From Library Journal
Little peace is to be found in England in the year 1142 as civil war continues to rage. The effects of the violence reach even into the cloistered world of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul. Richard Ludel, the father of one of the abbey's students, has recently died of wounds received in battle. His ten-year-old son, also called Richard, has now become Lord of Eaton. Richard's formidable grandmother, Dionysia, wants the boy released from the abbey's custody, where his father placed him, into her own. She has contracted a child marriage for young Richard that will gain the Ludels control over a large neighboring estate. No one is exactly what they seem, and more than one character has a past that bears closer examination. Add to this several subplots and a large amount of political intrigue, and you have a great story. Although Brother Cadfael is more an observer than an actor in this work, bodies and red herrings pile up in a satisfying way before all the puzzles are solved. In a departure from most of the Cadfael books, the reader here is female, Roe Kendall. The gender change does not diminish the listener's pleasure; Kendall has a fine touch with accents, and it is easy to tell the characters apart. Recommended for public library collections where works by Peters and historical mysteries are popular. Barbara Rhodes, Northeast Texas Lib. Syst., Garland
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Charmingly and humourously told. TLS
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