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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That�s Cadfael
These are three short stories about Cadfael before the novels begin, that is before 1143 when civil war raged through England. In the novels Cadfael is over 60 and his past is referred to lightly. In the first of these stories, 'A light on the Road', Cadfael is in his forties and newly returned to England, his soldiering days waning. It is during this adventure that...
Published on 11 Oct 2002 by pennymwood2

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's OK, but I won't be buying another
Published 1 month ago by JT


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That�s Cadfael, 11 Oct 2002
These are three short stories about Cadfael before the novels begin, that is before 1143 when civil war raged through England. In the novels Cadfael is over 60 and his past is referred to lightly. In the first of these stories, 'A light on the Road', Cadfael is in his forties and newly returned to England, his soldiering days waning. It is during this adventure that Cadfael meets the Prior of The Abbey of St Peter and St Paul in Shrewsbury and makes his decision to join the Benedictines. The other two stories follow the themes we have come to expect from this mediaeval super sleuth.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 stories of Cadfael's early career, 8 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Incidentally, if you're looking for an audio edition, I recommend Stephen Thorne's unabridged narration over any other recording.
In 1120, Cadfael saw "A Light on the Road to Woodstock". Roger Mauduit's father deeded a manor to the abbey of Shrewsbury, which granted it back to him as a life tenant. The old man and Abbot Fulchered trusted one another, and were careless with the charter's actual wording. Now that both principals and all the witnesses have passed away, Roger has brought suit against the abbey that the tenancy is hereditary, and should remain with him, so Mauduit and the abbey's representative, Prior Heribert, are bringing the case before King Henry at Woodstock. Prior Heribert is armed with the abbey's correspondence with old man Mauduit as proof of intent.
Unfortunately, Mauduit knows his only hope is to keep Heribert from appearing in court, so the King will find for Mauduit in default. When 'footpads in the forest' kidnap Heribert, Cadfael (a Welsh armsman temporarily in Mauduit's employ) becomes suspicious. (This story also describes the first few stones that grew into the avalanche of the civil war between the Empress Maud (the King's daughter) and King Stephen.)
"The Price of Light" In 1135, Hamo FitzHamon, a harsh, self-indulgent lord of 2 manors, takes thought for his soul, when his sixtieth year greets him with a mild seizure. On the theory that the prayers of the brothers carry more weight with Heaven than those of ordinary recipients of charity, he has arrived at Shrewsbury for Christmas with his young wife, to conclude a charter arranging payment for the lighting of Mary's altar, and to gift the altar with 2 exquisite silver candlesticks (despite the custodian's opinion that the value of the candlesticks would be better sent to the almoner in this harsh winter). When the candlesticks disappear from the altar, half-blind Brother Jordan, who knows the value of light better than anyone, says that he has witnessed a miracle, of which he may not speak for 3 days.
"Eye Witness" A few days before the abbey's annual rents fall due, poor Brother Ambrose has fallen ill, and the abbey has had to hire a lay clerk to handle the paperwork. Master William, the abbey's steward, takes Ambrose's illness as almost a personal insult, but he's a complaining sort of man, whose worst cross to bear is his wild, continually-in-debt son. The day that Master William collects the rents, Madog of the Dead Boat fishes him out of the river - knocked out from behind, robbed, and thrown into the river for dead, but rescued just short of drowning. Cadfael, knowing that the church attic overlooks the scene of the attack, persuades old Rhodri the beggar (who sleeps up there) to help him bait a trap for the thief.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three stories for 59p - outstanding value, 8 July 2014
By 
Annie W "bookworm" (Aberdeenshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Rare Benedictine: The Advent Of Brother Cadfael (The Cadfael Chronicles 0) (Kindle Edition)
These three short stories from Ellis Peters are outstanding value at 59p. We learn how the roving soldier Cadfael becomes a monk, plus two mysteries set in Shrewsbury. Cadfael comes across as a much-travelled, experienced military man who has taken the cowl as the next step in his progression through life, and has no regrets for the secular life left behind. His knowledge of herbs has him working in the herbarium, but his understanding of men's failings has him solve two problems: the theft of a pair of candlestick for the Abbey's altar, and the loss of the Abbey's rental revenues in a sudden, violent action. The plots are extremely clever, and very true to nature, with sufficient potential culprits to make the identification of the final guilty person most satisfying, while Brother Cadfael's logic is impeccable.

The introductory notes from Ellis Peters are most satisfactory, and there can be little doubt that the Cadfael stories are what led to the huge number of historical murder mysteries which followed, in what is now recognised as an almost new popular genre.

The tone is gentle; the plots appear simple, but Brother Cadfael and his acquaintances in Shrewsbury are much more complex, and much more addictive than would at first appear likely.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three short stories introducing the detective/monk Cadfael, 6 Oct 2008
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
A wonderful collection of three short stories (about 50 pages each) illustrating how the former crusader Cadfael came to become a monk, and three of the early mysteries he solved.

This review was posted for the Ulverscroft Large Print edition, and please note that in one important respect the Amazon editorial review above is not applicable to this version of the book. This large print edition has the merit of being easy to read, but lacks Clifford Harper's beautiful illustrations as found in some other editions of this book.

Includes an interesting author's introduction by Ellis Peters (or to use her real name, Edith Pargeter), and it provides brief glimpses into her favorite monastic's rare name, worldly career and personality.

Brother Cadfael's personal philosophy includes wry but compassionate acceptance of human foibles with our capacity for deception and wickedness. His devoted admirers will revel in any literary work which fills in the gaps about the delightful literary figure who has been called the "cowled crusader".

If you are a fan of Brother Cadfael, and have read all 20 of his full-length mysteries, you will be pleased to find one last chance to admire him in action. If you have not yet been introduced to Ellis Peters' medieval sleuth, this short story collection is one possible introduction, although the first of the full-length novels about him, "A Morbid Taste for Bones" might be an even better one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very rare Benedictine, 26 Aug 2013
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I love this book. It's considerably shorter than the main Cadfael tales but it does give his background so well. You can really see and feel how he makes his decision to go to Shrewsbury and to take on the monastic life.

Cadfael is a very special character. There aren't many like him in any genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brother Cadfael, 5 Oct 2013
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A good read. Ellis Peters never lets you down. I enjoyed the series years ago on TV and I enjoy the books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good adventure with well rounded characters, 21 Nov 2013
Always a good read, well written, which takes one away from all the worries and bad news of the world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cadfael begins, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: A Rare Benedictine: The Advent Of Brother Cadfael (The Cadfael Chronicles 0) (Kindle Edition)
If you wondered how cadfael becomes a monk and an amateur sleuth look no further than this book, all the usual intrigue
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None, 15 Aug 2013
I have read most of the Brother Cadfael series and find them an enjoyable read. Would highly recommend you give them a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and I loved the introduction of his detective instinct even before he ..., 18 Oct 2014
By 
Liz Bailey (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Rare Benedictine: The Advent Of Brother Cadfael (The Cadfael Chronicles 0) (Kindle Edition)
Reading this first tale of Cadfael and how he became a Benedictine monk was such a pleasure. I don't remember reading it before, and I loved the introduction of his detective instinct even before he got into the monastery. It completely fitted with the series, and that was interesting because Ellis Peters apparently wrote it late in the day. The other stories were enjoyable too.
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