Summer of the Danes Paperback – Oct 17 1991
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Still, I gave it four stars because I love Peters. As an author myself, though, I know how important research can be. Then again, sometimes people don't believe you when you do research. I remember in one of my books I mentioned the Hohokam natives, who populated the Prescott area long before the Yavapai took over. I had half a dozen people tell me that it was the Yavapai who lived in Prescott, insinuating that I didn't know my tribes. Sigh ... you often can't win, but you can at least TRY. Sometimes I think Peters forgot that. Still, as I said, I love her.
Through 17 earlier adventurers we have warmed to Brother Cadfael and seen that his keen mind and his ability to be a deep study of human nature leads him to uncover man's basest nature, that of the murderer. Here in this novel we see that Cadfael still is an observer of humanity and history, but his skill set in solving crime is unneeded. Prince Owain and his brother Cadwaladr have a falling out. Cadwaladr is banished, in order to get back to his lands, he hires Dane raiders from Dublin, hence the title.
Cadfael happens to be deep in Wales and far from Shrewsbury as a translator for his old protege, Brother Mark and immediately he is caught up on the edge of events. But the body and the murder have little to do with the Danes and the two princely brothers. Indeed at the end of the book, Peters just conveniently resolves it. What happened to the smart Cadfael who allowed me to read alongside his discoveries to solve the mystery too?
I have now officially read every single Brother Cadfael mystery novel. It took me quite a time to find this one in a format I can access readily. I found it at last on <a href="[...]">Audible.com</a> and downloaded it to my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00154JDAI?ie=UTF8&tag=medienovel-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00154JDAI">Kindle2</a>.
This is just barely a mystery. There is a murder. There is a call to track down the killer. The killer is, in fact, revealed. Brother Cadfael does supply the forensics, meager though they be. But that is simply not all that relevant to the story. This is an adventure and love story unlike any Brother Cadfael you have read.
Brother mark, now a deacon in the Bishop of Lichfield's service, arrives at the Abbey of St. peter and St. Paul as he makes his way on a special mission. He is to travel to the two bishops in Wales to present gifts from his own bishop. One is Gilbert, a new bishop, a Norman who speaks no Welsh, and the other is a thoroughly Welsh and well-beloved bishop. The mission is to remind each of the importance of sticking together. Mark asks for and receives Brother Cadfael as companion and translator on his traversals. On the way they meet a young woman, Helleth (sorry, I can't find the spelling online), who is the daughter of a canon who wants her out of the way. The same night as a liegeman of Prince Owine's rebellious brother Cadwallader bisits the prince's court and is thereafter murdered, Helleth disapears and a horse with her.
Jump to main plot. Mark, Cadfael and Helleth all wind up prisoners of the Dublin Danes that Cadwallader has hired to convince Owine to give him back his lands lost after one of his rebellions. Their captors treat them splendidly, and something seems to start up between the tall, robust, sexy Danish captain of the longship that captured Helleth and Cadfael and Helleth herself. As the struggle between Danes, Owine's Welsh and Cadwallader's Welsh goes through a series of broken oaths, sneakiness, ill-considered loyalties, and efforts by Mark at diplomacy, Helleth and the Dane are ever in the background making googoo eyes ever-so-subtly at each other. Meanwhile the man who was supposed to marry Helleth is creeping about. I know, you are rooting for the Dane. Me too. Cadfael gets a few weeks off from sleuthing and just watches it all transpire.
It may be that Cadfael fans will be disappointed, and perhaps this is why the novel was so hard for me to locate. I liked Helleth a lot, she was a refreshing female role. I also liked her Danish sweetie. It's a nice story of a woman who wants to choose her own mate. I suppose Peters made it a Brother Cadfael mystery so his fans would buy the book. After all, that's why I read it, though I liked her other novels I've read that were published under the name Edith Pargeter. I would say the adventure part of the novel is something Sharon Kay Penman could have done more with, but it's fine as a backdrop for the love story.