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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2007
I've just finished reading this after reading every other Cadfael novel in a 2 month period (I inherited the whole collection). Although I quite enjoyed the book I did feel that the whole series strays away from Cadfael as detective, it is increasingly difficult to see how he really changes the story that is unfolding. In this story, especially, he seems to be mostly an observer of events. The last few books in the series have felt quite formulaic, I found myself guessing which characters would become which stereotype fairly early on. Stick to the earlier novels where Cadfael has a greater role and there are fewer predictable twists.
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on 5 May 2000
It is not the summer of his discontent, washed by the sun of Yorke; however, it is the season for another Cadfael adventure and mystery! And Ellis Peters, in her usual intriguing way, presents us with her 18th Brother Cadfael episode in "The Summer of the Danes."
The year is 1144--the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud still rages on--and Brother Cadfael is called upon to be an interpreter to the Welsh village of Saint Asaph. Cadfael is Welsh born and he welcomes the journey to his homeland as a pleasant break from his duties as a brother at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury.
As it turns out--and naturally, as this is an Ellis Peters mystery!--a Danish fleet is sighted along the coast of Wales, a real menace, indeed. Then a young girl goes missing. Then a body is found. And Cadfael is off and running.
So is the reader! Having read all the Brother Cadfael series, I found this to be one of my favorites. Peters wastes no time in developing her story and does not hesitate to flavor her plot with plenty of Welsh history and lore. Will the Danes invade? Will the murderer be brought to justice? Cadfael's expertise, once again, proves to be essential in the resolution of the crimes.
Cadfael is the former crusader now turned monk who, while not solving murder cases, works as the Abbey's herbalist and is known throughout the area for his skills in medicine. The "Sunday Express" writes: "Cadfael...springs to life in her books, which are novels with depth. He is a man of warmth, humanity and engaging nosiness."
Do not be misled by the British TV series of the Cadfael stories. While on the surface they are quite adequate (Derek Jacobi is an ideal Cadfael), the 50-minute recounting of any of Peters' books does not do justice to the novel, which is a pity, for there are great gaps of (mis)understanding that simply cannot be supplied in such short time. Stay with the books! They are well-worth the read. Cadfael is a character worth knowing!
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on 3 August 2000
I like the Brother Cadfael mysteries very much, but this one is something of a disappointment. Ellis Peters always writes beautiful English and that is certainly the case here, but, in the absence of much story, such elegant style seems stifling. Apart from the villain, the characters too seem to be moving through molasses. If this is the first Cadfael you read, please read some of the others before judging the series. Most of them are much better.
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on 11 February 2012
This book is not a Cadfael Mystery or really anything to do with Cadfael, It's all about the Danes attacking Wales and brothers (Kings) falling out. I was very disappointed in the book as it was not what I expected of a Cadfael Mystery
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on 11 September 2014
I was pleased to get hold of this book, as it was the only Brother Cadfael book I hadn't read. It's an insteresting book, though Brother Cadfael hasn't really got that much of a mystery to solve here, it works itself out more or less without his help. I found the other books a bit more exciting. It's a nice book to relax with, though.
The Vikings are a bit stereotyped in terms of looks, but not as bloodthirsty as the stereotype.
Enjoyable book.
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on 18 October 2014
Much as I love Cadfael, this one wasn't quite up to the norm. The mystery was submerged behind the politics and so it was more of a historical novel than a whodunit. But that aside, it was a pleasure to read Ellis Peters' world of the time and become absorbed, as always, by the intrigue and politics. I had no idea that the Danes were over in Ireland, so that was a revelation to me.
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on 31 August 2013
This one is a bit different to most of the Cadfael stories - away from the monastery, and deep into Wales under threat of civil war and Viking invasion. Plenty of drama - and the murder seems almost incidental to the rest of the adventure: this is a medieval adventure more than a medieval mystery
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on 22 February 2015
Having read all of the books to date I found this the most boring too many Welsh characters made it hard to keep track of the story ellipses description of the countryside was. Long. And drawn out it felt as though she was writing words to fill the space. Pleased when I got to the last page.
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on 24 July 2013
Couldn't get a copy of any of Ellis Peters books at the library so that is why I bought a book that has now been passed onto someone else who also could not find any of that authors works in the library. Just hope they all come back into favour.
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on 20 October 2014
As usual Ellis Peters entertains with a good well researched story. In a world of skirmishes between the Welsh and Danes Brother Cadfael has to put his detective skills to work to solve problems including murder. Well worth reading.
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