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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a whydunnit than a whodunnit
The big mystery throughout this eighth of Ellis Peters' Chronicles of Brother Cadfael is not really who, in the depths of the Salop countryside one day in the late summer of the year of Our Lord 1140, committed murder most foul upon the person of Peter Clemence, cleric to Bishop Henry of Bois - but why! And also just what the connection might be between the unfortunate...
Published on 10 July 2002 by Steve Benner

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Story great, reader not so good
Story is very good. Reader is not so good. female reader in story where most characters are male and she's not so good at doing male voices. Also some errors eg read trail instead of trial. Other errors of phrasing - ie emphasis on wrong word. But I did listen all the way through and still enjoyed hearing the story.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. M. Hodges


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a whydunnit than a whodunnit, 10 July 2002
By 
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
The big mystery throughout this eighth of Ellis Peters' Chronicles of Brother Cadfael is not really who, in the depths of the Salop countryside one day in the late summer of the year of Our Lord 1140, committed murder most foul upon the person of Peter Clemence, cleric to Bishop Henry of Bois - but why! And also just what the connection might be between the unfortunate demise of a harmless cleric - seemingly not even relieved of his valuables - and the latest candidate to be accepted into the noviciate of Shrewsbury's abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the nineteen-year-old, Meriet Aspley. For it is obvious, from the very opening of this book, to both reader and Brother Cadfael alike, that there is some dark secret haunting the latest entrant to the abbey. There is also little doubt that the sad fate of Peter Clemence has some bearing upon it. Equally obvious is that the mediaeval sleuth will need to have not only his wits but also all of his tact about him too, if he is to winkle out the truth behind matters here, both of the circumstances of the cleric's death and of young Meriet Aspley's sudden-found yearning for life within the cloister.
In her usual manner, Ellis Peters drip-feeds her hero and her readers alike with tantalising but measured trickles of information, permitting both to proceed but piecemeal (and at about the same pace as each other) towards the final revelation and the story's sudden resolution. Along the way, we are treated to the author's characteristically over-glamorised view of Mediaeval English life, with her entirely comforting (and rather touching) view of the honest goodness of the (Saxon) poor, as well as the essentially corrupt nature of those who would aspire to power (usually those overbearing Normans, of course).
In common with others of this series, this book presents a mix of romance and murder mystery, all set against a back-drop of political intrigue. In essence, then, we have here another classic from the Cadfael mould - an engaging read that taxes neither imagination nor credulity over much and which provides some fascinating glimpses of how things might have been in twelfth century Salop. It can be recommended to both established Cadfael fans and newcomers alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A noble family loses a priest and gains a monk, 20 Jun 2005
By 
Michele L. Worley (Kingdom of the Mouse, United States) - See all my reviews
"They say there's a devil at him in his sleep, and it was he brought it here among them, and who knows which of them it will prey on next? The devil's novice, I've heard him called. Oh, I put a stop to that, at least aloud. But it's what they're thinking."

- Brother Paul, master of novices

"The devil is always the intruder, the stranger, the one who is different. Every successive wave of newcomers from the mainland of Europe, either from the north or the east, was the very devil in its day."

- from SHROPSHIRE: A MEMOIR OF THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE

While Abbot Radulfus questions the wisdom of accepting novices too young to know what they're giving up, he has no objection to a young man past nineteen entering the cloister of his own free will. Meriet Aspley, younger son of the Norman lord of Aspley, seems like a straightforward proposition: a younger son, perhaps seeking a career rather than a vocation, but surely none the worse for that as long as he strives to be a credit to the order. But Brother Paul, for one, is uneasy about him, having never before seen a postulant pursue his vows with such determination but so little joy.

By day, Meriet is all dutiful obedience, studying hard and petitioning to have his probationary term shortened, but by night he wakes the entire monastic household with violent nightmares. He's never served in the armies of either king or empress and seen little of violence save on the hunt, yet the mere sight of a fellow novice struck unconscious by a freak accident sends him into shaken silence. On the other hand, a run-in with Brother Jerome over a keepsake from a red-haired girl suggests other kinds of passion running in Meriet: not only a thwarted love for his elder brother's betrothed, but a hot temper when he tries to defend his trophy from Jerome.

Meanwhile Hugh Beringar pursues the disappearance of another cleric connected with the Aspley household: Peter Clemence, envoy from the Bishop of Winchester to the great lords of Chester and Lincoln and cousin to Meriet, last seen spending the night at Aspley on his way north. Why should a priest disappear at the same time the youngest son of the household was seized with a sudden urge to enter the cloister?

Very tidy mystery here, particularly since Meriet is given to speaking the literal truth under interrogation, so the reader has a certain amount of evidence to work with.

Particularly nice touches:

- Meriet attempting to strangle Brother Jerome.

- The three most formidable members of the Aspley household: Meriet, his father Leoric, and his father's ward Isouda, who's confident that he will be hers in the end.

- How Brother Mark gains a patron for his studies to enter the priesthood (after this book, he doesn't return until SUMMER OF THE DANES).

- Radulfus' consultations with various senior brothers on the issue of accepting children into the order.

- Character development of Brother Paul, the master of novices.

As always, I recommend the unabridged recording narrated by Stephen Thorne.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a nice book, 29 Oct 2009
By 
S. Watts "swatts" (Leicestershire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Devil's Novice: 8 (Paperback)
This book arrived as specified by the delivery date and was just as described,I would order from this seller again.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Story great, reader not so good, 19 Jun 2014
Story is very good. Reader is not so good. female reader in story where most characters are male and she's not so good at doing male voices. Also some errors eg read trail instead of trial. Other errors of phrasing - ie emphasis on wrong word. But I did listen all the way through and still enjoyed hearing the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't overdo the characterisation, 27 Feb 2014
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Item came promptly, well packaged and in perfect condition.
The female reader's voice deepening for male voices was extreme, unnecessary, and became jarring ~ however not enough to spoil the story. Some odd phrasing and emphasis here and there. I'm picky!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another good mystery, 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Devil's Novice: 8 (Cadfael Chronicles) (Paperback)
Politics and war, unrequited love, misunderstanding, familial loyalty at its best and its worst.

Another good murder mystery with a surprising twist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares disturb sleep, 3 Nov 2013
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Sympathetic handling of nightmares is necessary to solve the mystery of a missing emissary as well as the troubles of the novice of the title. Mark gives the sympathy but Cadfael sorts out the troubled relationships..
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Novice, 5 Oct 2013
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Ellis Peters not only tells a good story; she teaches mediaeval history with the reader hardly realising it. I wish there were more Brother Cadfael novels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars cadfael chronicles, 28 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Devil's Novice: 8 (Cadfael Chronicles) (Paperback)
it is always a pleasure to receive books in good condition.
i will enjoy reading it,and would recommend it .thankyou
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5.0 out of 5 stars A nice company to deal with, 20 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Devil's Novice: 8 (Paperback)
A very nice company to deal with and a satisfactory outcome. The book was one of Ellis Peter's best in the series
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The Devil's Novice: 8 (Cadfael Chronicles)
The Devil's Novice: 8 (Cadfael Chronicles) by Ellis Peters (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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