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The Devil's Novice: The Eighth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael Mass Market Paperback – 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446405159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446405157
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,855,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brother Cadfael befriends a troubled novitiate and gets involved in a very confusing murder. Along the way he is more amused than he should be with Brother Jerome's ill treatment at the hands of the Devil's Novice. This book was as enjoyable as they come. Great characters and a very good mystery.
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By A Customer on July 25 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Peters spins a good tale, combined with her usual cast of interesting characters and a memorable setting, makes the one of the better Cadfael Chronicles.
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By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 17 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing series. All the Cadfael books are well written and historically accurate. Ellis Peters is a very good author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arrived in very good shape.....and For paying only a penny....this was an amazingly great deal!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa77e0228) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa75e7edc) out of 5 stars Dreams of murder Feb. 11 2006
By Beverley Strong - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Meriet, a quiet, secretive young man is brought to the Abbey of St.Peter and St.Paul by his father, to be accepted as a novice monk, Brother Cadfael is immediately wary of his true vocation as he is almost too keen to take vows and to renounce the outside world at an age where he has had no experience of life, except as a youth in a privileged world of the minor nobility. He disturbs all the residents of the Abbey with his screaming nightmares so is taken to serve under the guidance of Brother Mark, at the Leprosarium of St. Giles. While helping the patients gather firewood in the nearby forest, he discovers the burned body of a murdered cleric who had recently been an overnight guest at his father's manor, and who had been declared missing for a short time. Meriet's father has never had any time for him as his elder brother Nigel was the apple of his parent's eyes and could do no wrong. The mystery evolves with Cadfael, as usual, methodically sifting through red herrings and true clues, with the help of his friend, Deputy Sherriff, Hugh Beringar. It's another fine Cadfael story, linked very closely with the political history and unrest of the day.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa75eb048) out of 5 stars Two for one special -- history and mystery Feb. 12 2006
By Joseph Kaiser Canner - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my second foray into the Brother Cadfael Mystery series and this book did nothing to dampen my initial enthusiasm for the series. Most of the comments from my previous review (see The Leper of Saint Giles) apply here as well. In particular, I enjoyed the mix of romance and mystery. Once again, this book delves into themes of unrequited love and also explores the mystery of feminine allure (even among the celibate).

Brother Cadfael is a uniquely endearing character, with his mix of gentleness, worldly wisdom, and competence. This book also provided my first introduction to Hugh Beringar, sheriff Shrewsbury. He and Cadfael join together their several talents to make an unbeatable team.

My only complaint is that this book takes a little while to get into, as it plows through the political and religious background necessary to understanding the plot. All in all, though, it is worth, as the reader will end up both entertained by the story and educated by the history.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa75eb384) out of 5 stars More of a whydunnit than a whodunnit July 10 2002
By Steve Benner - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The big mystery throughout this eighth of Ellis Peters' Chronicles of Brother Cadfael is not really who, in the depths of the Salop countryside one day in the late summer of the year of Our Lord 1140, committed murder most foul upon the person of Peter Clemence, cleric to Bishop Henry of Bois - but why! And also just what the connection might be between the unfortunate demise of a harmless cleric - seemingly not even relieved of his valuables - and the latest candidate to be accepted into the noviciate of Shrewsbury's abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the nineteen-year-old, Meriet Aspley. For it is obvious, from the very opening of this book, to both reader and Brother Cadfael alike, that there is some dark secret haunting the latest entrant to the abbey. There is also little doubt that the sad fate of Peter Clemence has some bearing upon it. Equally obvious is that the mediaeval sleuth will need to have not only his wits but also all of his tact about him too, if he is to winkle out the truth behind matters here, both of the circumstances of the cleric's death and of young Meriet Aspley's sudden-found yearning for life within the cloister.
In her usual manner, Ellis Peters drip-feeds her hero and her readers alike with tantalising but measured trickles of information, permitting both to proceed but piecemeal (and at about the same pace as each other) towards the final revelation and the story's sudden resolution. Along the way, we are treated to the author's characteristically over-glamorised view of Mediaeval English life, with her entirely comforting (and rather touching) view of the honest goodness of the (Saxon) poor, as well as the essentially corrupt nature of those who would aspire to power (usually those overbearing Normans, of course).
In common with others of this series, this book presents a mix of romance and murder mystery, all set against a back-drop of political intrigue. In essence, then, we have here another classic from the Cadfael mould - an engaging read that taxes neither imagination nor credulity over much and which provides some fascinating glimpses of how things might have been in twelfth century Salop. It can be recommended to both established Cadfael fans and newcomers alike.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa75e7ea0) out of 5 stars A noble family loses a priest and gains a monk June 20 2005
By Michele L. Worley - Published on
Format: Audio Cassette
"They say there's a devil at him in his sleep, and it was he brought it here among them, and who knows which of them it will prey on next? The devil's novice, I've heard him called. Oh, I put a stop to that, at least aloud. But it's what they're thinking."
- Brother Paul, master of novices

"The devil is always the intruder, the stranger, the one who is different. Every successive wave of newcomers from the mainland of Europe, either from the north or the east, was the very devil in its day."

While Abbot Radulfus questions the wisdom of accepting novices too young to know what they're giving up, he has no objection to a young man past nineteen entering the cloister of his own free will. Meriet Aspley, younger son of the Norman lord of Aspley, seems like a straightforward proposition: a younger son, perhaps seeking a career rather than a vocation, but surely none the worse for that as long as he strives to be a credit to the order. But Brother Paul, for one, is uneasy about him, having never before seen a postulant pursue his vows with such determination but so little joy.

By day, Meriet is all dutiful obedience, studying hard and petitioning to have his probationary term shortened, but by night he wakes the entire monastic household with violent nightmares. He's never served in the armies of either king or empress and seen little of violence save on the hunt, yet the mere sight of a fellow novice struck unconscious by a freak accident sends him into shaken silence. On the other hand, a run-in with Brother Jerome over a keepsake from a red-haired girl suggests other kinds of passion running in Meriet: not only a thwarted love for his elder brother's betrothed, but a hot temper when he tries to defend his trophy from Jerome.

Meanwhile Hugh Beringar pursues the disappearance of another cleric connected with the Aspley household: Peter Clemence, envoy from the Bishop of Winchester to the great lords of Chester and Lincoln and cousin to Meriet, last seen spending the night at Aspley on his way north. Why should a priest disappear at the same time the youngest son of the household was seized with a sudden urge to enter the cloister?

Very tidy mystery here, particularly since Meriet is given to speaking the literal truth under interrogation, so the reader has a certain amount of evidence to work with.

Particularly nice touches:
- Meriet attempting to strangle Brother Jerome.
- The three most formidable members of the Aspley household: Meriet, his father Leoric, and his father's ward Isouda, who's confident that he will be hers in the end.
- How Brother Mark gains a patron for his studies to enter the priesthood (after this book, he doesn't return until SUMMER OF THE DANES).
- Radulfus' consultations with various senior brothers on the issue of accepting children into the order.
- Character development of Brother Paul, the master of novices.

As always, I recommend the unabridged recording narrated by Stephen Thorne.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa75eb858) out of 5 stars Perhaps Cadfael's best. Oct. 30 2010
By George Vick - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all the 16 or 17 Brother Cadfael mysteries that I've read, this is probably the best, not only for the intriguing twists and turns of its cpmplex plot, but even more for Ellis Peters' keen insights into human emotions and her warm appreciation for the young hero whom she has created.

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