This is probably one of the most exciting books in the Cadfael series. As with most of the books of this series, it is not necessary to have read the previous books to be able to follow the actions and interactions of the characters.
The book opens with the peace of the monastery being disturbed during the evening prayers by a young man running in, pursued by the townsfolk. The man claims sanctuary, the right to be kept in the monastery for 40 days, and not turned over to the law. During these 40 days, Brother Cadfael begins to believe that the young man is not guilty of the crimes of murder and theft of which he has been accused.
The tension in this book mount subtly but steadily, as the violence in the town continues, and the time of sanctuary steadily ticks away.
All in all, an excellent read, and highly recommended.
Another great period mystery/detective story by Ellis Peters. This one was adapted for TV early in the Cadfael series and required that Abbot Radolphus be replaced by Abbot Hereford. Derek Jacoby as Brother Cadfael got to deliver most of the abbot's good lines. Other than that it was more faithful to the book than many of the TV episodes.
Both the book and the TV episode are eminantly entertaining and I can recommend both. Peters does a great job of evoking life in England at that time. ANd the book is as much an excuse to spend time in that period as to present and solve a mystery.
As always there are character details and subplots that had to be simplified for TV viewing so the book is a worthwhile read even if you are already familiar with the TV episode and vice versa.
This is the first book in which Brother Jerome appears that he's as hateful as he appears in the TV series.