The Sanctuary Sparrow: 7 Paperback – 8 Nov 1984
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|Paperback, 8 Nov 1984||
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Gripping and knowledgable. (SPECTATOR) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In his seventh chronicle Brother Cadfael is sure that the young man who seeks sanctuary in Shrewsbury Abbey is innocent of the charge of murder laid against him. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In this particular case, the mystery is no greatly complex affair but it is, in any case, largely subsidiary to Ellis Peters' painting of a finely detailed picture of life in twelfth century England, and more especially here, within a moderately wealthy family household. There are some unexpected twists and developments along the way, though, and there is certainly nothing predictable about the way the story works itself out, although the ending is no particular surprise either.
In some respects, this is one of the best of the Cadfael books. Its opening pages contain some of Ellis Peters' finest writing, with her descriptions of the running to ground of young Liliwin and the reactions of Abbot Radulfus being quite hair-raising in their potency. The tale unfolds at a sure and steady pace thereafter, too, ensuring that it is always difficult to put the book down, right up until the final exciting, and rather tear-jerking, denouement.
Published in 1983, the book has fourteen chapters that delineate the week of events. It is spring 1140, “with Shrewsbury and all this region secure within the king’s peace, whatever contentions raged further south between king and empress.” But at a wedding reception in town, there is violence and theft. A youth is accused but before the judgement of the street is meted out, the ‘sparrow’ seeks sanctuary within the confines of the abbey, whose officials “fretted and itched with the infection thus hurled in from the world without.”
Yes, this is another case of innocent youth: did Ellis Peters ever write a novel that did without young love? This time we even have the sexual act taking place – and in the abbey church too! – “heaving as one to great, deep-drawn sighs … they were equally innocent, equally knowing.” Needless to say Cadfael is not offended and manages to get to the bottom of exactly who did steal the goods and inflict the violence.
As well as the young love that seems central to most Cadfael stories, one cannot help also noticing how the good guys tend to be “skinny”, “willowy”, or with “gangling limbs” whilst the baddies are “squat”. Yet our hero himself is the exception that breaks the rule – “width-ways Cadfael would have made three of him” [the boy] – and later on in the novel Cadfael is described as “squat and square and sturdy”, and is sixty years’ old.
But if the plots and the characters have similar features, then at least we can admire the author’s occasional literary simile, such as: “Cadfael pursued [the imp] and drew alongside like a companion ship keeping station rather than a pirate boarding.” All in all, this is another well-constructed tale from the world of twelfth-century Shrewsbury.
This is the seventh book in the Brother Cadfael murder mystery series and 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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good story. You know with the Cadfael books that there will be a murder and a false accusation.Published 7 days ago by joyce
The Cadfael stories are consistently good and the period is captured e trembly wellPublished 2 months ago by LAC
Always good character development and story lines. I love the way Ellis Peters uses language and descriptions. Thoroughly enjoyed the book.Published 4 months ago by SparrowHawk
Cadfael books are always good and I m working my way through them all. As for the actual delivery - I'm using ebook a- with amazon the process is simplicity itself.Published 5 months ago by J m darley
The first 40% was very slow in pace. Later the pace picked up to the authors normal pace, however I nearly abandoned the tale a few times early on - hence the three * ratingPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer