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Cadfael 17 Potters Field [Paperback]

Ellis Peters
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 3 1998 The Cadfael Chronicles (Book 17)
The year is 1143, and once again Brother Cadfael is forced to abandon the tranquility of his herb garden and use his knowledge of human nature to solve a murder- this time frighteningly close to home. When a newly ploughed field, recently given to the Abbey yields that body of a young woman, Cadfael is quickly thrown into a delicate situation. The field was once ownded by a local potter named Ruald, who deserted his beautiful wife to take monastic vows among the Benedictines. The woman was said to have gone away with a lover, but now it would appear otherwise. With the arrival of young Sulien Blount, a novice fleeing homeward from the civil war raging in East Anglia, the mysteries surrounding the corpse start to multiply.

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Cadfael 17 Potters Field + Cadfael 15 Confess Brother + Brother Cadfael’s Penance
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Peter's 17th mystery featuring Brother Cadfael finds the 12th-century monk at his most sober and reflective, but his detecting talents are as dazzling as ever. When a newly tilled field recently given to the Benedictine abbey yields the hastily buried body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael takes a keen and immediate interest in the situation. Ruald, the former tenant of the land, entered the abbey as a novice a year earlier, abandoning his beautiful, young and extremely resentful wife, Generys. She has since mysteriously disappeared. Though it seems likely that the body is hers, Ruald is quickly cleared of suspicion via an unlikely source. Sulien Blount, a monk fleeing homeward from the devastating civil war near his own abbey, has solid proof that Generys was recently seen alive. When a second suspect, an itinerant peddlar, is arrested in connection with the murder, Sulien is again able to clear him. Brother Cadfael, deeply troubled, feels that Sulien knows much more than he is saying. An unusual air of melancholy pervades this novel as war, illness and human frailties take their tolls on the weary citizens of Shrewsbury. Created with Peters's consummate skill, Brother Cadfael's world is here seen through a darker glass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A pleasing and unusual mixture of suspense and historical fiction. EVENING STANDARD

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The book was all right Nov. 6 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I took the author to long to get to the point. She went all around in circles to get to the point
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Touching Mystery July 12 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Brother Cadfael I have been talked into reading, and I loved it. The characters are compelling and touching and the perpetrator of the crime is understood by the Benedictine monks, and, thus, the reader. It's the mystery that sucks you in, but it's the character development and the way the author tells of Medieval life that are the value here, I think. At the end, I teared up a bit. I'm anxious to read more about Brother Cadfael and his colleagues!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Plotter's Field Aug. 23 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The plot is a bit worn thin, but Peters keeps up the interest with a good set of engaging characters and her marvelous use of language. Still a worthwhile investment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Peters in full bloom. Aug. 23 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A particularly good effort by Peters. In addition to her intriguing characters and historical backdrop, she gives us a good murder mystery as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Touching Mystery July 12 1999
By Stacey M Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Brother Cadfael I have been talked into reading, and I loved it. The characters are compelling and touching and the perpetrator of the crime is understood by the Benedictine monks, and, thus, the reader. It's the mystery that sucks you in, but it's the character development and the way the author tells of Medieval life that are the value here, I think. At the end, I teared up a bit. I'm anxious to read more about Brother Cadfael and his colleagues!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Nov. 26 2011
By J. Smallridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book because the plot sounds so plain. However, I was blown away by Peter's ability to create a world and then draw a reader in with a fantastic mystery. This is a great book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, character study, and fine historical novel, all rolled into one Nov. 25 2012
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul accepts the gift of a field, and has it ploughed for planting. When the plough turns at the end of a row, it's stopped by something under the ground; and that something turns out to be the rotted clothing, and a long tress of black hair, from a buried body. Who was this woman who lies secretly in unhallowed ground? Was she murdered, as seems all too likely? Brother Ruald once owned this field, before the potter answered his late-in-life call to the cloister and left his wife in possession of his property. After which the woman, embittered at Ruald for abandoning her and declaring to anyone who would listen that she had since found a more discerning lover, vanished. She had long black hair - but so, of course, do many women. The body has been buried long enough so little is left but clothing, hair, and bone, so even Ruald cannot say whether or not it is that of his wife.

Meanwhile, as Lord Sheriff Hugh Beringar gathers his company and responds to King Stephen's call to battle in the civil war tearing at nearby East Anglia, a young man makes his way home on foot from an abbey that the war has laid waste. Sulien abruptly left his noble family after his father died in one of King Stephen's battles, and during the year since then he has completed his time as a novice. Now he must either make his final Benedictine vows, or decide his vocation was false and return to his life in the world. Sulien grew up as the frequent and welcome guest of Ruald and his childless wife at their cottage. When he learns that Ruald is under suspicion of murder after the discovery of a woman's body in the potter's field, Sulien tells Abbot Radulphus that he knows Ruald's estranged wife to be alive and well elsewhere. Brother Cadfael finds that story hard to believe, but he cannot believe, either, that Sulien killed the woman; nor can he believe Ruald is guilty. So Cadfael launches his own investigation into the matter, with the blessing of his abbot and without the usual assistance from his good friend the Lord Sheriff.

This seventeenth book in the Cadfael series works well as both mystery and character study, and it's also a fine historical novel. I especially enjoyed the "elderly" (for the era, not if she were living now) female character, Donata, who is Sulien's mother. Slowly dying from a painful illness, Donata resents the well intended protection laid around her by her elder son and his bride, and Cadfael - himself no longer young - understands that the strength of her character far exceeds that of her body. How Donata deals with being kept in ignorance, and therefore diminished, delighted me just as much as it did the herbalist monk. A really good read!

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely well written - a gentle & interesting story Feb. 8 2001
By FBH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
I found this (unabridged audio) book at the library - knew nothing about the series or the author. What a pleasant surprise! Very well written, a meticulously crafted story that gently unfolds in a way that engages you from the start without any bumps or discrepancies, using a language and style that seem to come from the very times that it describes. Written with an obvious affection for the characters portrayed. And Stephen Thorne's narration is equally masterful. My recent joy at discovering that there are at least 17 other books in the series had my daughters rolling their eyes like crazy in the bookstore. Can't wait to read more!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Burial Dec 30 2010
By Nash Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Abbey trades land with a neighboring diocese and plans a new use for a nice piece of land that once provided substance for a potter and his wife. The potter was visited by God and put aside his wife to become a brother in the cloister.
THE POTTER'S FIELD by Ellis Peters gives readers a glance into the customs of the early church and the passions that follow men and women to their deaths.
The body of a young woman is discovered as the plow turns the dark earth for cultivation. Who is this woman? How did she die? Why was her grave hidden from the offices of the church?
Brother Cadfael's search for the truth leads him into the home of a powerful local family who members have given their lives in service to the King and the Church with surprising results seldom present in the mystery.
Nash Black, author of TRAVELERS.
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