In the summer of 1144, a strange calm has settled over England. The armies of King Stephen and Empress Maud have temporarily exhausted each other. Brother Cadfael considers peace a blessing, but a little excitement never comes amiss to a former soldier and Cadfael is delighted to accompany his young friend, Brother Mark, on a mission of church diplomacy to his native Wales, not expecting to be caught up in yet another royal feud. The Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd has banished his brother Cadwaladr, accusing him of the treacherous murder of an ally. The reckless Cadwaldr has retaliated by landing an army of Danish mercenaries, poised to invade Wales and retake his lost lands. As the two armies teeter on the brink of bloody civil war, Cadfael is captured by the Danes together with a headstrong young woman fleeing an arranged marriage, but before he can untangle such domestic passions, Cadfael has to survive the brotherly quarrel that could plunge an entire kingdom into deadly chaos.
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(177mm x 109mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
It's the summer of 1144, and Brother Cadfael, herbalist-sleuth of Shrewsbury's Benedictine Abbey, has joined wise young Brother Mark on a diplomatic mission to newly installed Bishop Gilbert of St. Aspath's Church in Wales. They're soon caught up in the affairs of warring brother princes Oswain and Cadwaladr - the latter has been lying low, disgraced by his brutal actions but soon to surface with a force of Danish mercenaries to try to recover the lands taken from him in punishment by his older brother. Cadfael, Mark, and another traveler - rebellious Heledd, daughter of Canon Meirion, on her way to an arranged marriage - are captured by the Danes and held hostage. There's a murder - not solved by Cadfael this time - and many battles of words and weapons before it's all over and Cadfael can return to the peace of his abbey. Densely packed with Welsh names and stately conversations, this isn't one of Peters's more vivacious efforts (Flight of a Witch, p. 441, etc.). English-history buffs and faithful fans will be pleased. Others may find the going a bit weighty. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ellis Peters
Ellis Peters is one of the pseudonyms of Edith Pargeter who wrote several books under her own name and also Peter Benedict, Jolyon Carr and John Redfern. She was the recipient of the Crime Writers Association and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. She died in 1995.