By Ellis Peters

Peters has won world wide compliment for her meticulous re-creations of 12th-century monastic existence. right here, her chronicles proceed with a Christmas tale, a story of theft and tried homicide, and a story of Brother Cadfael's early years.

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Extra resources for A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael (Brother Cadfael Mysteries)

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He had the wit to waste no breath then on questions, but stood docile and silent while Cadfael re-barred the door on emptiness, and, taking him by the hand, led him softly along the fence to the unfastened wicket in the great gate. Only when the door was closed as softly behind them did he heave a great, thankful sigh. They were out, it was done, and no one would be likely to learn of the escape until morning, Cadfael led the way to where he had left his horse tethered. The forest lay serene and quiet about them.

Roger was taking no chances in his suit, he said; he meant to be established on the ground in good time, and have all his proofs in order. “But so he has,” said Alard, pricked in his professional pride, “for I’ve gone over everything with him, and the case, if open in default of specific instructions, is plain enough and will stand up. What the abbey can muster, who knows? They say the abbot is not well, which is why his prior comes in his place. ” He had the faraway look in his eye, as the party rode out and faced westward, of one either penned and longing to be where he could but see, or loose and weary and being drawn home.

So here he is, not a convert, for this is not a conversion. In an age of relatively uncomplicated faith, not yet obsessed and tormented by cantankerous schisms, sects and politicians, Cadfael has always been an unquestioning believer. What happens to him on the road to Woodstock is simply the acceptance of a revelation from within that the life he has lived to date, active, mobile and often violent, has reached its natural end, and he is confronted by a new need and a different challenge. In India it is not unknown for a man who has possessed great power and wealth to discard everything when he reaches a certain age recognisable to him when it comes not by dates and times, but by an inward certainty put on the yellow robe of a sannyasi, and go away with nothing but a begging bowl, at once into the world and out of it.

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