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The Holy Thief [Mass Market Paperback]

Ellis Peters
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551440083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551440088
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,640,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The messengers arrived during the half hour of chapter, and would not eat, drink or rest, or wash the mud of the roads from their feet, until they had made their way in to the assembly in the chapterhouse, and delivered their charge. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most exciting chronicles. 10 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best of the Cadfael genre. It combines a scintillating mystery with humour and history. Ellis Peters breathes life in to her characters and it is extremely easy to form a mental picture of them. All the action is centred around Saint Winifred's remains, consequently, there is much scope for 'double entendre', due to the ambiguous nature of the contents of the reliquary (see 'A Morbid Taste for Bones'). The plot moves with greater pace than some of the other novels and there is no place for boredom. However, it would perhaps be wise to read some of the earlier Cadfael stories before this one, if you are a newcomer to the genre, as much of the plot is based on facts known from other books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the theft St. Winifred's will? 27 May 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Ideally, read all the preceding books in the series, in order, before reading this one. At a minimum, first read #1 (A MORBID TASTE FOR BONES, the story of how St. Winifred's reliquary came to the abbey) to avoid spoiling the end of that book, and THE POTTER'S FIELD, which introduced the Blounts of Longner. If you're interested in an audio edition, check that you're getting the unabridged recording narrated by Stephen Thorne.

In the summer of 1144, Geoffrey de Mandeville - after more than a year of running the Fens as his own private robber kingdom - was shot almost by accident during a siege, and died from the infected wound. His lengthy death gave him no chance to receive absolution - only the Pope could have absolved one guilty of the seizure of the abbey of Ramsey - but Geoffrey's followers did what they could for him, restoring the despoiled abbey to its scattered monks. Thus the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul receives two guests of their own order from Ramsey - grim subprior Herluin and his appealing assistant Tutilo - asking leave to preach. Ramsey needs money, materials, and labour to undo the damage left by Geoffrey's marauders.

Herluin guided their footsteps to Shrewsbury not only to request assistance, but to recall Sulien Blount of Longner, sometime novice of Ramsey, who was sent home to reconsider his vocation. (See THE POTTER'S FIELD for details.) Cadfael, therefore, accompanies Herluin and his young companion Tutilo to Longner to speak with Sulien - and appeal for the Blounts' generosity toward Ramsey. While Herluin pursues his errand, Cadfael introduces Tutilo to Sulien's dying mother, the formidable Donata, who is more than happy to welcome a bard, even if he's now a novice monk. (Their friendship, brief as it is, is touching.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael purloins the show! 20 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It goes without saying that stealing is one of the sins in life--and with her usual characteristic zeal, author Ellis Peters adds murder to that list!
In "The Holy Thief," the 19th chronicle of Brother Cadfael, Peters continues her top-flight form of the medieval whodunnit and, as usual, her protagonist, the good Benedictine monk, rides to the rescue and solution.
The year is 1144--and still King Stephen and Empress Maud are struggling in an interminable civil war, with no solution in sight. However, that historical fact is mere backdrop--as it usually is--to a more local concern. A renowned earl (Essex) is killed by an arrow, but not before he tries to make amends with Heaven by restoring some of the properties he had earlier "gained." This includes the abbey of Ramsey, a run-down site badly in need of more worldly help. The abbey sends envoys out, and one such envoy arrives in Shrewsbury, at the abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Cadfael's domain. The envoy includes Brother Herluin and his young novice Tutilo, who possesses a great singing voice along with other musical skills. In Shrewsbury is also, as the plot would have it, a beautiful slave girl (also a singer) named Daalny.
Suffice it to say, Peters lays a solid romantic setting. But the rains come, so much so that much of the abbey's possessions, including the holy relics, must be moved to safety. But not so safely after all, as a theft is discovered. And this soon leads to--you have it--a murder.
And Cadfael takes over. Using not only his brilliance, but his skills as the abbey's herbalist, Cadfael wastes no time in carefully solving the crime. Of course, as in all the Cadfael adventures, the murder is solved. The solution rarely comes easily for this ex-crusader, nor should it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 3 Oct 2013
By Minimam
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You don't just read a Brother Cadfael book, you live it. You are immersed in the lives of the people, the conditions they live in, the food they eat, the medicines that are available to them (providing they can pay). You can understand why the Abbeys and other religious houses relied on pilgrims for a lot of their income, hence their need for 'Holy Relics'. All in all, not only a very good read but an interesting dip into history as well.
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