The Heretic's Apprentice Hardcover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The rigidity of the 12th Century church contrasts throughout this tale with the more realistic and human viewpoints of some of the church's authorities, including Abbot Radulphus and the Abbey's herbalist, Brother Cadfael. Elave sometimes seems a bit too good to be true, and that's also the case with Fortunata; but otherwise the characters are all too human, mingling good and bad in completely realistic fashion. The plot twist at the end worked well, and so did the story's resolution. An enjoyable read on many levels.
--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
In many ways, this novel follows certain patterns from previous ones in the series. There are the obvious young lovers who one knows are going to be together, the open-hearted and brave young man falsely thought to be a threat whose character is vindicated and who marries well and finds a responsible position, makes some powerful friends, and wins a lovely bride impressed with his intellect even if he has some strongly worded opinions and some odd beliefs. Why can’t I be this lucky? This novel continues a trend for this series, and that is serving as wish fulfillment fiction for someone whose life could use some wish fulfillment. It is remarkable, and more than a little bit frightening, how a British authoress who died when I was a young teenager still managed to write so many novels about people alarmingly close to me, each novel looking at slightly different facets of the same sort of person that I am, ending up alright because of a friendly author (a very critical element to success, I might add).
In this novel, we see church politics take the center, as a young man with perhaps a bit too much interest in contentious questions finds himself in the middle of a firestorm that involves mobs of bullies and the threat of imprisonment and death, while being a decent fellow with a personality that asks a lot of questions. Also of interest is the fact that the ultimate motive behind murder (plot spoiler alert) happens to be an immensely gorgeous book, a psalter two centuries old that drives people to kill and die for it, until its owner decides it would be better spent glorifying God rather than serving as an object of temptation. It is a wise decision, all the more striking because it is a decision made by a young woman who can barely read at all, and who has been the recipient of an unusual amount of grace by others, grace she extends herself. Even more than is usually the case in these novels, this one left me with a lot to ponder.
The mystery of course is paramount and the outcome, a happy ending is clear as Peters seems to unite some couple in love in each of these stories, but what is not clear as has been so these last few books is the culprit. Not only do we find a story that takes a complex turn as it delves into heresy, a very real proposition of the time, but we find a mystery having a complex twist to it also.
This twist is the redemption of so many of the previous adventures. Though there is no herbology involved, Cadfael the investigator, the man who is always near the center to momentous events once again helps solve the mystery and brings about our happy ending. Here is a mystery worthwhile.