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Have really enjoyed re reading all the Cadfael Chronicles, I read most of them many years ago and have really enjoyed reading the whole series from go to whoa. Just wish there were more of them. To make them even more interesting, as I investigate my ancestry, some of my ancestors came from that area and were infact sheriffs of Shrewsbury and Knights and barons etc so it makes all the stories far more interesting and believable, even some Welsh among them.
I have most of the Cadfael books and really like the way they are written. I have read most of them several times. However, I didn't think this was one of her best and probably will not read it again. I am glad I bought it on offer.
It did have the usual wonderful characters that the author portrayed so well, but I didn't think it had enough action. I was also disappointed when it finished at 84% as I was expecting more. I think the ending could have been expanded upon and the killer's motives explored more. Also, though I was delighted that the odious Brother Jerome at last got his "comeuppance", I thought that his punishment could have been handled in more detail.
The usual boy meets girl scenario occurred, but again, not in any great detail. Altogether, this was an o.k. read but nothing special.
The penultimate story in the brilliant Brother Cadfael series is still a good read, though I did feel that perhaps the wonderful Ellis Peters was running a little short of ideas for this set of stories, as the plotline relies heavily on 'divine guidance' to help the inimitable Cadfael solve the mystery of murder and theft in 1140's Shrewsbury.
The basis of the story sees two brothers of Ramsey Abbey on a mission to raise much-needed funds and craftsmen to rebuild their fortunes, one of whom being not yet fully avowed to the Order and an angelic, talented young musician and singer to boot. He catches the eye of a slave girl in the company of a troubadour on the lookout for a new patron, as well as a local manor matriarch, sick unto dying, whom he plays for on a couple of occasions. When rains threaten to flood parts of the abbey, the Shrewsbury monks take decisive action and remove all their valuables to higher ground, including their precious Saint Winifred. And it is there where the trouble begins, when her reliquary is stolen and found by the redoubtable Earl of Leicester's men on the road to Ramsey, after their cart bearing collected alms is pillaged. Who stole the saint? And who, now, has claims to her? For both the Ramsey monk and the bored, clever Earl lay claim to her bones and return to Shrewsbury to see which of the three has right to keep her. It's whilst Cadfael is trying to prove who stole the saint in the first place that a murder of a local farmer, the witness, takes place. Now they need to solve the mystery of who murdered this poor witness before the young musician monk is hanged for the crime.
Still good, because it has the wonderful prose of Peters as well as the characters you have become so attached to, but I did find my credibility strained a little in this story, because of the whole 'divine intervention' bit, which although relevant to a certain extent because of the fact that the tale does revolve around the lives of monks, was a bit overdone in my opinion to allow the story to retain Peters's usual brilliance of solving crimes.
I am delighted that Ellis Peters Cadfael series has reached Kindle. I've bought the lot and cleared my bookshelves of the paper books, as I much prefer having my library on Kindle and space in my rooms. I enjoy these historical mysteries and like the character of the old monk, Cadfael, who has seen much of the world and voluntarily left if behind. It makes him much a more humane character. They express the toughness and hardship of the age without gratuitous violence.