Ellis Peters writes wonderful, complex and sympathetic characters. The rich characters in this book drive the story and the mystery. Cadfael applies his sympathetic understanding of people to get at the truth and ease the mind of a new novice who seems to be undergoing mental torture.
From the back cover: The younger son of a prominent family, Meriet Aspley arrives at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, determined to become a monk. Dark, solitary, and just nineteen, he seems sincere in his quest for the ecclesiastical life--until his screaming nightmares shatter the peace of the monastery.
Dubbed the devil's novice and shunned by the other brothers, young Aspley attracts the notice and concern of kind Brother Cadfael. Then the dead body of a young priest last seen at the Aspley estate appears, and suddenly Meriet Aspley may be implicated in a murder.
So Cadfael, that excellent sleuth, sets out to untangle a knot of truly twisted threads that lead to a gala wedding held in the Abbey's own halls--where the conclusion to this haunting mystery is finally and fatefully revealed.
Joan N. reviewed The Devil's Novice (Cadfael, Bk 8) on
All the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters are wonderful--I own all of them and am rereading them. They are set in the 12th century and follow this monks life through part of the time when Maud and Stephen were fighting for the throne of England--history definitely impacts the books. The only reason I have to buy more is because my daughter-in-law is stealing them! These books have no graphic sex, a romance in most, characters that develop over time in there relationships, and a wonderful sense of peace and humanity in the books. I can't recommend them too highly. PS The first one, A Morbid Taste for Bones, is good but may not have the depth of the others. Keep going!