- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (July 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786213752
- ISBN-13: 978-0786213757
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,041,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Leper of Saint Giles (Thorndike General) Paperback – Large Print, Jul 1998
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Soothing, but no shortage of mayhem. (OBSERVER) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Derek Jacobi reads this compelling whodunnit from the Brother Cadfael chronicles --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Brother Cadfael set out from the gatehouse, that Monday afternoon of October, in the year 1139, darkly convinced that something ominous would have happened before he re-entered the great court, though he had no reason to suppose that he would be absent more than an hour or so. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
This fifth book in the medieval mystery series involving Brother Cadfael is my favorite thus far.
It is 1139, and Brother Cadfael is in charge of the herbarium at the abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul of Shrewsbury. His usual assistant, Brother Mark, is serving for a year with the lepers at the nearby asylum of Saint Giles.
Unlike the common citizens, who shun the lepers, the monks are happy to serve them. As Cadfael reflects, "he knows of leprosies of the heart and ulcers of the soul worse than any of these he poulticed and lanced with his herbal medicines."
The lepers, like the rest of Shrewsbury, are caught up in the excitement of the wedding of a famous baron and his beautiful, much younger, bride-to-be. But a vicious murder halts the proceedings, and Cadfael, the unofficial coroner and detective of the abbey, must solve the crime. The focus turns to the asylum, since the place everyone wants to avoid is a perfect place to hide.
Evaluation: I love learning about medieval healing arts and customs via this "whodunit" series. Moreover, without modern technology, the characters have nothing but their minds to help solve crimes, and sharing in their ratiocinations is most entertaining.
The action of the story takes place just a few months after the previous Cadfael book, in the autumn of 1139. For once, the on-going civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud does not feature in the tale, which is concerned only with the impending marriage of a young, orphaned heiress to an overbearing and insufferable baron, many years her senior. It is quickly obvious that this marriage is no love-match, on either side, and has been arranged purely for the advancement of the girl's guardians and the bridegroom. It is also obvious from the outset that the would-be bride is more smitten with the squire of her affianced lord than with the baron himself and that this attraction is mutual. Most readers, too, will quickly come to dislike Huon de Domville as much as do the young lovers. Nor will anyone be surprised where suspicion (from everyone except Cadfael) falls when the bridegroom is rather conveniently found murdered on the very morn of his wedding day!
But that's about all that is clear-cut and obvious in this plot, which needs someone of Cadfael's shrewd and observant nature to tease out all of the complex pieces of the puzzle and fit them together correctly. And this is one of those classic Cadfael tales in which it is, indeed, only the good Brother (apart, of course, from the reader) who knows the whole truth of events by the end.Read more ›
Young love features highly again in the story, and I’m starting to get a little annoyed by its central prevalence in so many of the series. Peters also has a tendency too, like Dickens, to place people in boxes marked ‘good’ and ‘bad’, when we all know that every one of us is a mixture of both.
But on the plus side, Peters continues with her detailed descriptions of life and mores of the time, although I am not sure that Amice of Thornbury could be so precise about her timings in an age largely devoid of clocks, especially in rural areas.
I was going to write how Peters in ‘The Leper of St Giles’ comes up with one of her usual ingenious plots. But there is more in this volume, for at the book’s end, just when you think all seems settled and obvious, the last chapter manages to produce one last plot twist that goes on to disprove my theory about the black-and-white moral characterisation of the people her imagination creates.
How can I not praise, therefore, a writer who not only dumbfounds me with the plot but also confounds my presumptions about her characters?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really love the Brother Cadfael novels, but for some reason this was slightly disappointing. I'm sad about that because it was one of the last two I hadn't read; only The Pilgrim... Read morePublished 16 days ago by ToraNaprem
Light, fun reading; nothing too demanding, but interesting historical perspective which gives it a bit of depth.Published 2 months ago by Janet Linda Ash
A well told tale with a half expected double twist at the end! Also an indication that forced marriages have been with us for eons.Published 3 months ago by cete46