In the chilly, damp Autumn of 1144, two groups of visitors seek the hospitality of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and Brother Cadfael fears the trouble has come in with them. Among the first arrivals is Brother Tutilo, a young Benedictine with a guileless face and- to Brother Cadfael's shrewd eyes- a mischievous intelligence. The second group, a ribald French troubadour, his servant and a girl with the voice of an angel, seems to Brother Cadfael a catalyst for disaster. All of Cadfael's fears become manifest as rising flood waters endanger the abbey's most sacred relic, the remains of Saint Winfred. When the bones disappear and a dead body is found, Brother Cadfael knows that carnal and spiritual intrigues are afoot. Now, in a world that believes in signs and miracles, Brother Cadfael needs his prayers answered- as well as some heavenly guidance to crucial clues- to catch a killer hell-bent on murder.
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(187mm x 137mm x 19mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
In 1144, the Benedictine Abbey at Shrewsbury, home of herbalist-humanist-sleuth Brother Cadfael (The Summer of the Danes, etc.), has extended its hospitality to Brother Herluin and his novice attendant Brother Tutilo - both soliciting help for the ravaged Abbey at Ramsey, many miles away, left in shambles by the marauding forces of the Earl of Essex, now vanquished. Soon, they've collected alms, timber, and some willing workmen. Handsome young Tutilo has also used his beautiful voice to soothe the dying Lady Donata and has attracted the interest of the slave girl singer who's traveling with French troubadour Remy and his servant Benezet. As Tutilo's little band gets ready for the trip back to Ramsey, heavy rains put the Church's treasures in danger. All hands work to move them to higher ground. Only after the Ramsey group has left is it discovered that the reliquary of St. Winifred has disappeared. Its eventual reappearance and the confession of the thief pale next to the dramatic and tragic events that follow. Through it all, to the satisfying finale, Cadfael remains his benign, intuitive, appealing self. The pace sometimes slows to a near standstill; the elegant prose is sometimes excessive - but, for the patient, the reward is finely wrought transport to another time. (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.