"The prequel, written halfway into the series: 3 stories chronicling Cadfael's entry into monastic life (November 1120), his first cases (December 1135) & the seeds of the war between Maud and Stephen."
"May 1137: A trip to Wales, to recover the relics of St. Winifred, who allegedly wants to be relocated to Shrewsbury. Not surprisingly, the local population disagrees. Then a local lord is murdered ..."
"October 1139: A leper's grim fate & the story of an orphaned heiress, to be wedded for money's sake to a despicable old baron, and her lover; everybody's favorite suspect when the groom turns up dead."
"November 1139: After the sack of Worcester by Empress Maud, a young nun, a young nobleman & his sister get lost in the Marshes. Cadfael rushes to the rescue - and meets a messenger from his own past!"
"Spring 1140: A young singer is accused of robbery and murder and, hunted by a mob, seeks shelter in the Abbey. All this while Shrewsbury had thought it could enjoy a rare breath of peace and quiet ..."
"September 1140: The Abbey accepts a novice with a troubling zeal for monastic life (but not its virtues!), who may or may not be connected to the death of a cleric traveling through his home village."
"June 1141: A cripple, his sister and 2 brothers on a painful pilgrimage are among the attendees of the annual feast of St. Winifred. And the abbot brings word of a murder at a council in Winchester..."
"August 1141: After the burning of Winchester's Benedictine abbey, 2 of its monks (with a rather mysterious relationship) flee to Shrewsbury; and a young woman disappears on her way to her new convent."
"August 1144: Competitors for the possession of St. Winifred's relics show up in Shrewsbury! Then the holy bones disappear, a monk is found murdered - and a tonsured troubadour finds his lady love ..."