Brother Cadfael's Penance Mass Market Paperback – Jul 22 2009
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About the Author
Ellis Peters is a pseudonym of Edith Mary Pargeter (1913 1995), a British author whose Chronicles of Brother Cadfael are credited with popularizing the historical mystery. Cadfael, a WelshBenedictinemonk living atShrewsbury Abbey in the first half of the twelfth century, has been described as combining the curious mind of a scientist with the bravery of a knight-errant. The character has been adapted for television, and the books drew international attention to Shrewsbury and its history.Pargeter won an Edgar Awardin 1963 for"Death and the Joyful Woman", and in 1993 she won theCartier Diamond Dagger, an annual award given by theCrime Writers Association of Great Britain. She was appointedofficer of the Order of the British Empirein 1994, and in 1999 the BritishCrime Writers Associationestablished theEllis Peters Historical Daggeraward, later called the Ellis Peters Historical Award.
Top Customer Reviews
In "Brother Cadfael's Penance," Peters permits Cadfael to come face to face with another aspect of his life--a time before his monastic vows. It is 1145 and the great civil war rages on between King Stephen and Empress Maud. However, there is hope. A meeting between the two factions is scheduled for Coventry and Brother Cadfael secures permission from the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury to attend. Known widely for his skills in diplomacy, as well as crime solving abilities, Cadfael, however, wishes to attend for a very personal reason. He is seeking news of a young knight, Olivier de Bretagne. Olivier is Cadfael's son, from his days fighting in the Holy Land as a crusader. His holy vows aside, he feels he must do all within his power to save his son.
Peters, as always, presents Cadfael as more than human--she gives us a man for all seasons, as it were. In addition, she presents the good brother in a realistic but incredibly humane manner. He is a man whom we can love, respect, yes, even
cherish. Peters' ability to draw out these characteristics is perhaps what makes the series so fascinating. Hers is a series not to be missed. One probably should read them in the order they were written; or at least, read earlier ones before this one, as the poignancy of the meeting between father and son is so much more dramatized when the reader has the background to appreciate such a climactic episode. I cannot imagine a reader being disappointed!
Cadfael's conflict in the book is between his monastic vows and what he perceives to be his natural duties as a father. His son Olivier has been captured and none know where he is. Cadfael looks for Olivier though he knows the search may cost him his home in Shrewesbury Abbey.
Later parts of the book deal with the issue that an honorable man may do that which seems most dishonorable if it helps end a destructive war.
Ellis Peter's characters are far more realistic and human than most. They are sympathetic, mostly good characters torn by events, doing wrong in reaction to being trapped in unpitying reality. Her characters are consistent and believable with a few possible exceptions. Olivier, for example, seems all perfection -- yet is this not how his loving father would see him?
As a whole, the Cadfael series is an excellent blend of plot, character, and setting. Brother Cadfael's Penance, the last written in the series, is one of the best. The insights are richer and deeper, the characters more engaging, the conflicts of a bigger yet always very human scale.
Most recent customer reviews
Another enthralling journey into mystery and detection in the middle ages! This story adds considerably to the fullness of Cadfael's character while skillfully working through the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Foxglovefen
Excellent, received in a timely manner, well packaged. Will make a nice Christmas giftPublished 20 months ago by Gloryfid
I was disappointed with this book. I am a big Ellis Peters fan and I hate that this is her final book. Read morePublished on March 29 2003
It is unfortunate that Ellis Peters has died. I do not know if this book was meant to be the final chapter in the Cadfael series, but it brings the series to an appropriate ending. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by James McCarty
Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) came to my attention early in the Brother Cadfael series, and has seldom been a disappointment. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2002 by PATRICK OHANNIGAN
After reading Ellis Peters' 20th and last Cadfael story I can't help but feel a little sad knowing that there will be no more coming. Read morePublished on May 31 2002 by John D. Costanzo
This final installment of the mysteries of Brother Cadfael finds Ellis Peters in outstanding form- what prose this Englishwoman conjures! Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2001 by LuelCanyon
BUT! Now Brother Cadfael belongs to history, and the readers who love him so.
Start at the beginning and READ THIS SERIES! Read more