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The Leper Of Saint Giles (1995)

The Leper of Saint Giles (1995)

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4.11 of 5 Votes: 1
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0446404373 (ISBN13: 9780446404372)
mysterious press

About book The Leper Of Saint Giles (1995)

W*O*N*D*E*R*F*U*L S*T*O*R*Y !!!!!!First I read A Morbid Taste for Bones, and yeah I liked it. Then I listened to the dramatization version on BBC Radio of The Virgin in the Ice. Njah, I really wasn't turned on. BUT, dear Gundula, told me to try another, so I did! I tried St. Peter's Fair. Now that was really, really good! I read a book by another author and just had to return to Ellis Peters. And then I read this: The Leper of Saint Giles. Superb, wonderful, fantastic. All the things I liked about "St. Peter's Fair" I also liked about this book too. So to get a full picture please read my review of that here: I want to add here is that the author's words used to describe the English medieval world are beautiful and perfect. I didn't stress this adequately in my review of the previous book.Taste these lines about the countryside filled with - "richly wooded countryside" and "lush meadows" and "heads of trees" nodding before her or here "He had eyes like pebbles under a sun-lit brook, as hard and dear and as fluid and elusive in their glance..." (from chapters four and five)"Plentiful timber of all kinds too for the wheelwright's stock. Elm essential for the stock. Oak to provide the cleft heartwood for the spokes with the grain unbroken and springy, subtle ash to make the curved fallows of the rim wood." (Chapter 8)And when the action gets into full swing, there is ..."the blade flashing in the torchlight!" (Chapter 10)I like how every element of the story is neatly tied up. I like how the events build to a crescendo, and then when you think you have reached the climax there is even more to the story! The murders pile up! I like how the women have strength, and when they get mad they really speak their mind. Agnes proclaims: "But you have not reckoned with me!" No characters added to the story are superfluous; each one has a specific role to play. But what I loved best was the story, the mystery itself. I loved how it was solved. I loved every bit of it, how it all held together, and how I kept guessing to the very end. With the final words, I understood every single event! All the parts held together perfectly. This is a piece of perfect storytelling, from start to finish. And oh yes, you also learn about how leprosy was viewed back then in the medieval ages. This one gets five stars from me. The narration by Johanna Ward was spot-on! Just perfect! No distracting background noise this time!I am off to read another by this great author! Immediately. The next will be: The Sanctuary Sparrow!

This next offering of Brother Cadfael turns a light on the life of medieval noblewomen as an innocent young girl is apparently to be forced into a repugnant marriage to satisfy the greed of her unscrupulous guardians. Yet she and the young man who truly loves her find the best ally in the world in Brother Cadfael--as does the mysterious stranger who is also concerning himself with her well-being.Brother Cadfael (pronounced Cad-file) has definitely entered the ranks of great fiction detectives alongside Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey. But these stories are more than just murder mysteries in medieval drag. Ellis Peters actually lived in Shrewsbury, England, where Cadfael's monastery of St. Peter and Paul can still be visited. Her knowledge of the land and people and history permeates her work and gives her the incredible gift of transporting her reader into the past. You really do feel as though you are in that long-lost world lit only by fire, where it's quiet and green and life moves at a pace most people can be happy in.Cadfael is a suitably complex man. He's from Wales, but now living in England (though Wales is not very far away). He was once a soldier, but now he's a monk. He's lived a full life, now he wants to be quiet. But he also has a strong sense of right and justice and refuses to compromise on these things, even when it means getting himself in trouble. He's also picked up a lot of knowledge, especially of herbology and medicine and (somehow for the time) logical analysis that stands him in good stead as a solver of mysteries.Another charming step along the journey of Cadfael!

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1st Recorded Reading: September 2002Reading another Brother Cadfael mystery is always a pleasure, and re-reading them one after so long (I read this one in September of 2002) is a joy, with my memory just good enough to remember who is who, but not good enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book. (Need I add that I liked this book?)In the year of our Lord 1139, in October, is when this present mystery begins. Brother Cadfael is on one of the periodic missions to the leper colony half a mile from the town of Shrewsbury, and restocking their store of medicines while he hears of the noble wedding that is to take place at the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Along the road towards the Abbey comes the bridegroom and his retinue; Huon de Domville is a harsh man of late middle age, who lashes out with his whip at a leper too slow to get out of his way. Some time later, the bride and her retinue pass by; Iveta de Massard is young, beautiful, and hemmed in by her legal guardians, Godfrid Picard and his wife Agnes. It is obvious that the marriage has been contracted by Picard for reasons having nothing to do with the bride’s wishes. Cadfael is further dismayed to find that Iveta is the granddaughter of Guimar de Massard, a crusader knight whom Cadfael had known some fifty years back who never returned from the Crusades, and that Iveta is in the hands of guardians who are none too scrupulous.It soon develops that Iveta does have her own wishes; she loves one Joscelin Lucy, who is one of the three squires to Huon de Domville (the others are Guy Fitzjohn, and Simon Aguilon, who is de Domville’s nephew and heir presumptive). Lucy is discovered hovering too closely to Iveta’s flame, and is turned out of his service by de Domville; he returns to the Abbey (where Iveta’s party is staying) to utter threats against de Domville and Picard, and to challenge de Domville to a duel. The wind is taken out of Lucy’s sails when he is accused of theft, and the item in question is found to be in his saddlebags; he evades arrest, though, and flees into the forest. The next day is the wedding; but while Iveta waits listlessly for her groom, de Domville never arrives from his ride the night before into that same forest.This is a neat little mystery, with all loose ends more or less suitably tied up at the end; and I very much enjoyed the reading of this book. On to the next in the series!

Ellis Peter shows an attention to historical detail which is unsurpassed and yet she slso succeeds in never resorting to the usual attempts at mock-historical-speech which make so many historical novels difficult to bear. In coversation her characters use the vernacular, which improves the reading experience because we read their thoughts and words with ease and understanding as they would have been heard at the time. This enables an understanding of the beliefs which drove them which might elude the reader otherwise. The world Ellis Peters evokes is one which we can both recognise and wonder at. The tensions of the civil war in a town which, being a frontier town between Norman England and Wales, was already existing in a state of siege and ethnic conflict are also superbly conveyed. The conflict between Empress Maud and King Stephen, may be reminiscent to some of Game Of Thrones but it is startling to realise that this conflict was indeed historical fact. The period is a bottomless pit of possibilities for such a skilled writer as Ellis Peters.I adore all her Cadfael series, and return to them often, but this is a special favourite because of the poignancy of the title character's situation. We are brought face to face with a tragedy of the age which surely wrecked many a life from sheer ignorance of the facts. The acknowledgement of the real identity of the leper of the title enables further exploration of Brother Cadfael's own life prior to taking vows. I certainly do love these hints at his past which was rather more dashing than his employment as abbey herbalist. If there is anyone who is not familiar with Cadfael or indeed if they only know of him through the excellent TV series, then I would urge them to read Ellis Peter's books which will enhance their experience greatly.

If there's any such thing as a feel-good murder mystery, the Leper of Saint Giles is that book. Or at least, it is for this medieval history student. Ellis Peters always has been and will be a guilty pleasure of mine, and her prose does tend to wax purple, but her characters are always heartwarming, even if you do get tired of hearing about how unconsciously saintlike Brother Mark is after about the fifth or so time. The Leper of Saint Giles, for those of you who have only seen the 90s television adaptation, is much better in print than on the screen, and both Joscelin Lucy and the aforementioned lepers of Saint Giles enjoy considerably more character development. A very well-researched, if not somewhat light piece of historical fiction, perfect for the mystery lover or the medieval history buff.

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