PETERS/CADFAEL 10 PILGRIM OF HATE
This June of 1141, the feast of the translation of St. Winifred dawns upon a time when the civil war between the Empress Maud and King Stephen for the throne of England may finally draw to a close: Stephen was captured at the battle of Lincoln, and even now Maud is negotiating with the city of London for her entry into Westminster for her coronation. The papal legate, Bishop Henry of Blois, brother to Stephen, has called a legatine council (including Abbot Radulfus from Shrewsbury) and is working on turning his allegiance to the empress, for the sake of peace. Hugh, sheriff of Shropshire for Stephen, broods on ways and means of getting a man into Bristol to free Stephen, and prays for a miracle, while using his friend Brother Cadfael as a sounding board.
Cadfael, too, is praying for a miracle - any miracle - at this feast of St. Winifred. Not from a desire for the abbey's glory, or from any faltering of his own faith, but as a sign that the saint took no offense from the events of _A Morbid Taste for Bones_, when he accompanied a delegation from the abbey to the saint's grave in Wales to bring back her mortal remains as holy relics. (Since that was before Hugh's arrival in Shrewsbury, Cadfael summarizes the story for him, so it's possible to follow the plot of _Pilgrim_ without reading _Bones_. But be warned that Cadfael reveals the ending of _Bones_ to Hugh.Read more ›
This is the tenth mystery in the series. You may want to start from the first to let the interacting mysteries reveal themselves in chronological order. This is the second one for me after "The Morbid Taste for Bones." I do have to warn you that the synopsis to "A Morbid Taste for Bones" and "Virgin in the Ice" is played out again somewhat in the first two chapters of this book.
What can not be portrayed in the short Cadfael movies and would make marvelous reading on its own is the inter action between the forces and reasons behind the vacillating positions of Empress Maud and King Stephen. This is also a crucial part of the story; as the loyalties and logistics play a major part in the mystery and people's lives.
I will not compare and contrast the people in the story or the differences in the film adaptation as the fun is finding out for your self, all the actions and interaction of people. I will say that none of this would have been possible with out the grace of St. Winifred.
On the other hand, this particular installment is not the most mysterious of Brother cadfael's mysteries that I have read. It is clear from early on who the ordinary ruffians are. It is also clear who is troubled and has questionable motives. It only remains to clarify the relationship between two troubled young men to sort out the mystery. Further, the mystery doesn't have much immediacy for the reader, having taken place a considerable distance away and before the story opens. This story is also a bit "gushier" than most. The romantic angle is played up with a bit too much intensity and there is a "miraculous" healing during the story that fills a whole chapter and does little to further the plot.
I enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant and easy read. But, as a mystery, it was only mediocre. If you are a Cadfael fan, enjoy. But, if you're looking for a real whodunit, look elsewhere.