Share for friends:

The Confession Of Brother Haluin (2001)

The Confession of Brother Haluin (2001)

Book Info

4.05 of 5 Votes: 4
Your rating
0751511153 (ISBN13: 9780751511154)
warner books (ny)

About book The Confession Of Brother Haluin (2001)

As usual in this series, this book begins with a date (December 1142), and with a summary of faraway events in the ongoing civil war between Empress Maud and King Stephen. "All to do over again" is the essence of it. But there's a hint of a possible solution, with the arrival of the 10-year-old Henry Plantagenet. The accident that makes Brother Haluin fear his death is at hand occurs only after Hugh Beringar leaves. And it's the accident that begins the shocking part, which I must warn those of us with winceous sensitivity to graphic depictions of suffering against. If you don't want to hear how terribly Brother Haluin was injured, I'd recommend skipping forward straight from Hugh's departure to the titular confession. The injuries are gruesome, and no mistake, and even when Brother Haluin takes the turn for life, it's clear he'll be crippled lifelong, and may be able to walk, but only haltingly, and on crutches.The confession proper is no great shakes. Brother Haluin is (apparently accurately) described as one of those people who load themselves with every possible grief and guilt that comes down the pike. What he confesses are relatively minor sins, and not at all surprising to those he confesses to. The impact is greater than normal, perhaps: but the actual events aren't that unusual.In addition, Brother Haluin can only confess to his own sins. When he tries to describe what happened as a consequence, he is reporting things he hasn't experienced himself, but has only received hearsay reports about. When he learns that he will live, and even recover to a certain degree, Brother Haluin insists on taking a penitential journey. He refuses to be dissuaded from this, even knowing the risk that his own healing is very likely to reopen old wounds elsewhere. In the end, he more or less lucks out. It turns out that the situation was not as bad as he was led to believe. In some ways. But in some ways, it's worse. And untangling the mess that's resulted becomes a part of the quest. Haluin could probably not do so by himself, but fortunately his crippled state requires an escort, and Cadfael, as one of the few people initiated into Haluin's secrets, is assigned as that escort.I have to say I have serious doubts about the argument that one outgrows, if not love, at least passion. I have to think that Brother Haluin might have come up with this idea to help him deal with what is not so much a crisis in faith as a crisis in vocation. Throughout the book he keeps stubbornly insisting that though he entered the monastery for the wrong reasons, in the end it's not second best. But he doesn't seem to be arguing against others, but rather with his own doubts.I also find it very disturbing that Haluin, in the end, describes his suffering as not only not harmful but salutatory. I don't WANT suffering to lead to good ends. I want suffering to be MEANINGLESS, so that I can conscientiously try to ELIMINATE suffering. There are two things that we learn in this book that I'd remembered were in the series, but not in which book. One is that in quite a few places there was strong opposition to the Norman Conquest, and that the 'pacification' of those places involved quite a bit of laying places to waste. And the other is that the people of Shropshire tend to preen themselves on their relative peacefulness, and to imply that beyond here lies chaos--but when people go afield, they often find that other areas are fairly peaceful, as well. There are abuses, and battles, and random fire-arrows. But they're noticed because they're obvious, and rare. In the meantime, people are quietly reclaiming areas that were laid waste to, and calmly doing business with their neighbors, and not really noticing that it's the everyday life, not the conflict, that is the norm.As an example, take the charming, wholesome teenage portress of the new convent at Farewell. If she'd ever had any doubts about HER vocation, she doesn't seem to have struggled long or hard with them. She's just plain content with her, more than that. She's HAPPY with her life. Would she have been better off 'in the world'? It's hard to say, but evidently she doesn't think so herself.

1st Recorded Reading: June 19, 2006.I am coming along nicely in my quest to read all the Brother Cadfael mysteries; this book that I finished last night is #15 of the series, and there are #20 novels (plus one book of three short stories) altogether. I found this particular book to be of a slightly different order than usual; the obligatory dead body does not show up until late in the book, and the mystery mainly has to do with events that happened some eighteen years ago. (And for those not wishing to read further, I enjoyed reading the book.In December of 1142, a heavy snowfall at the Abbey causes a leak in the guesthouse roof, and it is determined that the more able-bodied monks need to take turns up on the roof clearing away snow and bad roofing slates and putting in new slates. One Brother Haluin, one of the best illuminators in the scriptorium, insists on taking his turn, and in a bad accident falls from the roof, with the load of heavy sharp-edged slates landing on him after. The monks are certain that he will die of his injuries; so does he himself, when he regains consciousness, and he asks to make confession to Abbot Radulfus, with Brother Cadfael there as well, since the confession concerns him. He tells them that eighteen years ago, when he himself was a steward for Lady de Clary at her manor of Hales, he had fallen in love with her daughter and asked for her hand. Lady de Clary refused his suit, but he and the girl kept seeing each other, and she became pregnant. By the time her pregnancy was discovered, Haluin had already entered the Abbey as a monk in despair; Lady de Clary asked him to get a potion to end the pregnancy, which he stole from Brother Cadfael’s workshop and sent to her. Lady de Clary then sent word to him that the potion had killed her daughter, along with her unborn child.After being absolved, Brother Haluin survives, but with his feet hopelessly mangled. Brother Edmund, the infirmarian, and Brother Cadfael between them manage to put his feet back together well enough so that Brother Haluin can get around on crutches. At the first of March, 1143, Haluin requests of the Abbot permission for him to go on pilgrimage, on foot (and crutches) to the grave of the girl he caused to be killed in Hales; the Abbot decides to send Brother Cadfael along with him, as being the only other person besides the Abbot who knows why Haluin wishes to make this pilgrimage.So the two set off; and they set off a chain of events that cascades into young love thwarted and a body found in the late winter snow. But through the twin agencies of pure luck and being at the right place at the right time, Brother Cadfael manages to find out just what the heck is going on and to right a wrong committed eighteen years before.

Do You like book The Confession Of Brother Haluin (2001)?

The Confession of Brother Haluin reminds me of the only other mediocre Cadfael book I've read, An Excellent Mystery, in that is slow-paced, does not have particularly engaging characters, and is not really much of a mystery at all. It also reminds me of the last Cadfael book, Brother Cadfael's Penance, in that it's not much of a historical mystery but is still pretty solid historical fiction. True, Confession is not as good as Penance, but I advised readers to skip An Excellent Mystery and I will not advise them to skip this, which must count for something.

In the particularly bad winter of 1142, the guest hall at the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul had lost part of its roof, and Brother Haluin sustained grave injuries in a fall from the roof while trying to repair it. In what Haluin thought was a deathbed confession, he told a priest and Brother Cadfael of a long-ago love affair with Bertrade deClary. The girl had become pregnant and died during an attempted abortion. But Haluin recovered, and learned to walk with crutches on his misshapen feet. Cadfael accompanies Haluin as they walk to the town of Hales where Haluin wishes to perform an all-night vigil at Bertrade’s tomb, and to ask the forgiveness of Bertrade’s mother. But there is no tomb in Hales, and Haluin insists on traveling on to Elford, the seat of the Clary family, where they eventually unravel the rest of the story. There is a murder, most of the way through the book, which is really secondary to the plot. I really enjoyed this book and the relationship of Cadfael and Haluin, a man of great courage.

Though I read this back in 2005, I recently re-read it so as to continue my pilgrimage through the Cadfael novels in order. I enjoyed it even more this time around. This time Cadfael leaves Wales behind and heads East toward Hales and Elford in the company of a lame Benedictine Brother Haluin. Together they hobble (literally as well as figuratively) through a decades old mystery only to encounter the book's only murder well toward the end. While the exact identity of that killer is never unmasked, the mystery that engenders it is finally resolved leaving the reader with a satisfying journey through mid 12th century England and warm feeling for the comfort and security the people of that time had for an all-knowing and benevolent God. This is a wonderful addition to the Cadfael Saga and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction with just a leavening of mystery thrown in.

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Ellis Peters

Other books in series chronicles of brother cadfael

Other books in category Fiction