Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ellis Peters: The Virgin In The Ice

Oooh, the library had a Brother Cadfael novel I hadn't read! Joy and celebrations! The Brother Cadfael mysteries are some of my absolute favourite books. I can see why some people don't take to them, but I enjoy the core of goodness in them. Parts of the series was televised, I believe, but they never showed it in Sweden.

This one features the usual trappings - there is always a young man and a young woman who are very handsome and good and deserve each other, always a sick person who needs Cadfael's care... The oddity here is that Cadfael's son makes his appearance - that's why I've wanted to read this one for so long, since the son turns up in later books, that I have read.

Just before the sack of Worcester, a young boy and his elder sister, both noble, left the town to make for Shrewsbury. A young nun followed them. In the winter storms a band of bandits burn, murder and pillage, and the small group of refugees is separated. One of them turns up dead.

A lovely book, as they all are. It hints at darker things, but focuses on life. I've always liked how Peters weaves in some moral teachings, without preaching them. Her style of writing doesn't work so well in her more contemporary novels, in my opinion; the slightly naivistic tone works a bit better in the escapist setting of mediaeval England.

"But surely our little faults do not deserve so crushing a penalty. Without time to reconsider, to repent, to make a reparation. Youth destroyed for a folly, when youth should be allowed its follies on the way to maturity and sense."

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