The year is 1142, and all England is in the iron grip of a civil war. And within the sheltered cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the political upheavals of the outside world. First, there is the sad demise of Richard Ludel, Lord of Eyton, whose ten year old son ...
The year is 1142, and all England is in the iron grip of a civil war. And within the sheltered cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the political upheavals of the outside world. First, there is the sad demise of Richard Ludel, Lord of Eyton, whose ten year old son and heir, also named Richard, is a pupil at the Abbey. Supported by the Abbot Radulfus, the boy refuses to surrender his new powers to Dionysia, his furious, formidable grandmother. A stranger to the region is the hermit Cuthred, who enjoys the protection of Lady Dionysia, and whose young companion Hycacinth, befriends Richard. Despite his reputation for holiness, Cuthred's arrival heralds a series of mishaps for the monks. When Richard disappears and a corspe is found in Eyton forest, Brother Cadfael is once more forced to leave the tranquility of his herb garden and devote his knowledge of human nature to tracking down a ruthless murderer.
Publishers Weekly, 1988-02-05 Brother Cadfael, the 11th century Benedictine monk who functions admirably as healer, matchmaker and sleuth, marshals his considerable talents to solve two murders in this well-plotted but somewhat slick mystery. Ten-year-old Richard Ludel, a bright and independent student entrusted to the abbey's care by his father, has just inherited a large estate upon his father's death. His formidable grandmother, Dame Dionisia, insists that the unwilling boy be returned home and marry the heiress to the adjoining property. Two mysterious tenants on Dame Dionisia's land, a devout hermit, Cuthred, and his young aid, Hyacinth, are in league wtih the domineering dowager, who is unaware that Hyacinth is actually a runaway villein and that Cuthred's background is particularly heinous. When Richard disappears from the abbey, Dame Dionisia is immediately suspect. Other ominous events follow rapidly: an inquisitive nobleman is murdered in the forest; Hyacinth vanishes; and Cuthred is stabbed to death. Brother Cadfael must summon all his talents to solve the crimes, simultaneously playing matchmaker, doctor and high political games. Unfortunately, most of the characters are glibly superficial: lovers are fair and pure; villains cruel and swarthy. In his 14th appearance, however, Brother Cadfael remains as shrewd and unpredictable as ever. (March)
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