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Cadfael 19 Holy Thief [Paperback]

Ellis Peters
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 13 1998 The Cadfael Chronicles (Book 19)
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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From Publishers Weekly

Less predictable and far more complex than many of the 18 previous Brother Cadfael chronicles, this 12th-century mystery pits the sacred against the secular, and cleric against cleric. A sub-prior and his young novice appeal to the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewsbury for aid in rebuilding their own monastery at Ramsey, which had been defiled by outlaws. Craftsmen, building materials and even jewelry are gladly given and are to be transported to Ramsey. The promise of spring floods makes haste imperative, and in the confusion another item is slipped aboard the cart: the casket containing the remains of St. Winifred, Shrewsbury's revered patron saint. The Shrewsbury monks grieve over its loss, and the faction at Ramsey sorely covets it. When the one person who could identify the sacrilegious thief is murdered, Sheriff Hugh Beringar is summoned and Cadfael's special skills are put to the test. Cadfael--a herbalist, matchmaker, detective and medical examiner--must now be a psychologist as well, soothing egos, calming nerves and finding a killer. Twelfth-century Shropshire comes vividly alive when peopled with Peters's aristocratic ladies, sturdy lawmen, eager squires and, above all, devout--and devious--monks.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Monks from another abbey and a troubadour and his servants are visiting the abbey in Shrewbury when the bones of St. Winifred, its patron saint, are stolen. Brother Cadfael must locate them before a long-held secret is revealed about them that would be embarrassing for him. Then the murders begin . . . . This medieval mystery series continues as Brother Cadfael identifies and pursues each clue in this unusual and entertaining story. Precise words accurately describe the period, and they can usually be understood in context. It will be easy for teens to like the clerical sleuth because of his delightful charm and keen wit. Although religious, he is not sanctimonious.
- Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the theft St. Winifred's will? May 27 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Ideally, read all the preceding books in the series, in order, before reading this one. At a minimum, first read #1 (_A Morbid Taste for Bones_, the story of how St. Winifred's reliquary came to the abbey) to avoid spoiling the end of that book, and _The Potter's Field_, which introduced the Blounts of Longner. If you're interested in an audio edition, check that you're getting the unabridged recording narrated by Stephen Thorne.
In the summer of 1144, Geoffrey de Mandeville - after more than a year of running the Fens as his own private robber kingdom - was shot almost by accident during a siege, and died from the infected wound. His lengthy death gave him no chance to receive absolution - only the Pope could have absolved one guilty of the seizure of the abbey of Ramsey - but Geoffrey's followers did what they could for him, restoring the despoiled abbey to its scattered monks. Thus the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul receives two guests of their own order from Ramsey - grim subprior Herluin and his appealing assistant Tutilo - asking leave to preach. Ramsey needs money, materials, and labour to undo the damage left by Geoffrey's marauders.
Herluin guided their footsteps to Shrewsbury not only to request assistance, but to recall Sulien Blount of Longner, sometime novice of Ramsey, who was sent home to reconsider his vocation. (See _The Potter's Field_ for details.) Cadfael, therefore, accompanies Herluin and his young companion Tutilo to Longner to speak with Sulien - and appeal for the Blounts' generosity toward Ramsey. While Herluin pursues his errand, Cadfael introduces Tutilo to Sulien's dying mother, the formidable Donata, who is more than happy to welcome a bard, even if he's now a novice monk. (Their friendship, brief as it is, is touching.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Medieval Mystery Jan. 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ellis Peters creates a realistic atmosphere of medieval England, circa 1144 AD. What makes this otherwise run of the mill murder mystery with paper thin characterizations worthwhile is Ms. Peters' juxtaposition of religion and civil law to solve the crimes. The story involves the theft of the remains of the Welsh Saint Winifred during a flood and the seemingly related subsequent murder of young Brother Anselm. Law officer Hugh Beringar is very careful not to tread on the religious customs and priorities involved in "the holy theft" of this beloved saint. Hugh leaves it to the brotherhood to mete out the punishment for this type of felony. Otherwise, Brother Cadfael and the other denizens of the abbey at Shrewsbury work hand in hand with the civil authorities to bring the culprits to justice.
Adding to the story element of mystery and mysticism are some of the rituals utilized by the churchmen to help them in solving the crimes. A particularly engaging episode concerns their random selection of passages from the New Testament to guide them in their quest. Ms. Peters also makes colorful reference to blackthorn leaves in Brother Cadfael's efforts to resolve the mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael steals the show! June 19 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It goes without saying that stealing is one of the sins in life--and with her usual characteristic zeal, author Ellis Peters adds murder to that list!
In "The Holy Thief," the 19th chronicle of Brother Cadfael, Peters continues her top-flight form of the medieval whodunnit and, as usual, her protagonist, the good Benedictine monk, rides to the rescue and solution.
The year is 1144--and still King Stephen and Empress Maud are struggling in an interminable civil war, with no solution in sight. However, that historical fact is mere backdrop--as it usually is--to a more local concern. A renowned earl (Essex) is killed by an arrow, but not before he tries to make amends with Heaven by restoring some of the properties he had earlier "gained." This includes the abbey of Ramsey, a run-down site badly in need of more worldly help. The abbey sends envoys out, and one such envoy arrives in Shrewsbury, at the abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Cadfael's domain. The envoy includes Brother Herluin and his young novice Tutilo, who possesses a great singing voice along with other musical skills. In Shrewsbury is also, as the plot would have it, a beautiful slave girl (also a singer) named Daalny.
Suffice it to say, Peters lays a solid romantic setting. But the rains come, so much so that much of the abbey's possessions, including the holy relics, must be moved to safety. But not so safely after all, as a theft is discovered. And this soon leads to--you have it--a murder.
And Cadfael takes over. Using not only his brilliance, but his skills as the abbey's herbalist, Cadfael wastes no time in carefully solving the crime. Of course, as in all the Cadfael adventures, the murder is solved. The solution rarely comes easily for this ex-crusader, nor should it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Let this book steal a few moments of your time! July 14 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Excellent plot with Peters's engaging style and way with characters provides a great read. There's more than the usual sample of humor as the state of St. Winifred's bones is the centerpiece to the story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael steals the show! June 19 2000
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It goes without saying that stealing is one of the sins in life--and with her usual characteristic zeal, author Ellis Peters adds murder to that list!
In "The Holy Thief," the 19th chronicle of Brother Cadfael, Peters continues her top-flight form of the medieval whodunnit and, as usual, her protagonist, the good Benedictine monk, rides to the rescue and solution.
The year is 1144--and still King Stephen and Empress Maud are struggling in an interminable civil war, with no solution in sight. However, that historical fact is mere backdrop--as it usually is--to a more local concern. A renowned earl (Essex) is killed by an arrow, but not before he tries to make amends with Heaven by restoring some of the properties he had earlier "gained." This includes the abbey of Ramsey, a run-down site badly in need of more worldly help. The abbey sends envoys out, and one such envoy arrives in Shrewsbury, at the abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Cadfael's domain. The envoy includes Brother Herluin and his young novice Tutilo, who possesses a great singing voice along with other musical skills. In Shrewsbury is also, as the plot would have it, a beautiful slave girl (also a singer) named Daalny.
Suffice it to say, Peters lays a solid romantic setting. But the rains come, so much so that much of the abbey's possessions, including the holy relics, must be moved to safety. But not so safely after all, as a theft is discovered. And this soon leads to--you have it--a murder.
And Cadfael takes over. Using not only his brilliance, but his skills as the abbey's herbalist, Cadfael wastes no time in carefully solving the crime. Of course, as in all the Cadfael adventures, the murder is solved. The solution rarely comes easily for this ex-crusader, nor should it. Peters does not rush into her novels, which are characterized by logic and sound research.
Peters' very successful series has been adapted to TV, and while the episodes are generally very good, the televised portrayal of both Cadfael and the story line leaves quite a bit to be desired, as good as they are. The books are the better choice. I have never been disappointed and "The Holy Thief" is no exception.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Medieval Mystery Jan. 18 2002
By IRA Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ellis Peters creates a realistic atmosphere of medieval England, circa 1144 AD. What makes this otherwise run of the mill murder mystery with paper thin characterizations worthwhile is Ms. Peters' juxtaposition of religion and civil law to solve the crimes. The story involves the theft of the remains of the Welsh Saint Winifred during a flood and the seemingly related subsequent murder of young Brother Anselm. Law officer Hugh Beringar is very careful not to tread on the religious customs and priorities involved in "the holy theft" of this beloved saint. Hugh leaves it to the brotherhood to mete out the punishment for this type of felony. Otherwise, Brother Cadfael and the other denizens of the abbey at Shrewsbury work hand in hand with the civil authorities to bring the culprits to justice.
Adding to the story element of mystery and mysticism are some of the rituals utilized by the churchmen to help them in solving the crimes. A particularly engaging episode concerns their random selection of passages from the New Testament to guide them in their quest. Ms. Peters also makes colorful reference to blackthorn leaves in Brother Cadfael's efforts to resolve the mystery.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the theft St. Winifred's will? May 27 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
Ideally, read all the preceding books in the series, in order, before reading this one. At a minimum, first read #1 (_A Morbid Taste for Bones_, the story of how St. Winifred's reliquary came to the abbey) to avoid spoiling the end of that book, and _The Potter's Field_, which introduced the Blounts of Longner. If you're interested in an audio edition, check that you're getting the unabridged recording narrated by Stephen Thorne.
In the summer of 1144, Geoffrey de Mandeville - after more than a year of running the Fens as his own private robber kingdom - was shot almost by accident during a siege, and died from the infected wound. His lengthy death gave him no chance to receive absolution - only the Pope could have absolved one guilty of the seizure of the abbey of Ramsey - but Geoffrey's followers did what they could for him, restoring the despoiled abbey to its scattered monks. Thus the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul receives two guests of their own order from Ramsey - grim subprior Herluin and his appealing assistant Tutilo - asking leave to preach. Ramsey needs money, materials, and labour to undo the damage left by Geoffrey's marauders.
Herluin guided their footsteps to Shrewsbury not only to request assistance, but to recall Sulien Blount of Longner, sometime novice of Ramsey, who was sent home to reconsider his vocation. (See _The Potter's Field_ for details.) Cadfael, therefore, accompanies Herluin and his young companion Tutilo to Longner to speak with Sulien - and appeal for the Blounts' generosity toward Ramsey. While Herluin pursues his errand, Cadfael introduces Tutilo to Sulien's dying mother, the formidable Donata, who is more than happy to welcome a bard, even if he's now a novice monk. (Their friendship, brief as it is, is touching.) Young Tutilo is what would now be called a renaissance man, and would be wasted as a monk - if he ever gets that far after meeting the Irish girl Daalny, slave to the Provencal troubadour staying at the abbey guesthouse. Daalny's voice is such as to attract any musician - part of the troubadour's stock in trade. Nevertheless, Tutilo seems passionate enough on Ramsey's behalf.
Unfortunately, someone appears to have been a little *too* enthusiastic for Ramsey's sake - while preparing for a flood, someone stole St. Winifred's relics, and the chief suspects are the brothers of Ramsey. How, after all, could anyone steal the reliquary if the saint didn't *want* to go elsewhere? To further complicate the ensuing dispute over the saint's wishes, the reliquary comes into the hands of Earl Robert "Bossu" Beaumont, a brilliant man with a sly sense of humor who decides to further complicate matters by pointing out that the saint came to rest in *his* care and seems content to stay there. (Robert - who was a real person, incidentally - here makes his debut in the series as a very impressive figure; the crooked back that gave him his nickname doesn't hinder him at all.) Only Brother Cadfael and his confidant Hugh Beringar know just how complicated this situation really is - before a man on the fringes of the quarrel is murdered on a dark night. But was he killed for himself - or because he was mistaken for one of the disputants?
Very nicely ties up some loose ends from _The Potter's Field_, while raking up the old problem of the reliquary very creatively. Robert Bossu alone would be worth the price of admission. :)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holy shenanigans! May 18 2006
By Beverley Strong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this penultimate chronicle of Brothet Cadfael, herbalist, monk and resident sleuth of the Abbey of St.Peter and St.Paul, the waters of the local river are rising to dangerous levels, forcing the evacuation of their precious relics and treasures to higher ground, including the silver coffin containing the bones of Cadfael's special saint, St. Winifred of Wales. Following the sacking of the Abbey's sister house in the fens by the evil Geoffrey de Mandeville, Herluin, the sub prior of that house, accompanied by a novice monk, Tutilio, is sheltered at the Abbey while on a quest to raise funds to enable their own Abbey to be rebuilt. During the upheaval of rescuing the relics from the flood waters, the coffin of St.Winifred disappears and consequently is deemed to have been loaded on to a cart with donated building timber and a large quantity of silver and jewellery. The drivers of the cart stumble back to the Abbey, claiming to have been set upon and robbed by a band of marauders. The coffin is found intact and taken to the nearby manor of the Earl of Leicester who stakes a claim to retain the relics, is joined in another claim by Sub Prior Herluin and naturally enough by the Shrewsbury Abbey in a three way tussle for possession of poor little St.Winifred's bones. The side characters in this story are well drawn and very interesting, making the thought that the next book is the last in the series and so I'm prolonging the pleasure by reading a non connected book in between !
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saint's Bones Jan. 16 2011
By Nash Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Father Cadfael is called upon the prove a young man innocent of murder though the novice has admitted he engineered the thieft of Saint Winifred's sacred bones during a flooding of the abbey. THE HOLY THIEF by Ellis Peters is an excellent addition to the series.
To remove some of the pressure from their chief Geoffrey de Mandeville as he is dying his followers restore the ravaged abby of Ramsey to the Benedictines. Rebuilding is expensive and the monks set out to raise the means. Brother Tutilo is determined to prove his faith and arranges for the sacred bones of Saint Winifred to be included in a shipment to Ramsey. This begins the tale of a struggle for power, standing, and fame that lead to murder.
As always Father Cadfael is a good read on a snowy day.
Nash Black, author of QUALIFYING LAPS.
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