In the autumn of 1140 the Benedictine monastery at Shrewsbury finds its new novice Meriet Aspley a bit disturbing. The younger son of a prominent family, Meriet is meek and biddable by day, but his sleep is rife with nightmares so violent that they earn him the name of "Devil's Novice". Shunned by the other monks, Aspley attracts the concern of Brother Cadfael. Then a body appears, that of a young priest last seen at the Aspley estate. Can Meriet be involved in the death? As events take a sinister turn, it falls to Brother Cadfael to detect the truth.
In the gentle Shrewsbury spring of 1140, the midnight matins at the Benedictine abbey suddenly reverberate with an unholy sound - a hunt in full cry. Persued by a drunken mob, the quarry is running for its life. When the frantic creature bursts into the nave to claim sanctuary, Brother Cadfael finds himself fighting off armed townsmen to save a terrified young man. Accused of robbery and murder is Liliwin, a wandering minstrel who performed at the wedding of a local goldsmith's son. The cold light of morning, however, will show his supposed victim, the miserly craftsman, still lives, although a strongbox lies empty. Brother Cadfael believes Liliwin is innocent, but finding the truth and the treasure before Liliwin's respite in sanctuary runs out may uncover a deadlier sin than thievery - a desperate love that nothing, not even the threat of hanging, can stop.
In the winter of 1139, raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester, among them an orphaned boy and his beautiful 18-year-old sister. Traveling with a young nun, they set out for Shrewsbury, but disappear somewhere in the wild countryside. Now, Brother Cadfael embarks on a dangerous quest to find them.
This illustrated book includes the classics “A Light on the Road to Woodstock”, “The Price of Light”, and “Eye Witness”. These stories chronicle the events that led Brother Cadfael into the monastic life and feature Peters’ complex plots, mastery of language, and deep understanding of human nature.
December, 1142. A brother of Shrewsbury Abbey suffers a fall that almost kills him. He makes a shocking deathbed confession to Brother Cadfael. When the man recovers Cadfael accompanies him on an arduous journey to redeem his past sins.
In the summer of 1144, a strange calm has settled over England. The armies of King Stephen and the Empress Maud, the two royal cousins contending for the throne, have temporarily exhausted each other. On the whole, Brother Cadfael considers peace a blessing. Still, a little excitement never comes amiss to a former soldier, and Cadfael is delighted to accompany a friend on a mission of diplomacy to his native Wales.
But shortly after their arrival, the two monks are caught up in another royal feud. The Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd has banished his brother Cadwaladr, accusing him of the treacherous murder of an ally. The reckless Cadwaladr has retaliated by landing an army of Danish mercenaries, poised to invade Wales. As the two armies teeter on the brink of bloody civil war, Cadfael is captured by the Danes and must navigate the brotherly quarrel that threatens to plunge an entire kingdom into chaos.
In honor of her husband, young, beautiful, and wealthy widow Judith Perle donates a house to the Abbey at Shrewsbury - for the annual rent of one white rose. Judith has no shortage of suitors, and if she remarries, her dowry would be all the greater if the house were returned due to non-payment of rent. So when a priest charged with delivering the rose is found murdered, and the rose bush is found hacked to pieces, Brother Cadfael finds he must root out a killer.
In a mild December in the year of our Lord 1141, a new priest comes to the parishioners of the Foregate outside the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Father Ailnoth brings with him a housekeeper and her nephew—and a disposition that invites murder. Brother Cadfael quickly sees that Father Ailnoth is a harsh man who, striding along in his black cassock, looks like a doomsaying raven. The housekeeper’s nephew, Benet, is quite different—a smiling lad, a hard worker in Cadfael’s herb garden, but, as Brother Cadfael soon discovers, an impostor. And when Ailnoth is found drowned, suspicion falls on Benet, though many in the Foregate had cause to want this priest dead. Now Brother Cadfael is gathering clues along with his medicinals to treat a case of unholy passions, tragic politics, and perhaps divine intervention.
In October of 1142, a local landlord gives the Potter's Field to the local clergy. The monks begin to plow it, and the blades turn up the long tresses of a young woman, dead over a year. Then the arrival of a novice who fled from an abbey ravaged by civil war in East Anglia complicates life even further for Brother Cadfael.
The fourth anniversary of the transfer of Saint Winifred's bones to the Abbey at Shrewsbury is a time of celebration for the 12th-century pilgrims gathering from far and wide. In distant Winchester, however, a knight has been murdered. Could it be because he was a supporter of the Empress Maud, one of numerous pretenders to the throne? It's up to herbalist, sleuth, and Benedictine monk Brother Cadfael to track down the killer in the pious throng.
A savage murder interrupts an ill-fated marriage set to take place at Brother Cadfael's abbey, leaving the monk with a terrible mystery to solve. The key to the killing is hidden among the inhabitants of the Saint Giles leper colony, and Brother Cadfael must ferret out a sickness not of the body, but of a twisted mind.
The year is 1142, and all England is in the iron grip of a civil war. And within the sheltered cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the political upheavals of the outside world. First, there is the sad demise of Richard Ludel, Lord of Eaton, whose ten-year-old son and heir, also named Richard, is a pupil at the Abbey. Supported by Abbot Radulfus, the boy refuses to surrender his new powers to Dionysia, his furious, formidable grandmother. A stranger to the region is the hermit Cuthred, who enjoys the protection of Lady Dionysia, and whose young companion, Hyacinth, befriends Richard. Despite his reputation for holiness, Cuthred’s arrival heralds a series of mishaps for the monks. When Richard disappears and a corpse is found in Eyton forest, Brother Cadfael is once more forced to leave the tranquillity of his herb garden and devote his knowledge of human nature to tracking down a ruthless murderer.
In the summer of 1143, William of Lythwood arrives at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, but it is not a joyous occasion—he’s come back from his pilgrimage in a coffin. William’s body is accompanied by his young attendant Elave, whose mission is to secure a burial place for his master on the abbey grounds, despite William’s having once been reprimanded for heretical views.
An already difficult task is complicated when Elave drunkenly expresses his own heretical opinions, and capital charges are filed. When a violent death follows, Sheriff Hugh Beringar taps his friend Brother Cadfael for help. The mystery that unfolds grows deeper thanks to a mysterious and marvelous treasure chest in Elave’s care.
An ingenious killer disposes of a strangled corpse on a battlefield. Brother Cadfael discovers the body, and must then piece together disparate clues - including a girl in boy's clothing, a missing treasure and a single flower - to expose a murderer's black heart.
Gervase Bonel, with his wife and servants, is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he is suddenly taken ill. Luckily, the Abbey boasts the services of Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted by two very different surprises. In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognises Richildis, whom he loved before he took his vows. And Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by a dose of deadly monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's herbarium. The Sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis' son Edwin, but Cadfael is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder...
The year is 1141 and civil war continues to rage. When the sheriff of Shropshire is taken prisoner, arrangements are made to exchange him for Elis, a young Welshman. But when the sheriff is brought to the abbey, he is murdered. Suspicion falls on Elis, who has fallen in love with the sheriff's daughter. With nothing but his Welsh honor to protect him, Elis appeals to Brother Cadfael for help. And Brother Cadfael gives it, not knowing that the truth will be a trial for his own soul.
For Brother Cadfael in the autumn of his life, the mild November of our Lord’s year 1145 may bring a bitter — and deadly — harvest. England is torn between supporters of the Empress Maud and those of her cousin Stephen. The civil strife is about to jeopardize not only Cadfael’s life, but his hopes of Heaven.
While Cadfael has sometimes bent the abbey’s rules, he has never broken his monastic vows—until now. Word has come to Shrewsbury of a treacherous act that has left thirty of Maud’s knights imprisoned. All have been ransomed except Cadfael’s secret son, Olivier de Bretagne. Conceived in Cadfael’s soldiering youth and unaware of his father’s identity, Olivier will die if he is not freed. Like never before, Cadfael must boldly defy the abbot. The good brother forsakes the order to follow his heart—but what he finds will challenge his soul.
In 1141, two monks have arrived in Shrewsbury from Winchester, where their abbey was destroyed. Now Brother Humilis, who is very ill, and Brother Fidelis, who is mute, must seek refuge at Shrewsbury. And from the moment he meets them, Brother Cadfael senses something deeper than their common vows binds these two brothers. And as Brother Humilis's health fails, Brother Cadfael faces a poignant test of his discretion and his beliefs as he unravels a secret so great it can destroy a life, a future, and a holy order.
In the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin lies the grave of Saint Winifred. Now, in 1137, the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the sacred remains for his Benedictine order. Native Welshman Brother Cadfael is sent on the expedition to translate and finds the rustic villagers of Gwytherin passionately divided by the Benedictine's offer for the saint's relics. Canny, wise, and all too wordly, he isn't surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder.
The leading opponent to moving the grave has been shot dead with a mysterious arrow, and some say Winifred herself held the bow. Brother Cadfael knows a carnal hand did the killing. But he doesn't know that his plan to unearth a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice... where the wages of sin may be scandal or Cadfael's own ruin.