Ellis Peters, as always, creates a tense, yet delicately crafted, net of secrets and thoughts, and a solid and careful detangler of mystery in her beloved Brother Cadfael. I found the contrast of the pairs of the lovers in the end not syruppy, as one reviewer noted, but a fascinating study in the ribbons of pain and hate and even evil that can be woven through love. The two pairs are contrasts as clear as shadow and light, yet the source is the same - the flame of love is what creates the darkness of the shadows and the fire-glory of the light. You wish you could untangle them, give back the darkness to the night where it belongs, but in this book the heart turned awry cannot grow back, cannot untwist itself, and is thrown into the neverending dark. The reason I don't find it syruppy is that I think that while the focus seems to be on the fate of the two stubborn, delicate youngsters in love, Peters is really intent upon the other pair, the pair of lovers whose love brought them darkness instead of light. In any case, this book is like most of Peters' others - a finely texturized and woven tapestry of history and people in all the colors of blood and earth and that long-ago sky.