Reading these short stories of Brother Cadfael reminded me of why I love the Benedictine sleuth so much -- his humanity, his compassion and his commitment to what is right, even when it goes against what the great and powerful would call "justice."
How Cadfael dealt with the theft of two candlesticks from the abbey church in "The Price of Light" left me with tears in my eyes.
Another excellent Cadfael mystery.
A soldier finds God. . ., December 21, 2000
Reviewer: David Zampino (Delavan, Wisconsin)
Did you ever wonder just how the soldier, Crusader, and lover of the pleasures of life became the Benedictine monk known as Brother Cadfael? In this wonderful collection of short stories, you will discover the answer to your question. (In fact, the spiritual journey of the good brother will not be totally alien to those in the 21st century who find themselves searching for fulfillment in a materialistic world. But I digress.)
Although not as deep or complex as the full-length novels, "A Rare Benedictine" will serve as a welcome addition for those already addicted to Brother Cadfael.
Adorned with many period illustrations by Clifford Harper, these three tales show Cadfael at the height of his sleuthing form. All the complexities of plot, vividly evoked Shropshire backgrounds, and warm understanding of the frailties of human nature that have made Ellis Peters an international best-seller are here displayed to perfection.
The finest in historical mysteries - Peters has a cult following in England. Every book contains it all - mystery, history, character study.
How Cadfael became a monk in Shrewsbury monastery.
Published later but this book is a pre-story
which explains how cadfael left the adventuring life
for the monastic life.
A wonderful novel--thouroughly enjoyed.
Brother Cadfael faces a theft at the abbey and solves it all.
After 20 novel-length mysteries, many readers were left wanting to know more about Ellis Peters' detective monk Brother Cadfael. The first story in this collection of three, "A Light on the Road to Woodstock", answers, in part, the question of how Cadfael came to be a Benedictine monk after having been a crusader, a sailor, and a soldier. The story opens as King Henry II's court is leaving France.
In a way, this is also the beginning of the backdrop for the novels. The last ship to leave Barfleur that day, the famous White Ship, struck a rock and sank, killing all aboard, including Henry's only son and heir, William. This sets the stage for the feud between Henry's daughter Maud and her cousin Stephen over who would rule England.
Cadfael, happily, finds himself on an earlier ship, a man-at-arms for a lordling with questionable scruples. Along the journey, he talks with his companion, Alard, who had once been an oblate, but ran away to seek adventure. Cadfael begins to question the direction his own life is going, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The other two stories in the book are more difficult to place in Cadfael's career. Radulfus is Abbot, but no mention is made of Hugh Beringar, Cadfael's friend and foil. Neither is any mention made of the larger historical background of Maud and Stephen's feud.
"The Price of Light" revolves around the disappearance of a gift to the Abbey. In "Eye Witness", the Abbey's steward is attacked, robbed and thrown into the Severn to die while collecting the Abbey's annual rents. Cadfael solves both mysteries with his usual shrewdness and compassion for human frailties.
By necessity, the stories move faster than the novels, and perhaps are a little less complex in their solutions than the novels. But that doesn't mean they are any less engaging. Peters again demonstrates her eye for medieval detail.
The only jarring note comes with the twist at the end of "Eye Witness", one that has seen numerous variations throughout literature. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say, I felt it was a trifle trite.
Prequel to the Brother Cadfael Mysteries. Ellis Peters tells us the back story of how her Welshman had his change of vocation on the road to Woodstock.
Three Brother Cadfael stories, including the tale of how he became a monk.
If you enjoy historical novels, gardening, herbs, and mystery novels this is the book series for you. When I read the Borther Calfael mysteries I feel like I'm there with him, seeing things unfold. The plots are great - no guessing the plot first thing. Enjoy!
this book is divided into 3 parts. the story starts with Cadfael 'approaching 60yrs,experienced,fully armed, and 17yrs tonsured'.
the first part Cadfael is leaving with his master [employer], his part of the crusades, arriving in wales, the country of his birth.His comrade in arms a monk that had left his Benedictine abbey,talking like a man with a lot of regrets.He sparked in Cadfael the acceptance that his life to date,had reached it's natural turning point,and the need to follow a different life,his vocation.
the second part he enters the Benedict Abbey of ST Peter and ST Paul at Shrewsbury.
the second part has him at home with his herbs,herb garden, supplying medications for any one, he has made his niche using knowledge he learned during the crusades.he also used his knowledge of the world to solve crimes. the third part is showing his ability and how it has matured.