Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Listen with Prime Learn more Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars40
4.6 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Barely four weeks past Easter of the Year of Our Lord 1140, with Shrewsbury and all its region secure within the King's peace, the conventual peace of Matins within the great Abbey church of St Peter and St Paul is suddenly and most rudely shattered. Hunted and hounded by an angry mob into the comparative safety of sanctuary within the House of God, a terrified young man, accused of robbery and murder, and closely followed by his accusers and would-be executioners, disturbs the midnight office of the good monks of Shrewsbury. And so starts the seventh Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, in which the mediaeval sleuth finds himself with yet another wrong to right, by once more putting his mind to the solving of one of Shrewsbury's small mysteries.
In this particular case, the mystery is no greatly complex affair but it is, in any case, largely subsidiary to Ellis Peters' painting of a finely detailed picture of life in twelfth century England, and more especially here, within a moderately wealthy family household. There are some unexpected twists and developments along the way, though, and there is certainly nothing predictable about the way the story works itself out, although the ending is no particular surprise either.
In some respects, this is one of the best of the Cadfael books. Its opening pages contain some of Ellis Peters' finest writing, with her descriptions of the running to ground of young Liliwin and the reactions of Abbot Radulfus being quite hair-raising in their potency. The tale unfolds at a sure and steady pace thereafter, too, ensuring that it is always difficult to put the book down, right up until the final exciting, and rather tear-jerking, denouement.
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Once again brother Cadfael brings innocent lovers out from under peril, whilst helping Hugh Beringar net the true felons. This is a particularly fine and poignant example of Ellis Peters' storytelling art, wherein one might wish for a happier ending, but the tragic finale is leavened (as usual) with justice done by those formerly suspected by almost all but Cadfael. Enormously charming and moving, and suffused with the period detail that is so beguiling, this is also darker and yet more plausible than some others in the series. Easy reading, yet rich and affecting... Just great!
22 comments|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
There is no map or plan with the seventh instalment of the Cadfael series. This is because, except at the very end, all the action takes place in and around Shrewsbury and its abbey.

Published in 1983, the book has fourteen chapters that delineate the week of events. It is spring 1140, “with Shrewsbury and all this region secure within the king’s peace, whatever contentions raged further south between king and empress.” But at a wedding reception in town, there is violence and theft. A youth is accused but before the judgement of the street is meted out, the ‘sparrow’ seeks sanctuary within the confines of the abbey, whose officials “fretted and itched with the infection thus hurled in from the world without.”

Yes, this is another case of innocent youth: did Ellis Peters ever write a novel that did without young love? This time we even have the sexual act taking place – and in the abbey church too! – “heaving as one to great, deep-drawn sighs … they were equally innocent, equally knowing.” Needless to say Cadfael is not offended and manages to get to the bottom of exactly who did steal the goods and inflict the violence.

As well as the young love that seems central to most Cadfael stories, one cannot help also noticing how the good guys tend to be “skinny”, “willowy”, or with “gangling limbs” whilst the baddies are “squat”. Yet our hero himself is the exception that breaks the rule – “width-ways Cadfael would have made three of him” [the boy] – and later on in the novel Cadfael is described as “squat and square and sturdy”, and is sixty years’ old.

But if the plots and the characters have similar features, then at least we can admire the author’s occasional literary simile, such as: “Cadfael pursued [the imp] and drew alongside like a companion ship keeping station rather than a pirate boarding.” All in all, this is another well-constructed tale from the world of twelfth-century Shrewsbury.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 July 2002
Sudden drama strikes the Bennedictine monastery at Shrewsbury when a young man, pursued by a lynching mob claims sanctuary just in time to save his own life. The accusation is robbery and murder, yet Brother Cadfael senses his innocence and sets out to untangle yet another tangle of human passions where love, both in it's brighter and darker aspects, plays it's inevitable part.
That's the premise of this murder mystery by famed author Ellis Peters. In Brother Cadfael she has a perfect vehicle for not only exploring the conventional mystery novel but drawing the reader into another bygone age. Indeed, it could be said that the mystery element is of second importance in this aspect, as it is in her other novels. However, this is not to say it is weak-far from it-just that you learn so much about ancient Britain and the workings of religious orders that the mystery (almost), becomes secondary.
This interesting combination is why this novel works so well. Peters paints a totally believable picture of a world we only normally know through dry history books. In the Sanctuary Sparrow, the characters come alive and hold our interest throughout. I found their motives and actions quite believable and was fascinated by the background information. A medieval Sherlock Holmes, Cadfael uses his knowledge of plants and herbs and the workings of human nature to get to the bottom of things. In the process we are treated to a tightly written story that never drags and is very enjoyable. Perhaps the ending is not totally unexpected but this does not detract from the book's undeniable quality.
Another pleasing element in Peters work is the sub plots and ongoing continuity. She never forgets Cadfael is part of a series and we have Bennedictine internal politics to chew on, as well as the uncertain future of the throne to keep us diverted. Obviously a lot of research was required to achieve this and it shows in the picture that Peters draws.
This audio version is read by Sir Deek Jacobi who portrayed Cadfael on the small screen. He has a fantastic reading voice and brings the novel to life.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 July 2015
It is late spring 1140 and as the Benedictine monks in the monastery at Shrewsbury. Matins is taking place at midnight on Friday when the peace of their office is disturbed by a young by barging into the monastery seeking sanctuary from a mob baying for his blood. The man’s supposed crime: murder and robbery. However, Brother Cadfael, convinced of the man’s innocence sets out to find out who is really guilty of this crime. The result is a tangle of love, passion and family loyalty which lead Cadfael to the true murder.

This is the seventh book in the Brother Cadfael murder mystery series and as usual, Ellis Peters provided a gripping tale of mystery, murder and intrigue with description that vividly brings to life in the early 12th Century. It is always a treat to read Cadfael as without fail it ticks all the boxes that a classic murder mystery should.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 November 2015
This is a gentle, domestic story; A young man who had been entertaining wedding guests is accused of murder when a fracas breaks out, but there is none of the rough activities of powerful men who are jealous of their properties. One of the attractions of the book is the manner of the writing. There can be a picture of rural tranquility in the valleys around Shrewsbury or of young lovers who want to have time together. The story carries its own tensions and the unfolding of the truth about the murder gradually emerges. Brother Cadfael is a constant presence giving wisdom and providing his medicinal concoctions. An enjoyable read..
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 November 2011
I caught this on TV late one night and I liked it so much that I ordered some of the books. Derek Jacoby who plays Brother Cadfael is a brilliant actor and brings the sleuthing monk to life really well. Each story contains a romance as well as really good observations about medieval life which I enjoyed. I'm planning a trip to Shrovesbury later this year to see the Cathedral so I can see what it feels like in person to walk in his footsteps. I love these and will certainly pick up more of this series.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 June 2002
Sudden drama strikes the Bennedictine monastery at Shrewsbury when a young man, pursued by a lynching mob claims sanctuary just in time to save his own life. The accusation is robbery and murder, yet Brother Cadfael senses his innocence and sets out to untangle yet another tangle of human passions where love, both in it's brighter and darker aspects, plays it's inevitable part.
That's the premise of this murder mystery by famed author Ellis Peters. In Brother Cadfael she has a perfect vehicle for not only exploring the conventional mystery novel but drawing the reader into another bygone age. Indeed, it could be said that the mystery element is of second importance in this aspect, as it is in her other novels. However, this is not to say it is weak-far from it-just that you learn so much about ancient Britain and the workings of religious orders that the mystery (almost), becomes secondary.
This interesting combination is why this novel works so well. Peters paints a totally believable picture of a world we only normally know through dry history books. In the Sanctuary Sparrow, the characters come alive and hold our interest throughout. I found their motives and actions quite believable and was fascinated by the background information. A medieval Sherlock Holmes, Cadfael uses his knowledge of plants and herbs and the workings of human nature to get to the bottom of things. In the process we are treated to a tightly written story that never drags and is very enjoyable. Perhaps the ending is not totally unexpected but this does not detract from the book's undeniable quality.
Another pleasing element in Peters work is the sub plots and ongoing continuity. She never forgets Cadfael is part of a series and we have Bennedictine internal politics to chew on, as well as the uncertain future of the throne to keep us diverted. Obviously a lot of research was required to achieve this and it shows in the picture that Peters draws.
This is the large print version of this book and it is good to see an accomplished writer like Peters being made available in this format.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 March 2016
A relaxing holiday read in a comfortable environment. I loved the locality and history. It is set in an area I have recently discovered and does it justice. The Medieval time zone brought that period of history alive and understandable. I look forward to reading more of the "Cadfael" books
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 January 2016
The first 40% was very slow in pace. Later the pace picked up to the authors normal pace, however I nearly abandoned the tale a few times early on - hence the three * rating
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.