cahoots with the bandits, but looking to his own escape from the siege. While this failed to explain why his betrayal didn't come with bloodshed, it still made more sense than a 'rescuer' who made the rescue more difficult through not not justifiably dealing with these outlaws in the manner a fighting man would be most trained to do. The only story that made any sense to me was that he didn't want to weaken the defenses too badly so that both bandit and lawmen would be badly weakened, reducing the difficulty in asserting his bogus mission and depart with the children to ransom them for his own gain. That he was likely a con man from either spain or italy who had gathered the particulars during the hue and cry raised when the lot first disappeared. Knowing their uncle had not gone by way of his homeland, he explained away his appearance by a flimsy tale, counting on his charisma to sell the falsehood. Then at the last minute, his dastardly plan would be foiled in some manner through the use of the brooch pin that the hiding of was so brought to our attention. The fact that each time he appeared he was ever more sinister in action and aspect contrasted with too-perfect qualities and unquestioning adoration from the children made me ever more certain he would be unmasked as a scoundrel.

Absolutely none of what I came up with was even close.

The real story was much less credible than even that, and left me sourly disposed to the work.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun storyline, awkward read

I loved this story. it took me a while to get into the reading, though: odd pauses, clipped phrases. But I did like the simple voices used for the characters.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best so far

Besides the excellent performance, this is also a great story with well developed characters and some surprising twists.

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excellent!

Engaging story, impeccable performance. A murder mystery, a love story, a dashing hero. recommended highly!