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NOTE THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE AUDIO VERSION OF THE VIRGIN IN THE ICE.

This is the 6th book in the Brother Cadfael series. Ellis Peters had hit her stride. A great central character- on who each story hangs- great setting a largely not well know period of English History The `Civil' war between King Stephen and The Empress Maud and .

The fact that the period is now much better know is largely down to Peters.

She writes well paced and interesting stories.

Now the majority of her stories are `Whodunits' but this is not really that type. Never the less it is a cracking tale and moves at a brisk pace.

Three people are- missing. One a young Lord- Ives, his sister a noted dark haired beauty and their guardian- a young Benedictine Nun.

One of them is found dead- frozen in an iced covered stream- the Virgin of the title.

We know who has done it but the book and tale twist and turns as there is a race against time to discover the remaining two of the trio.

Now to this production.

It's dramatized by the BBC- always a hall mark of excellence.

The story is in place in full and moves at a really satisfyingly brisk pace that really conveys the race against time to discover the remaining two of the trio.

Bert Coules has really done a fine job in his dramatizing of the book.

The late Phillip Madoc is simply wonderful he really is THE Brother Cadfael. His fine Welsh accent is to my ear exactly how I expected Brother Cadfael to sound.

Don't get me wrong the televised version of Cadfael with Derek Jacobi was good but I, along with many others believe that Madoc would have been the better.- We will now, of course never know but we are left with this splendid series on Audio.
Mention at this juncture should be made of the wonderful narration of Sir Michael Hordern. He is truly excellent and conveys the story and background wonderfully with his outstanding gravitas in his voice. Outstanding.
Douglas Hodge as Hugh Berringer- Stephen's Shire Sheriff is good and the cast, as with all in the Cadfael series, are excellent.
The Basics.
This set is in 5 shows on 2 cassettes.
You can easily get it on CD a link is here.
Cadfael: The Virgin in the Ice (BBC Radio Crimes)
It's as cheap as chips at the moment but that is not reflected in the high quality of the production, the cover, inners and slim case.
This is the 6th in the series but the good news is that you do not have to have read the preceding 5 to get the full benefit of hearing this.
Nothing from the former is needed to understand and enjoy this excellent production.
All in all?
Wonderful entertainment for your aural pleasure.
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This sixth in the series of tales of Brother Cadfael is less obviously a whodunit and much more of a thriller or twelfth century adventure story. It is set in the English Marches, amidst the chaos ensuing from the sacking of Worcester by supporters of the Empress Maud against King Stephen in November 1139. The action takes place in Ludlow, mid-way between Cadfael's normal haunts of Shrewsbury, and the beleaguered city of Worcester, where our hero is ostensibly nursing back to health a Benedictine brother who has seemingly been waylaid by a band of outlaws, stripped and left for dead.
Whilst in Ludlow, Cadfael also finds himself embroiled in the hunt for a party of three young persons missing after the attacks on Worcester and known to be heading for Shrewsbury, at which destination they have failed to arrive. With a bitter freeze on hand and the winter's first snows, there are grave concerns for their safety and well-being. One of the three is subsequently found dead - obviously killed and dumped in a watery (now icy) grave on the very night that the good monk's patient was attacked.
Unlike many another Cadfael tale, this one moves along with a gripping sense of urgency and with a fair amount of tension and excitement building gradually as things proceed. It contains the usual Ellis Peters' meticulous attention to both historical and narrative detail and constitutes as riveting - and entertaining - a story as you are likely to find. As always, Cadfael is aware of details overlooked by others and never once loses sight of the smaller issues that are wont to become subsumed into the larger, weightier ones. He (and the regular reader) is provided with an unlooked-for reward in this volume, too.
This book has to be one of the very best of the Cadfael Chronicles and is unreservedly recommended for lovers of the genre. Its story line stands somewhat apart from others in the series, making it fairly unimportant where it is read in the sequence.
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on 25 April 2001
Having read one of Ellis Peter's Cadfael books and been left totally unimpressed by it I bought this tape on the grounds that it was a BBC production and therefore probably pretty good.
I'm glad I did. This production is absolutely superb. It really captures the atmosphere of the piece - listen to it in a darkened room and you'll swear that you've been transported to medieval Shrewsbury. At one point it even succeeds in making you feel cold as the characters battle through a snowstorm!
The casting is spot on. Philip Madoc has a truly magnificent voice - listening to him is the aural equivalent of comfort food - and you can quite imagine why the townsfolk would head to his Cadfael with their problems. In addition the voice of Paddington Bear, Michael Hordern, is the narrator.
The story itself concerns the plight of 2 children who have been forced to flee Worcester during a battle between King Stephen and Empress Maud. The boy, Ives, turns up unharmed but his sister is nowhere to be found. Cadfael organises a search which leads to the discovery of a young woman's body, frozen beneath the ice. But the story has only just begun.
If you enjoy audiobooks then this will be a welcome addition to your collection. If not, then this might well be the tape to get you hooked.
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on 28 March 2015
This is the sixth book in the Brother Cadfael murder mystery series. It is December 1139, the country is still in the grips of Civil War. This has sent many fleeing North including 2 orphans and their companion, a nun but they seemed to have disappeared in the snow and ice.

Cadfael is dispatched from the Abbey at Shrewsbury to the aid of a fellow monk who has been brought injured to Broomfied Abbey near Ludlow. Whilst he is there, Cadfael is asked to help in the search for the missing people. Will he be able to save Brother Elyas and find the three missing souls.

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.
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on 26 April 2016
An atmospheric invocation of a land at war with ordinary people swept up in violence. A headstrong girl and her younger brother in charge of a nun are astray in appalling weather and dangerous country. Brother Cadfael follows their tracks only to discover the nun murdered and her body concealed in the ice. Taking advantage of the civil unrest, a robber band is ravaging the countryside but several helpers are looking for the children and all ends well, the murder is solved and comparative peace restored.
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‘The Virgin in the Ice’ is the sixth Cadfael chronicle, written by Ellis Peters in 1982. If the civil war between Stephen and Matilda (here described as “cousins most uncousinly”) was barely mentioned in the fifth, here it marks its presence in the very first sentence. It’s now November 1139 and Matilda’s forces have pushed up the Severn valley to Worcester from their base in Gloucester.

Cadfael’s journey in this episode takes him south, away from Shrewsbury and towards the scene of trouble; not as far as Worcester, but still within the county – to Bromfield and Ludlow, where some refugees from the fighting have fled. Amongst them are some important children. This chronicle thus has a change of scene in both geography as well as plot, but it is still (alas) young love that is at the core. At one point a young lady is in a monk’s garb whilst in the priory at Bromfield. Purlease!

One of the benefits of reading Cadfael’s adventures is his not generally being tainted with Manichaeism, but here Cadfael himself asserts in conversation with Hugh Beringar, the deputy sheriff, that “I do not believe that evil and good can be so dismally plaited together that they cannot be disentangled.”

As usual, come the end, all is well that ends well. Young people learn and grow, young love is sanctified, and the villains meet their rightful rewards. Yawn. Oh, and Cadfael himself has a shock from his past in the Holy Land, but to find out what that is, you’ll have to read the book.

This is not, IMHO, one of the better chronicles. Thankfully matters improve …
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This is the 6th book in the Brother Cadfael series. Ellis Peters had hit her stride. A great central character- on who each story hangs- great setting and a largely not well know period of English History The `Civil' war between King Stephen and The Empress Maud.

The fact that the period is now much better know is largely down to Peters.

All the great series of books have that essential - a character on who the action hangs.

Think of Arthur Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Peter's Cadfael is in that genre.

Ellis Peters writes well paced and interesting stories.

Firstly you do not have to have read the preceding 5 to get the full benefit. Nothing in the 5 is needed to understand and `get' the plot.

Now the majority of her stories are `Whodunits' but this is not really that type. Never the less it is a cracking tale and moves at a brisk pace.

Three people are- missing. One a young Lord- Ives, his sister a noted dark haired beauty and their guardian- a young Benedictine Nun. There father was a noted supporter on the Empress Maud and they are at large in King Stephen supporting lands.

One of them is found dead- frozen in an iced covered stream- the Virgin of the title.

We know who has done it but the book and tale twist and turns as there is a race against time to discover the remaining two of the trio.

The story moves along at a really satisfying pace.

If you love Cadfael books, the TV series or good historical fiction then this is a really great book to read.

Recommended.
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on 28 April 2016
Another book about Cadfael giving more information about his pre-monastic past. Once again a compassionate story set in a violent period of history highlighting the fact that good people can be found on both sides of a conflict.
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on 27 April 2016
Bought as a result of seeing an old,old repeat on television .A beautifully written story full of drama and a thorough knowledge of the locale and history. A book to be re read in the depths of a hard Winter !
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on 3 February 2014
Not one of the better Ellis Peter's Cadfael books, as it is a little muddled and unconvincing in places. Rather formulaic. That said it is worth the read for being one of the series.
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