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Brother Cadfael's Penance (1994)

de Ellis Peters

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Sèrie: Brother Cadfael (20)

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1,538258,588 (4.05)108
In 12th Century Britain, Brother Cadfael searches for his son, Olivier de Bretagne, taken prisoner in a war between the grandchildren of William the Conqueror. In the process he discovers intrigue and murder. By the author of The Holy Thief.
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Anglès (20)  Neerlandès (1)  Castellà (1)  Francès (1)  Alemany (1)  Totes les llengües (24)
Es mostren 1-5 de 24 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I've enjoyed the few Cadfael books I've read, but this one didn't do much for me. I went in expecting a mystery, but the murder and the search for Cadfael's missing son take a backseat to the politics behind the war that was devastating the country at the time. ( )
  amanda4242 | Apr 5, 2020 |
The culmination of Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael chronicles released the year before her death at age 92. When news is brought to Shrewsbury that Olivier de Bretagne, a staunch supporter of Empress Maud, is missing after Philip FitzRobert, son of Robert of Gloucester, turns to King Stephen's side of the war, Cadfael requests permission to go seek freedom for his son even though Olivier doesn't know he is Cadfael's son. The abbot grants him 3 days to do so, but when that isn't enough, Cadfael abandons his religious orders in pursuit of his son's freedom. Nicely executed and a satisfactory conclusion to her 20 novels even though there is plenty of room for continuing the series had Ellis lived. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Jul 9, 2019 |
Brother Cadfael's penance is the last of the Cadfael Chronicles. Olivier de Bretagne has been captured in the long war between the Empress Maud and King Stephen but has not been offered up for ransom as so many others have been. Brother Cadfael goes to a conference of bishops trying to end the war with Hugh Beringar and to seek word of Olivier. He breaks his vows when he does not return to Shrewsbury with Hugh. Of course there is murder and the accused is Olivier's brother-in-law. Cadfael gets involved and is at the siege of La Musarderie when all is unraveled.

There are several maps which help place the action as well as a genealogical table of Maud and Stephen. (And where was this table when it would have helped and was needed in earlier books of the series.)

Since this is the last Brother Cadfael mystery, I was disappointed that all the action takes place outside the Abbey. Does Prior Robert ever become Abbot? What about Brother Mark and his wish to become a priest? Does Brother Oswain stay at St. Giles? Will Brother Jerome stay the thorn in Brother Cadfael's side or will he mellow with the years? These and many other questions will remain forever untied. ( )
  fdholt | Jun 27, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Brother Cadfael's Penance
Series: Brother Cadfael #20
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Medieval Mystery
Pages: 292
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:


King Stephen and Empress Maud, the 2 contending Monarchs for the English throne, have been brought together to see if there is anyway to stop the war or at least cease the hostilities. One of Maud's cohorts recently turned coat and gave over several castles to Stephen so she's not in the best of moods. The talks go as expected (no where) but King Stephen's man, who helped engineer the turncoat's plans is killed.

This leads to a young man, who knows Cadfael from a previous book, being accused and then spirited away to said castle of the turncoat. At the same time, Cadfael's son, who is on Empress Maud's side, was lost in the shuffle of the castles changing hands and while presumed captured, there has been no ransom put forth. Cadfael goes on a quest to find the missing young man and his son and to exonerate the young man and gain the freedom of his son.

Cadfael risks losing his place in the Abbey to rescue his son and at the end of the book is in full contrition in front of his Abbot waiting for his judgement, as he, Cadfael, left without leave to do his own thing.

My Thoughts:

Not really a murder mystery this time around. More of politics and Cadfael trying to rescue some young men. It allowed Peters to write on a slightly grander scale and it was pretty enjoyable.

My only issue is of Cadfael breaking his monastic vows. I don't know his exact vows when he became a Benedictine monk, but I'm sure that severing all ties was part of it. And yes, he finds out about his son AFTER he took the vows, but it felt like he really weaseled his way around them and flat out broke them. As a Protestant, I don't believe in monastic vows nor do I think that the Bible encourages such things, BUT, once you do make a vow, you need to stick with it. If there is any doubt about keeping such vows, don't make them. But don't vacillate and give me the old tear jerk fountain when you want to break those vows.

I think part of why I enjoyed this more was because of the action going on. When Maud finds out that the Turncoat is in the castle he turned over to Stephen, she immediately musters her army and lays siege to it. Cadfael has to deal with going through that and figure out a way to make sure Justice is done and not just revenge. He does an admirable job in that regards and it was so much fun watching him maneuvering everything around. Cadfael's best friend Hugh Beringar is on Stephen's side,but Cadfael's son is on the Empress's side and basically it is a really messy situation. Cadfael walks that line without tripping and helps all those who need it.

With this being the second to last book in the series, I feel like Peters has her second wind and is ending things on a good note. I was very concerned the opposite would happen, so I'm doubly glad to see things turning out as they are.

★★★★☆ ( )
1 vota BookstoogeLT | Sep 28, 2018 |
I was brought to this book via a recommendation in a Facebook group of mystery fans, so I was expecting a murder mystery. This one is the last in the series and the only one that I have read, so let that be a caveat for this review. Other books in the series may be mysteries.

A murder occurred early in the book and an innocent man was accused and kidnapped because of it. However this was not the driving force of the book. Rather the driving forces were 12rh century English/Welsh politics, with emphasis on rapidly changing loyalties and military intelligence activities of the time. In addition I learned something about siege tactics. The book would have been a good companion to Her Majesty's Spymaster, though that covered the 16th century.

The most entertaining sub-text of the book was its treatment of the Welsh peasantry and yeomanry. They were portrayed as having great intelligence, courage and personal loyalty; all while being pawns in the ‘great game’ of English empire building. The scenes demonstrating those traits were my favorites.

Oh yes, the murder. Some important but unpleasant guy was knifed in the chapel. A nice guy was accused, and kidnapped to receive punishment. Brother Cadfael figures out where the innocent is being kept and uses his positional influence as a monk and his knowledge of the politics of the time to get him released. At the end of the book the real murderess, an influential aristocrat, encounters Cadfael in a different chapel and reveals that she did it, without any 'detecting' effort on Cadfael’s part.

As I said up top, I was expecting a murder mystery, so I was disappointed. Going in with different expectations, one might find the exploration of the war and politics of the time to be interesting. ( )
  wolfepack | Jan 26, 2018 |
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The Earl of Leicester's courier came riding over the bridge that spanned the Severn, and into the town of Shrewsbury, somewhat past noon on a day at the beginning of November, with three months' news in his saddle roll.
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In 12th Century Britain, Brother Cadfael searches for his son, Olivier de Bretagne, taken prisoner in a war between the grandchildren of William the Conqueror. In the process he discovers intrigue and murder. By the author of The Holy Thief.

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