The Virgin In The Ice

A chronicle of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters.

A review of the 6th book in the chronicles of Brother Cadfael.

Although this is the 6th book in the series, it is a complete story. It does not rely on having read earlier adventures of Brother Cadfael.

The year is 1139 and in November, in the midst of an already vicious winter Laurence d’Angers is newly returned from the crusades, to an England in the grip of civil war. Two orphaned children of noble birth are to be d’Angers wards after the death of his sister, their mother but the children have gone missing.

Yves and Ermina Hugonin left the benedictine monastery and convent respectively in Worcester to travel to Shrewsbury, but they never arrived. Their uncle, d’Angers an honourable man, is unable to seek them himself because of the English civil war. His attempts to obtain permission to enter the king’s territory to search for his wards are fruitless, so he has to rely on others to look for the children.

d’Angers sends an agent into the king’s lands to look for the children and return them safely. Brother Cadfael and his friend the Deputy Sheriff Hugh Beringar join the search, unknowing of d’Angers’ agent.

To tell more would give away too much of the plot. Suffice it to say that Cadfael has to contend with outlaws and distractions as he and Hugh Berengar search for the children. Are they found alive? You’ll have to read it to find out. There is an unexpected revelation for Cadfael in the final chapter, concerning d’Angers’ agent, which gives an interesting, surprising twist.

Although the sixth Cadfael tale, it was the first I’ve read. I enjoyed it and will probably read more of Ellis Peters Cadfael stories.

“In every decision there must be some regrets.”


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