Dead Man's Ransom Read & Download à 105

Ellis Peters ✓ 5 Read

Man 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 hi The Cadfael series has a well established reputation of being high uality historical mysteries They do fall into two camps the narrative dominated by the mystery and the book that progresses the historical events that are effecting England at that time This book in the series is part of the latter Much of the story revolves around the civil war and the way the lords of the land manipulated the unrest to their own advantage We return to the border country to the west of Shrewsbury and to the uneasy and turbulent alliance with the Welsh border lords Owain Gwynedd is an honourable man and doesn’t want to fight a losing battle with his English neighbours An exchange of men for the seriously wounded Sheriff of Shrewsbury is thwarted when he suddenly dies Cadfael realises the death is an unnatural one and investigatesThe plot is a simple one albeit an enjoyable read So much of the peace of the county rests on determining who was the murderer and bringing them to justice as soon as possible so that the air is clear on both sides Chivalry plays a very important part in the storyline – something that is easily forgotten in our contemporary timesThe murder is really the side plot that drives the narrative The real story is the social civil and political unrest during a very messy period often recorded as the Anarchy – or petty civil war between Empress Maud and King Stephen

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Dead Man's Ransom

S 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 Dead Man's Ransom contains many elements familiar to readers of this mystery series Brother Cadfael is needed again for a trip into Wales political intrigue and complex loyalties abound and an unfortunate murder both eases and complicates young love There's a pair of star crossed lovers in fact I was rather impatient with Elis and Melicent who fell in love in an instant after exchanging just a single look I guess I'm too old to be entranced by that kind of romance Which is probably why I had some trouble with the ending too view spoilerhappily ever after for both couples hide spoiler

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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 Welsh Dead Man’s Ransom aka How to Get Away with Murder is not good I have enjoyed brother Cadfael’s stories so far but I am either getting tired of the formula or the books are getting tired I suspect both I usually enjoyed the mystery and the historical components before; this one is light on both I was not a fan of the romance story or the innocent good hearted lads that often sacrifice themselves for others but sometimes go astray; this one is overdoing both What’s the writing is getting terribly loaded with clichés We have angelic shy maidens; innocent youths; tears rolling down on rosy cheeks I am paraphrasing as I only have the audio version but you get the ideaHowever the worst part of this installment is the resolution We find out who the killer isview spoiler and it doesn’t matter because they are likeable?? WTF If you learn about a good old innocent character that they committed murder instead of changing your views about them you change your views about murder? Huh? And it is not like they even had a good forgiveable reason hide spoiler


10 thoughts on “Dead Man's Ransom

  1. says:

    The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 9 This book follows directly upon The Devil’s Novice this ninth episode Peters chooses to delve deeply into the context of conflicts within which the Shrewsbury Shropshire Abbey of St Peter and St Paul finds itself This includes the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud and the border wars between the English and the WelshShropshire stood nearer to the fighting now than it had been for three years being neighbour to an earl of Chester elated by success and greedy for still lands Every one of Hugh’s depleted garrisons stood to arms ready to defend its threatened securityPeters does not linger over the battles but she gives us a sense of the politics and strategy then employed Robert had all the disinherited Maud’s liegemen who had lost lands eastward for her sake drawn up in the first line horsed with nothing to lose and all to gain and vengeance the first of all And our knights had every man his all to lose and nothing to gain and felt themselves far from their homes and lands and aching to get back and strengthen their own fences And there were these hordes of Welsh hungry for plunder and their own goods and gear safe as sanctuary in the west with no man threateningShropshire has stood for Stephen but in a recent battle Stephen is captured and later so is Shropshire’s Sheriff Prestcote Where the sheriff is held and if he is alive what ransom will buy his release are key uestions in the early going Cadfael is just an observer until his uniue gifts are recognized ”You’re Welsh and have your habit for a coat of mail and once across the border you have kin everywhere I reckon you a far better hazard than any battle party With a small escort in case of masterless men and your Welsh tongue and net of kindred to tackle any regular company that crosses you What do you say?” “I should be ashamed as a Welshman” said Cadfael comfortably “if I could not recite my pedigree back sixteen degrees and some of my kin are here across the border of this shire a fair enough start towards Gwynedd”Local politics is in play as well The provost and guildsmen of the town in general were well pleased Prestcote was a man who did not encourage close friendships but Shrewsbury had found him a just and well intentioned officer of the crown if heavy handed at times and was well aware that it might have fared very much worse Not everyone however felt the same simple pleasure Even just men make enemies Without spoiling the plot there is a scene where two young people “meet portentously” “Sir” she said having marked the broken rhythm of his walk “I fear you are hurt” She saw the uiver that passed through him from head to foot as he breathed again “No” he said hesitant as a man in a dream “no never till now Now I am wounded to death” “I think” she said shaken and timorous “you do not yet know me” “I do know you” he said “You are Melicent It is your father I must buy back for you—at a price” At a price at a disastrous price at the price of tearing asunder this marriage of eyes that drew them closer until they touched hands and were lostAnother well done effort with the plot and mystery perhaps secondary to the historical context Peters again has given us such informed descriptions of people places and conventional life that I find this aspect gains my full attention Some examples follow Cadfael sat back to study and enjoy the gathering in Tudur’s hall over supper the warmth of the central fire the torches the wine and the harping A man of Tudur’s status was privileged to possess a harp and maintain his own harper in addition to his duty to be a generous patron to travelling minstrels And with the prince here to praise and be praised they had a rivalry of singers that lasted throughout the meal There was still a deal of coming and going in the courtyard late comers riding in officers from the camps patrolling their bounds and changing pickets He was no novelty in the district about Shrewsbury offspring of a brief union between a Welsh wool trader and an English maid servantLike a pair of hound puppies nursed in the lap Hugh’s heir gave off glowing warmth and the baked bread scent of young and untainted flesh“Ah that You are thinking that I never yet repented of anything I did—and I confess I don’t recall such a thing myself No but it was such a comfort and satisfaction to the women They took me to their hearts so joyfully the sweet things a fallen sister retrieved I couldn’t forbear giving them what they wanted and thought fitting I am their special pride they boast of me”He was too young too open too simple to understand that than half the hatred and revulsion she felt for him belonged rather to herself and her dread that she had gone far towards desiring the death she now so desperately repented


  2. says:

    Dead Man’s Ransom aka How to Get Away with Murder is not good I have enjoyed brother Cadfael’s stories so far but I am either getting tired of the formula or the books are getting tired I suspect both I usually enjoyed the mystery and the historical components before; this one is light on both I was not a fan of the romance story or the innocent good hearted lads that often sacrifice themselves for others but sometimes go astray; this one is overdoing both What’s the writing is getting terribly loaded with clichés We have angelic shy maidens; innocent youths; tears rolling down on rosy cheeks I am paraphrasing as I only have the audio version but you get the ideaHowever the worst part of this installment is the resolution We find out who the killer isview spoiler and it doesn’t matter because they are likeable?? WTF If you learn about a good old innocent character that they committed murder instead of changing your views about them you change your views about murder? Huh? And it is not like they even had a good forgiveable reason hide spoiler


  3. says:

    This is the best combo of love and murder that I've read in an Ellis Peters book Good stuff all around


  4. says:

    3 ½ starsHistory raids and battles play the largest part of any Cadfael mystery in the series up to this pointIn a series pretty well known forview spoiler happy endings and romances blossoming this book was a surprise in that the murderer not only gets away but he also gets the girl Eliud kills the sheriff so that his cousin the hero of the story Elis can marry the sheriff’s daughter Melicent That leaves the way open for Eliud to marry Elis’ betrothed Cristina In the end the murderer Eliud is snuck back to Wales to marry Hugh and Cadfael aren’t to bothered by the outcome so I guess I’m not either hide spoiler


  5. says:

    The Cadfael series has a well established reputation of being high uality historical mysteries They do fall into two camps the narrative dominated by the mystery and the book that progresses the historical events that are effecting England at that time This book in the series is part of the latter Much of the story revolves around the civil war and the way the lords of the land manipulated the unrest to their own advantage We return to the border country to the west of Shrewsbury and to the uneasy and turbulent alliance with the Welsh border lords Owain Gwynedd is an honourable man and doesn’t want to fight a losing battle with his English neighbours An exchange of men for the seriously wounded Sheriff of Shrewsbury is thwarted when he suddenly dies Cadfael realises the death is an unnatural one and investigatesThe plot is a simple one albeit an enjoyable read So much of the peace of the county rests on determining who was the murderer and bringing them to justice as soon as possible so that the air is clear on both sides Chivalry plays a very important part in the storyline – something that is easily forgotten in our contemporary timesThe murder is really the side plot that drives the narrative The real story is the social civil and political unrest during a very messy period often recorded as the Anarchy – or petty civil war between Empress Maud and King Stephen


  6. says:

    If you ever commit a felony in medieval England try to be young and dumb and in love and certain clergy members will move heaven and earth to smuggle you off to your happily ever afterI mean good grief what is Hugh Beringar going to say when King Stephen asks what happened to the murderer of his sheriff? He feels really bad about the whole sheriff murder thing and also he is in love and wants to get married and he's all the way in Wales now so eh guess there's no death penaltyI have been enjoying how characters in this series can fuck up and still muddle on with their lives without being ruined but come on smothering a wounded guy in his bed is a line too far Peters That's not something you dismiss with a slap on the wrist no matter how sorry the guy is about the murder A bit of light corpse desecration some skullduggery and theft a certain amount of treason sure but come on now CadfaelMeanwhile Gilbert Prestcote husband and father and dutiful sheriff gets shoveled into his grave with barely a few tears and everyone is idly musing about how they didn't REALLY love him and everyone's lives will continue perhaps for the better without him Jeeze I feel like I liked that character than his family and coworkers apparently didOn the bright side this book had a lot of vivid descriptions and striking lines and the return of Avice of Thornbury now Sister Magdalen of Godric's Ford Also a lot of discussion of the supple creaminess of one guy's ass which is hilarious


  7. says:

    Dead Man's Ransom contains many elements familiar to readers of this mystery series Brother Cadfael is needed again for a trip into Wales political intrigue and complex loyalties abound and an unfortunate murder both eases and complicates young love There's a pair of star crossed lovers in fact I was rather impatient with Elis and Melicent who fell in love in an instant after exchanging just a single look I guess I'm too old to be entranced by that kind of romance Which is probably why I had some trouble with the ending too view spoilerhappily ever after for both couples hide spoiler


  8. says:

    Cadfael adds 'diplomat' to his resume in this one as he is chosen to negotiate a prisoner swap with the Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd The action opens in February 1141 in the aftermath of the fighting at Lincoln The Shrewsbury men bring home dire news King Stephen taken prisoner by the Empress's men; Gilbert Prestcote their sheriff taken by Welsh marauders who had joined in the fight for the possibility of plunderThe Welsh band still looking for adventure and loot continue raiding this time closer to Shrewsbury They attack the convent of Benedictine nuns at Godric's Ford and come away empty handed as well as losing one of their own a well placed young man Elis ap Cynan now held prisoner by undersheriff Hugh BeringarSo off goes Cadfael with his abbot's blessing on this mission for Hugh arrange a swap of Elis for Gilbert Prestcote Cadfael's mission is a success All is looking upbeat Well that doesn't last very longElis manages to meet and fall head over heels for Prestcote's daughter Melicent who is likewise smitten No good outcome here for once Gilbert arrives home Elis must return to Wales There are other complications of course both in Shrewsbury and WalesGilbert had fallen ill during his captivity and was still very weak and ailing When he came home his Welsh escort took him straight to the abbey's infirmary All agreed that he would recover with time and rest Alas he was not given the chance someone murdered him as he sleptThe author presents the reader with a goodly roster of possible villains in the abbey and among the Welsh Cadfael now has to turn sleuth to ferret out the culprit Surely not young Elis who is the prime suspect But if not him then who else could have motive and means?All sorts of twists as the rest of the story unfolds The revelation of whodunnit is heartbreaking; the resolution just and merciful as well as very cleverI so enjoy entering this world I'm already looking forward reading the next


  9. says:

    This was a Cadfael volume I remembered well particularly the romance in it the Welsh boy Elis and the English girl Melicent instantly struck love at first sight Normally I don't like love stories where the characters find each other too uickly and all they have to overcome in order to achieve their happily ever after are tiresome outside impediments There is enough going on in this story so that's not really an issue like Elis becoming a serious suspect in the murder of Melicent's father True it did drag a little but still a great read So fascinating to learn about history like this as through a back door how normal people lived Leaves me wanting as usual


  10. says:

    This book doesn't come up in a title search even if you combine a keyword from the title and the author's name I had to search for it by ISBN # 2015 this seems to have been correctedUp until the middle of this book in the series the Sheriff of Shropshire is Gilbert Prestcote He's not particularly adeuate He's dour he's prejudiced and he sometimes takes advantage of built in cruelties in the law to 'solve' problems that could have been solved a lot less ruthlessly Would a man who accidentally killed another in a drunken and fair fight be convicted of murder in our society? It's less than likely And he wouldn't have been convicted in Wales either at the time He'd have been fined severely; he or his family would have to pay 'galanas' But he wouldn't have been killed himselfBut it's not just the enemies Prestcote has acuired along the way some of them reaching back for generations that have made him an unsatisfactory Sheriff Often in earlier books people feel pressured to solve cases in haste before Prestcote gets back from wherever he's off to this time because experience shows Prestcote will just take whoever's nearest and not worry about niggling detailsThe position of Sheriff is not an elected one at this time If it were most people would have voted for the Deputy Sheriff Hugh Beringar of Maesbury who's a lot careful to find the right suspect But even he often has to turn a blind eye to achieve the spirit rather than the letter of the lawIn this book things change In the previous book The Devil's Novice a battle against the Earl of Lincoln becomes imperative if England is going to stay unified The abbey doesn't want any battles at all and they meet to pray for better counsel But there's not much hope of it So by early February 1141 the war party are off to attack Lincoln and his ally and brother ChesterAnd the battle is a disaster Not just for King Stephen's side The Northerners also suffer the citizens of Lincoln for example are abused for backing Stephen against the Earl And the capture of King Stephen is a major blow for his own side but it doesn't necessarily improve Empress Maud's position either People are still reluctant to support her at least partly because she's so intolerant of halfhearted supportIn Shropshire however the locals are concerned about the injury and capture of Gilbert Prestcote Since he was in the part of the battlefield that was overrun by the Welsh of Powys under Cadwaladr brother but no very obedient brother to Owain Gwynedd there's hope he may be ransomed But in trade for whom?Enter Avice of Thornberry the longtime mistress of a nobleman from The Leper of St Giles to the rescue once again Now renamed Sister Magdalen why should she deprive her innocent sisters of the notion they're rescuing her from infamy? she explains how she and the foresters repulsed an attack by a band of Welshmen from Powys And have they got a prisoner worthy of exchange? You bet they have Elis ap Cynan makes his entrance tied up on horseback favoring one cheek in the saddle and cursing his captors in Welsh in such an even voice that those who don't speak Welsh don't take offenseA royal relative is surely adeuate ransom for a Sheriff so negotiations begin The process is complicated by many things one of which is NOT the reluctance of Owain Gwynedd to improve relations with Shropshire Owain Gwynedd is heartily praised in this whole series as an intelligent wise and foresighted manBut there are other problems involving fosterage and its relationships child betrothal and the fact that Elis is a sucker for a tall pale girl with spun sugar hairwho happens to be Gilbert Prestcote's daughter Elis the eternal optimist thinks these problems can be easily solved Melicent isn't so sure All in all there are a lot of wrung hearts when the badly injured Lord Prestcote is escorted home by courteous Welshmen And the matter is not eased when Prestcote dies and it's proven to be murder And all along there are the Welsh of Powys still out for loot and still smarting for their defeat at Godric's FordThe rescue of the cattleman Anion who aspires to his proper status as his father's son in Wales is another complication I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that it's happily resolved since he wasn't much of a suspect to begin with Even other suspects point out that one of the reasons he fled into Wales was that being without powerful supporters in Shropshire he couldn't get a fair hearing there and fled for fear he should prove the convenient nearest


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