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Summer of the Danes [Paperback]

Ellis Peters
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Oct. 17 1991 --  
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Book Description

Oct. 17 1991
The eighteenth volume in the CHRONICLES OF BROTHER CADFAEL series, in which Cadfael, on an errand in Wales, learns that a Danish mercenary fleet is sailing up the Menai Strait, at the same time a young girl goes missing, and a corpse is found. Follows THE POTTER'S FIELD.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Twelfth-century monk and sleuth Brother Cadfael, making his 18th appearance, must go deep into Wales on a pilgrimage of Church diplomacy.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

When Brother Cadfael is excused from his duties at Shrewsbury Abbey to accompany Brother Mark on a mission of church diplomacy, he considers it a wonderful stroke of good luck. He gets to venture into his much-loved Wales as a Welsh translator for messages Brother Mark is carrying to two newly appointed bishops. The first message is delivered to the court of Bishop Gilbert, who is playing host to Prince Owain Gwynedd and trying to smooth the relations between Welsh royalty and the Church. During their stay at Gilbert's court, Cadfael and Mark meet a lovely young woman, Heledd, who comes to figure prominently in the story, and Bledri ap Rhys, a messenger from Owain's rebellious brother, Cadwaladr. When Cadfael and Mark continue their journey to visit the second of the new bishops, they find themselves part of a larger traveling party. Listeners expecting one of Brother Cadfael's usual adventures will be disappointed; here he is more observer than actor. Political mayhem, war, murder, and even romance are all results of conflicted loyalties. Patrick Tull's narration is precise and accurate if somewhat dry. It's easy to differentiate among Welsh, English and Irish-Danish characters but not quite as easy to sort out separate characters when they have the same dialect. Still, Tull seems to have done very well with what must have been a challenging assignment. Recommended where works by Peters or other Brother Cadfael titles are popular. - Barbara Rhodes, Northeast Texas Lib. Syst., Garland
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Peters' Cadfael takes on a Danish role! May 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is not the summer of his discontent, washed by the sun of Yorke; however, it is the season for another Cadfael adventure and mystery! And Ellis Peters, in her usual intriguing way, presents us with her 18th Brother Cadfael episode in "The Summer of the Danes."
The year is 1144--the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud still rages on--and Brother Cadfael is called upon to be an interpreter to the Welsh village of Saint Asaph. Cadfael is Welsh born and he welcomes the journey to his homeland as a pleasant break from his duties as a brother at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury.
As it turns out--and naturally, as this is an Ellis Peters mystery!--a Danish fleet is sighted along the coast of Wales, a real menace, indeed. Then a young girl goes missing. Then a body is found. And Cadfael is off and running.
So is the reader! Having read all the Brother Cadfael series, I found this to be one of my favorites. Peters wastes no time in developing her story and does not hesitate to flavor her plot with plenty of Welsh history and lore. Will the Danes invade? Will the murderer be brought to justice? Cadfael's expertise, once again, proves to be essential in the resolution of the crimes.
Cadfael is the former crusader now turned monk who, while not solving murder cases, works as the Abbey's herbalist and is known throughout the area for his skills in medicine. The "Sunday Express" writes: "Cadfael...springs to life in her books, which are novels with depth. He is a man of warmth, humanity and engaging nosiness."
Do not be misled by the British TV series of the Cadfael stories.
Read more ›
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Story, no mystery and more Jan. 31 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story is rather shallow and not intruiging at all. Although I`m very interested in medieval mystery storys I found this one particularly boring. There is no ambiente in this story, I never felt anything or smelled what it would be like to be in Wales in the 12th century. Much worse are the charakters. They are very poorly made and mere onedimensional. Also, like in an early Western one is to tell good from bad in a second. The good (or noble) people are blonde, tall, muscular, intelligent, blue-eyed and strong willed. The bad ones are dark, small, fat or skinny, dumb and dark-eyed. This, pardon me if it is not so, looks to me (a concerned Austrian)like Nazi- ideology and some kind of Übermensch- fantasy. It reminds me of the ideal Aryan: blonde, blue-eyed, tall and muscular. That is a subliminial message I couldn`t stand. Stay with Paul Harding (P.C.Doherty) or C.L.Grace instead for fun and charakters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good story, but no mystery July 20 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a good story which Peters populates with memorable characters, but Cadfael is merely a passenger, albeit an insightful one, in this effort.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peters' Cadfael takes on a Danish role! May 4 2000
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is not the summer of his discontent, washed by the sun of Yorke; however, it is the season for another Cadfael adventure and mystery! And Ellis Peters, in her usual intriguing way, presents us with her 18th Brother Cadfael episode in "The Summer of the Danes."
The year is 1144--the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud still rages on--and Brother Cadfael is called upon to be an interpreter to the Welsh village of Saint Asaph. Cadfael is Welsh born and he welcomes the journey to his homeland as a pleasant break from his duties as a brother at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury.
As it turns out--and naturally, as this is an Ellis Peters mystery!--a Danish fleet is sighted along the coast of Wales, a real menace, indeed. Then a young girl goes missing. Then a body is found. And Cadfael is off and running.
So is the reader! Having read all the Brother Cadfael series, I found this to be one of my favorites. Peters wastes no time in developing her story and does not hesitate to flavor her plot with plenty of Welsh history and lore. Will the Danes invade? Will the murderer be brought to justice? Cadfael's expertise, once again, proves to be essential in the resolution of the crimes.
Cadfael is the former crusader now turned monk who, while not solving murder cases, works as the Abbey's herbalist and is known throughout the area for his skills in medicine. The "Sunday Express" writes: "Cadfael...springs to life in her books, which are novels with depth. He is a man of warmth, humanity and engaging nosiness."
Do not be misled by the British TV series of the Cadfael stories. While on the surface they are quite adequate (Derek Jacobi is an ideal Cadfael), the 50-minute recounting of any of Peters' books does not do justice to the novel, which is a pity, for there are great gaps of (mis)understanding that simply cannot be supplied in such short time. Stay with the books! They are well-worth the read. Cadfael is a character worth knowing!
Billyjhobbs@tyler.net
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite as good as the rest of the series March 15 2006
By M. R. Gawe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first 50 pages are mostly travelogue, and the next 50 pages are mostly set-up. The story doesn't really take off until around page 115. Once it gets going, it's good, but I found myself skimming huge paragraphs of bucolic description in the beginning. It's worth reading if you're working your way through the series, but if you're looking for an introduction to the Cadfael series, don't start with this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strained relations May 15 2006
By Beverley Strong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This 18th chronicle of Brother Cadfael has less about him and more about history. In fact, he really only appears at the beginning and at the ending and doesn't have any hand at all in the solving of crimes. The story springs from the tempestuous relationship between Owain Gwynedd, Prince of Wales and Cadwaladr, his treacherous and headstrong younger brother. The brothers have had no peace between them for years as Cadwaladr is forever plotting to seize power for himself, being beaten at this game by his brother and then counting on the strong family ties that exist in all Welshmen, to be forgiven and taken back into the fold. This time, he has gone too far however, and has hired Danish mercenaries to attack Owain's troops. These Danes have been settled in Ireland for generations (a fact I did not know) and were just as much Irish as Danish and were Christian to boot! It was an interesting read for the historical contents alone, even if Cadfael scarcely appeared.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer of the Danes April 14 2004
By Amarantha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found this a marvelous mystery, though, as in most of this author's mysteries, the mystery is not important. The important thing is the words, the well-developed characters, and the lack of stereotypical characters.
I have a question for the person who said that all Peter's heroes were tall, blond, and muscular. I would like to ask how many he has read, as it is actually rare that the heroes are blond. Take a look at Hugh Beringar, Torold Blund and Brother Cadfael himself for some examples! And in the Hermit of Eyton Forest, the protagonist is a child with many childish characteristics.
The books are very good in general, though there are one or two that are not up to par. This is not one of her best, however, so you might try A Morbid Taste for Bones or One Corpse Too Many, which are both very good. I recommend this series to anyone who likes medieval mysteries!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not the best in the series Nov. 28 2012
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd has forgiven other challenges from his younger brother, Cadwaladr, but this time the renegade royal has hired a fighting force of Danes from Dublin - just across the sea from Wales - to force Owain to return Cadwaladr's lands, which he took for good reason. When Brother Cadfael accompanies his friend and former protege, priest-in-training Brother Mark, on a diplomatic mission to help two newly appointed bishops ease the tensions between the Church and the Welsh nobility, the two monks wind up taken hostage by Cadwaladr and his Danes. Held with them is the beautiful Heledd, a girl betrothed to a man she hasn't chosen (a man she has not even met) in order to get her out of the way of her father's priestly career. For Heledd's parents married in the days when priests still commonly did that, and the changing of customs has left her father in conflict. He loves his daughter, but her existence embarrasses him and makes advancement difficult.

Heledd does not intend to accept her fate dutifully. She falls into the hands of the Danes after fleeing from her father and the rest of the company taking her to meet her bridegroom, and once there she becomes interested - if Cadfael is any judge of human behavior - in a rising young leader among those Danes, the captain of their smallest and swiftest ship.

This book is far more historical novel and adventure tale than mystery, and Cadfael isn't as central and active a character as usual. The story works quite well, though, and the characters introduced for this book only are well written if sometimes a bit larger than life. A good read overall, although not the best book in the long series.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
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