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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael: Dead Man's Ransom, BBC full cast audio drama - Medieval mystery brought to life for radio
Based on Ellis Peter's popular series of novels, this radio production tells the tale of Brother Cadfael, Soldier, sailor and sinner, now a Brother in Shrewsbury abbey at the height of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud, in the mid 12th century. The location and time were well chosen by Peters, as the civil war and Shrewsbury's position close to the...
Published on 4 Aug 2011 by Victor

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better in book form methinks
Firstly I am a HUGE fan of the Ellis Peters' Benedictine monk/former crusader Cadfael. I have all the books and have read them several times, I also have the dvd boxset so I was intrigued as at how the character and stories would translate into the audio play format.

Sadly it falls flat, it is important to note that this is NOT an audio book, it is a radio...
Published on 29 May 2011 by Amazon Customer


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael: Dead Man's Ransom, BBC full cast audio drama - Medieval mystery brought to life for radio, 4 Aug 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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Based on Ellis Peter's popular series of novels, this radio production tells the tale of Brother Cadfael, Soldier, sailor and sinner, now a Brother in Shrewsbury abbey at the height of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud, in the mid 12th century. The location and time were well chosen by Peters, as the civil war and Shrewsbury's position close to the sensitive Welsh border provides rich territory for plotting and bloody murder. Bodies keep popping up all over the place, and it falls to the worldly Cadfael, with his knowledge of pathology gained from the battle field and his knowledge of men gained from many years in the world, to solve the crimes and see justice is served.

This tale hangs very much on the civil war and the proximity to Wales. It involves an exchange of high ranking prisoners between the Welsh and English, captured in two very different battles resulting from the politics of the day and a breakaway rebel Welsh faction. When one of the prisoners unexpectedly dies, Cadfael has to navigate his way through both wordly politics and the human heart to find the killer. It is a well told tale, quite complex in parts but so clearly laid out as to be easy to follow.

This two hour production stars Philip Madoc in a fine performance as Cadfael. With his mellifluous voice he strikes just the right note, evoking the basic humanity of the man, and the steely determination to see justice served. Also included in the cast are Michael Kitchen as the narrator, and Susannah York as Sister Magdalene. It is an excellent production. Having read the books many times, Madoc is almost exactly how I imagine Cadfael to sound. The story is clearly narrated and easy to follow, the actors all on good form and the production does what it needs to in terms of setting the scene. I shall definitely be acquiring more in this series.

This set contains two discs in a fold out jewel case. Liner notes are restricted to a brief bio of Ellis Peters. 4 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the television version, 23 May 2011
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Mr. M Errington "Chelonist" (Hereford UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a fully dramatised version of the Ellis Peters' medieval whodunit. The adaptation was originally broadcast in several episodes on BBC Radio 4. This version is on two CDs. I much prefer this version to the television adaptations with Derek Jacobi. Philip Madoc sounds absolutely right as Cadfael, and I do not understand why he was not given the role on television. He even looks right! As with much radio the pictures are better too. The production values and the soundscape are good, though the volume varies a little too much for comfortable listening in the car. As for the story, it is one of the better ones produced by Ellis Peters (real name Edith Pargeter). The books have a tendency to drift into romantic novel territory, but this one has some basis in history and the battle of Lincoln. These historical details help to anchor the story very nicely. The cast are very good, with Susannah York excellent as a rather unconventional mother superior. Michael Kitchen is also notable as the narrator, and Trevor Peacock makes a welcome appearance. Bert Coules has done a very good job in adapting the novel. I can't help but think the cast and technicians must have had a splendid time with the battle scenes. Overall this is a most enjoyable diversion, and is highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peters triumps with outstanding 'Ransom', 4 May 2000
By A Customer
In the tenth installment of the ever-so-popular Brother Cadfael series, author Ellis Peters proves a winner once again with "Dead Man's Ransom."
Set in the year 1141, civil war runs amok in Britain between King Stephen and the Empress Maud, and it appears that the end of the twelve year old struggle is in sight. The war has taken its toll in many areas, as civil wars do, and the people are quite weary of it all. Maud's forces, however, now have captured the king himself.
The sheriff of Shropshire, too, has been taken captive. This means, in those days, that in all likelihood an exchange of prisoners will take place.
Alas, one of the captives is now dead and it is our Brother Cadfael who senses that, indeed, it is murder, and, just as naturally as Peters would have it, it is he who is given the responsibility to solve the case and to try to bring about the release of the king.
Brother Cadfael is the former crusader now a Benedictine monk, who specializes in herbal medicines, solving murders, and compassion. Peters (Edith Pargeter) has developed her Cadfael through this series of medieval whodunits into a man of the cloth easily admired and respected. He is a man of firm, and devout, principles; a man who seems to carry the weight of the shire on his own Welch-born shoulders!
Peters has made grand the area of Shropshire, and especially the town of Shrewsbury there on the Welch borders. She has also created an exciting family of literary characters to complement Cadfael: Hugh Beringar (deputy sheriff of the shire and Cadfael's closest friend) and his wife Aline, Abbot Radulfus (the venerable patriarch of the abbey, and other members of the abbey.
It is not essential that this series be read from the start (with "A Morbid Taste for Bones"), as this book could easily be read first and it would still hold up as a book on its own; however, readers generally will want to read them in order, as the presentation of character, of historical events, of character-interaction does show development in the series' genealogy. Peters died a few years ago and apparently there are no more Cadfael episodes aside from the twenty or so published, but each of the books extant bring the reader a treasure of reading adventures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Man's Ransom - Dead Good, 8 Jun 2011
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a review of the BBC dramatic recording of Dead Man's Ransom and NOT the book.

This is one of those gems of productions that the BBC does so well. It is a cracking story that the Drama department at the BBC radio 4 team have done a brilliant job of bringing alive to the listener.
Originally a five part series for radio 4 this recording is a satisfying 2hrs and 5mins where not a minute is wasted in `playing for time'. I for one could not `see the joins'.
The story cracks along at a good pace. Michael Kitchen narrates the story well but the star of the production for me is Philip Madoc who portrays Brother Cadfael really well as I imagined him in my mind when I read the books and as I believe Ellis Peters imagined him to be. Namely a Welshman with a slightly welsh accent living in England close to the border. Indeed Madoc does such a great job that I never for once thought of the TV series depiction of Cadfael by Derek Jacobi.
The cast really support Madoc and are very believable in their roles.
As I listened to the production in the car I was transported to Mediaeval Shrewsbury and Wales so credit should go to dramatisation by Bert Coules who has done an excellent job and also to the director Neil Cargill who has also done a terrific job. A really good cast which includes the sadly missed Susannah York as Magdalen and a good performance by the rest of the actors bring this excellent mystery to life.
I won't add spoilers to the plot and eventual solution and I will not give the story line as I am certain others will have done this in other reviews (largely from the blurb on the back of the CD I wonder??)
. But I will say that this is well up to Ellis Peters' standard which is praise indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better in book form methinks, 29 May 2011
By 
Amazon Customer "Fiona" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Firstly I am a HUGE fan of the Ellis Peters' Benedictine monk/former crusader Cadfael. I have all the books and have read them several times, I also have the dvd boxset so I was intrigued as at how the character and stories would translate into the audio play format.

Sadly it falls flat, it is important to note that this is NOT an audio book, it is a radio adaptation of an Ellis Peters story. It just does not ring true with me, perhaps I am a Cadfael snob but I cannot get excited about this adaptation. Perhaps the problem is that to a Cadfael purist, Sir Derek Jacobi IS Cadfael, why was he not used to record the play?

The narrative of Michael Kitchen seems unwarranted, why include it? He does not play any other part, so why have him as narrator? That being said the late Susannah York plays her part well as does Phillip Madoc (playing Cadfael). He, especially, has made a good crack at portraying the character.

The choice of sfx and music are evocative of the period. Although I did find that the screaming sounded false. I can tell that the producer applied high production values to the recording, however, if you want to get to know Cadfael than stick with the books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always a winner!, 19 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Ellis Peters is always a good read and Dead Man's Ransom is no exception. The book is set on the border of Mediaeval Wales, where a hot-headed young Welsh nobleman gets caught by the English and held to ransom for the return of the Sheriff of Shropshire. All seems well in hand until the Sheriff is returned to the Shire and is suddenly murdered. Its up to Brother Cadfael to found out once again who dunnit? The historical detail is brilliant and indeed I, who am not a fan of who dunnit's, found this book throughly enjoyable because of what it said about customs of the time. I half listened to it while my mother was listening to the audio-version and was so hooked I took the tapes away and listened to it again. The characters are well-drawn and one comes to understand their motivations. They have their faults which aren't resolved in a sickly-sweet happy ending. The only problem I had with this book was the punishment meted out to the murderer. I cannot agree with the characters actions in this case and therefore found it hard to come away from the story with a good feeling, which is definitely the kind of story this is meant to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable., 16 July 2011
By 
E. E. Hughes (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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As a fan of the TV adaptations starring Derek Jacobi I was quite excited to be listening to this.

I found it a bit hard to get into at first as you are catapulted right into the middle of things and the characters are not introduced very well. It took me a while to work out who was who and what was happening. Once I had done this I was able to get into the story and I really enjoyed it.

Brother Cadfael is voiced by Philip Madoc who comes across much harsher than Derek Jacobi, but I quickly got used to his voice and rather liked the slightly different take on the character.

The radio drama is set over two CDs on multiple tracks, so it was easy for me to keep my place when I had to stop listening to do other things and then come back to it.

I would definitely recommend this to Cadfael fans and I will be buying the other adaptation 'Monk's Hood' in due course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh Justice, 23 May 2011
By 
HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed listening to this Cadfeal story especially as this is one I did not know. I have read several of the books, seen some on television and heard 3 of them on audio cassettes. Derek Jacobi played Cadfeal in the television versions and it is his voice on the audio cassettes that I have and am used to so I wondered how this one would be in comparison.
This is a dramatisation with Philip Madoc playing the part of Cadfael - included in the other voices are: Susannah York, Michael Kitchen and Trevor Peacock. The original was released in 1995 and 2000 on cassette so this is not a new version for the CD but having said that this version is very good as all the actors have excellent voices and the 2 hours of the story just flew by. I did like Philip Madoc as Cadfael.
As usual there is a death in the monastery which turns out to be murder. The twist in this story is the difference between English and Welsh laws relating to crime and punishment which is very interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As expected an excellent twist in the tale., 5 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Dead Man's Ransom (Kindle Edition)
A book full of history and imagery for lovers of historical crime fiction especially all Cadfael fans. An enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars cadfael tale, 7 Nov 2013
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Mystery lovers will enjoy. Good tale , with lots of atmosphere. Well read. Philip Madoc makes good Cadfael. Recommend to history buffs as well as mystery lovers. Easy listening with plenty of interest.
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Dead Man's Ransom: 9 (Cadfael Chronicles)
Dead Man's Ransom: 9 (Cadfael Chronicles) by Ellis Peters (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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