When the village of Shrewsbury's own sheriff, Gilbert Prestcote, is taken prisoner by the Empress Maud's forces, its citizens are prepared to exchange him for a man of equal value they have within their possession. But soon after Prestcote arrives for the prisoner exchange, he dies. Was it death by natural causes or a most unnatural murder?
It is June in the Year of Our Lord 1143 when Elave, young clerk to William of Lythwood, returns from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his elderly master's body. His mission is twofold, to bury William in his home abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, and to deliver a dowry to William's adopted daughter Fortunata. But Elave, suspected of harboring... Read more »
It is nearing the end of the Year of Our Lord 1145. A monk vows to abandon all earthly ties, but how can Brother Cadfael obey when his son is captured in battle? Olivier de Bretagne is one of many young knights taken prisoner in the current power dispute in Britain, but he is also Cadfael's son, and the monk cannot be objective. A council is... Read more »
Murder in the twelfth century is no different from murder today. There is still a dead body, though this time with an arrow through the heart instead of a bullet. There is still a need to bury the dead, to comfort the living - and to catch the murderer. When Brother Cadfael comes to a village in the Welsh hills, he finds himself doing all three... Read more »
When the castle of Shrewsbury is taken during the war between Empress Maud and King Stephen, 94 prisoners are taken, 94 are hanged. When Brother Cadfael arrives to perform the burial rites, he finds one corpse too many among the bodies stacked about the fortress. Read more »
When a fatal draught of Monk's Hood turns up in the dinner plate of a guest at the Shrewsbury abbey, fingers point at half a dozen likely suspects, including an abashed and bewildered Cadfael. Read more »
St. Peter’s Fair was a grand event, attracting merchants from across England and beyond. With the pause in the Civil War during the summer of 1139, the fair would bring some much-needed gaiety to Shrewsbury.
But a wealthy merchant is found murdered in the river Severn. Brother Cadfael offers to help the merchant’s niece, Emma; but while he... Read more »
King Stephen's bloody siege against the town of Shrewsbury has reduced many of its stores and homes to rubble. The townspeople, busy preparing for the annual St. Peter's Fair, complain that the Shrewsbury monks have not shouldered their fair share of the burden. Cadfael, hoping to assuage flaring tempers, is drawn into a worse kind of violence... Read more »
Setting out for the Saint Giles leper colony outside Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael has more pressing matters on his mind than the grand wedding coming to his abbey. Yet as fate would have it, Cadfael arrives at Saint Giles just as the nuptial party passes the colony’s gates. He sees the fragile bride, looking like a prisoner between her two stern... Read more »
Civil war continues to blaze in the autumn of 1139. Amid the uncertainty and peril of the moment two noble children make their escape, headed for Shrewsbury. But for reasons no one knows, the young fugitives never reach their destination. Read more »
The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfael’s tranquil life in Shrewsbury, as raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two young orphans from a noble family and their companion, a young Benedictine nun. The trio, never reaching Shrewsbury, has disappeared somewhere in the wild countryside.
On a spring evening in 1140 Shrewsbury, the midnight matins at the Benedictine abbey suddenly reverberate with an unholy sound—a hunt in full cry. Pursued by a drunken mob, the quarry is running for its life. When the frantic creature bursts in to claim sanctuary, Brother Cadfael finds himself fighting off armed townsmen to save a terrified... Read more »
In the middle of the abbey's evening services, an angry mob pursues a young boy into the sacred peace of the sanctuary. Terrified and in tatters, he clutches at the altar-cloth, grasping for mercy in the only sure place he might find it. Read more »
Outside the pale of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in September of the year of our Lord 1140, a priestly emissary for King Stephen has been reported missing. But inside the pale, what troubles Brother Cadfael is a proud, secretive nineteen-year-old novice.
Brother Cadfael has never seen two men more estranged than the Lord of Aspley and... Read more »
Outside the pale of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in September of the year of our Lord 1140, a priestly emissary for King Stephen has been reported missing. But inside the pale, what troubles Brother Cadfael is a proud, secretive nineteen-year-old novice. Brother Cadfael has never seen two men more estranged than the Lord of Aspley... Read more »
In the early twelfth century, civil war rages between the English and the Welsh. In the battle of Lincoln, the Welsh capture the sheriff of Shropshire and barter him for a young Welsh lord, who had been captured during a misguided assault on a convent. But before the exchange can be completed, one of the prisoners mysteriously dies.
When the village of Shrewsbury's own sheriff, Gilbert Prestcote, is taken prisoner by the Empress Maud's forces, its citizens are prepared to exchange him for a man of equal value they have within their possession. But soon after Prestcote arrives for the prisoner exchange, he dies. Was it death by natural causes or a most unnatural murder? Read more »
In the year of our Lord 1141, civil war over England’s throne leaves a legacy of violence—and the murder of a knight dear to Brother Cadfael. In the spring, a flood of pilgrims comes to the celebration of Saint Winifred at the Abbey, carrying with it many strange souls…and perhaps the knight’s killer.
Brother Cadfael’s shrewd eyes see all: the... Read more »
As England's civil war draws to a close, two travelers arrive at Cadfael's herbarium door: the dark-eyed Ciaran who has vowed to walk unshod as a kind of penance and, his companion, Matthew. When Cadfael's old friend arrives with a tale of murder, the youths' puzzling association becomes darker and more inscrutable. Read more »
In the year of our Lord 1141, two monks ride into the Benedictine abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, bringing with them disturbing news of war—and a mystery. The strangers tell how the strife between the Empress Maud and King Stephen has destroyed the town of Winchester and their priory. Now Brother Humilis, who is handsome, gaunt, and very... Read more »
A mysterious pair of monks, whose abbey has burned down, have come to Shrewbury seeking refuge. Their story is tragic, and Cadfael quickly senses, riddled with half-truths. What dark secret are these strange monks hiding? Read more »
Christmas, AD 1141 Abbot Radulfus returns from London, bringing with him a priest for the vacant living of Holy Cross (known as the Foregate), a man of presence, scholarship and discipline, but neither humility nor the common touch. When he is found drowned in the mill-pond, suspicion is cast in many directions, not least towards a young man who... Read more »
After years of studying with the Bishop, young Father Ailnoth has come to take over the parish of Holy Cross. But soon Ailnoth's true nature surfaces-harsh, cold-hearted, and merciless-and someone lures him from his home and murders him. Who in Shrewsbury would kill a priest on Christmas Day? Read more »
A late spring in 1142 has the monks of Shrewsbury Abbey dismayed, for there may be no roses by June 22. For three years, wealthy young widow Judith Perle has rented her house to the monks for the price of a single white rose each year, in honor of her late husband. When nature finally complies, a pious monk is sent to pay the rent—and found... Read more »
A wealthy widow rents her house to the Shrewsbury Abbey for the price of a single rose cut from the bush near the house. Shortly before the rent is due, the rosebush is destroyed and the widow kidnapped. Brother Cadfael must discover who stands to gain from these peculiar crimes. Read more »
The year is 1142. England is in the iron grip of civil war, and within the sheltered cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the upheavals of the outside world.
First, there is the sad demise of the Lord of Eaton, whose ten-year-old son and heir, the young Richard, is a... Read more »
Shortly after he inherits the powerful position of Lord of Eaton, 10-year-old Richard Ludel disappears from Shrewsbury Abbey, where he had been a student. Did he run away or was he kidnapped? Brother Cadfael suspects the hermit of Eyton Forest, a mysterious man rumored to have holy powers, knows the answer. Read more »