Read Dead Man's Ransom: The Ninth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters Online


Civil war continues to rage and in the battle of Lincoln the sheriff of Shropshire is captured and the king is taken prisoner by the enemies. Before an exchange of prisoners takes place, in which the sheriff is to be recovered, one of the captives is murdered - Cadfael investigates....

Title : Dead Man's Ransom: The Ninth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780751511093
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 271 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dead Man's Ransom: The Ninth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael Reviews

  • Dillwynia Peter
    2019-04-14 01:18

    The Cadfael series has a well established reputation of being high quality 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 investigates.The 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 times.The 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.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-16 22:12

    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 corrected]Up until the middle of this book in the series, the Sheriff of Shropshire is Gilbert Prestcote. He's not particularly adequate. 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 himself.But it's not just the enemies Prestcote has acquired 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 details.The 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 more 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 law.In 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, Chester).And 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 support.In Shropshire, however, the locals are more 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 offense.A royal relative is surely adequate 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 man.But 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 hair...who 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 Ford...The 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.

  • Lance
    2019-04-13 01:08

    "On that day, they had offered prayers not for the victory of one party or the defeat of the other, but for better counsel, for reconciliation, for the sparing of blood-letting and the respect of life between men of the same country."In Dead Man's Ransom, the intrigue of the civil war crashes to new heights. The Earl of Chester, self-styled king of the north of England, has defeated king Stephen at Lincoln and taken the monarch captive. Gloating from his success, both Shropshire and Gwynedd in Northern Wales are in danger from his reaching hand. "Men drunk with power and ambition do not ground their weapons." Death has come in earnest to the gates of Shrewsbury.Although the shire's sheriff has been captured by Welsh mercenaries, the nuns of a Benedictine Abbey have captured a suitable exchange. That's right, warrior nuns under the stewardship of bad-ass baron's-mistress-turned-abbess Avice of Thornbury. "Though, faith, I would rather give her a generalship than offer her any protection of mine." She's pretty cool. Avice is quick to hand over the hostage to Hugh Beringer in the hopes of a civil exchange and even a military alliance with Prince Owain of Wales. Cadfael is a little underwhelmed with the young impudent dandy the nuns have captured and set such a high price on ... "'you are the most ungrateful brat who ever disgraced Wales.'" Think Welsh Joffrey aged 21. That's right.Welsh Joffrey, I mean Elis ap Cynan, draws half the young noblefolk of the shire in his wake. The sheriff's daughter is in love with him, and he is firmly lodged in love-triangle with his future bride Cristina and his foster-brother with whom he is closer than twins. "He had a troubled vision of those three young creatures bound together in inescapable strife." So when the exchange goes ahead and Sheriff Prestcote is found murdered in his sickbed, a thick mesh of suspects come to the fore. In addition to Elis' conspirator-lovers, there is an old Norman monk with dementia, and a cattle-man lay brother barely visible except when a suspect is needed. "'men without privilege are apt to suppose they'll be blamed for whatever's done amiss.'"Complicated stuff, right? I'm afraid that although the prose was Peters' best yet, I had to deduct a star for the murderer being all too guessable. That and I was hoping that the sheriff daughter might take Avice's advice and learn to see her bold suitor more objectively. But still, incredibly excited to see how Shrewsbury's civil war resolves!"'Child, not until the day of your death will you have done with men.'""'I object to being made the target of self-inflicted suffering.'"

  • Stephen
    2019-04-23 01:55

    Another entertaining installment in the Cadfael canon. This is the first one chronologically that was never made into a TV episode. Perhaps because it has Cadfael in Wales for a good part of it and the ensemble cast that they assembled for the TV series would have had precious little to do. The episode is a good one though. There are actually two sets of star-crossed lovers and a Welsh border incursion along with the re-appearance of Avice of Thornbury from Leper of Saint Giles now as a Benedictine sister. Cadfeal and Berringer do their typical best to see that everything ends on on an up-note though this time neither of them is involved in the conniving that results in a happier than expected ending...

  • Jillian
    2019-04-09 01:11

    I found this one of the series very convincing and engaging. The interest lay in the motivations of the characters - their loyalties, responses and obligations. Peters manages to draw the reader into another time and place, to connect us to the context. The story unfolds with ease. It mattered not that I could guess how the mystery might unfold. I was part of the world and wanted to know how each character would fare, where the logic of their world would take them within the framework of historical fact.

  • Elis Madison
    2019-04-15 04:02

    When Sheriff Prescote is taken captive in battle, his deputy, Hugh Beringar, seeks to exchange a young Welsh prisoner for him. The deal is made, and the injured sheriff is brought home, only to fall prey to murder. The resolution is complicated by a love quadrangle and a bromance. I didn't love this as much as the earlier books in the series, but it's still a pretty good read. I'd have given it 4.5 stars, but I knew who the murderer was as soon as the murderer knew it.

  • Angie
    2019-03-31 20:21

    Yet another great tale of love, murder, and a troubled country in the grips of civil war -- Cadfael is as understanding and clear-sighted as always, a paragon of what it should mean to be a "good Christian". The side characters are vivid and their plights powerful; I'll never tire of Peters' flawless skill of evoking a time long past with stunning clarity and modern presence. History, mystery, and romance in a perfect blend -- what more could a girl want?

  • Ron
    2019-04-16 02:54

    Cadfael series: excellent historical fiction. Ellis Peters draws the reader into the twelfth century with modern story telling but holds us there with a richness of detail which evokes a time and place which might as well be fictional. Though the foreground of each chronicle is a murder mystery, behind it a nation and a culture are woven in a wondrous tapestry.Dead Man's Ransom: Honor and duty clash with unrequited love and racial animosity.

  • Denise
    2019-04-18 20:08

    The civil war has flared up again and once again comes close to home for the population of Shrewsbury. When an exchange of prisoners of war leads to coldblooded murder, the prime suspect, a young man from Wales, appeals to Brother Cadfael for help. As always, an entertaining historical mystery read.

  • Isis
    2019-04-08 00:10

    Another really solid book in this series. I figured out pretty early on who was in love with whom, and I also figured out the murderer (and was not happy about it!) but it all worked out in the end, whew, nicely though not so neatly. Yay!

  • Alice
    2019-03-27 01:03

    Read in April 2010. Re-read in July 2016.

  • Zuzana
    2019-04-15 00:59

    I love Brother Cadfael mysteries but this one dragged and the murderer was kinda obvious.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2019-04-02 03:10

    Comfortable re-read of an old favourite.

  • Shymsal
    2019-04-01 02:53

    Again a lovely time with Brother Cadfael and Hugh Beringar. They actually find themselves a bit at loggerheads in this, but it's nothing that Sister Magdalen (so happy to see her again!) and Cadfael's young-lovers-of-the-month can't sort out while Cadfael gladly turns a blind eye. I was rather aggrieved with these young lovers (there are actually two sets of them this time!). Normally I don't mind them but Melicent struck me as light-minded what with her stupid accusation and then her equally stupid charge (unarmed and untrained) into combat when her repudiated lover might have fallen in combat. Also, Eliud's self-sacrificing nature would have driven me around the bend if I'd been Christina!

  • Janhmmn
    2019-04-19 01:15

    Cadfael novels are my go-to comfort read when I'm not sure what to read and I've tried a few things but nothing catches my interest. I'm eking them out so they last a long time. This one has a bit more about the civil war going on in England in the 12th century: there is a battle that the Sheriff goes off to fight in, but he is taken prisoner, wounded. The deputy sheriff and others in Shrewsbury come up with a plan to exchange their sheriff for a young man taken in a related skirmish. As usual there's a murder to solve and a love story that works out all right in the end, and around all those there are warm characters and a great evocation of time and place. Very satisfying.

  • Terence
    2019-04-09 04:03

    I tried the first Brother Cadfael novel way back in the early '90s, when I first came out to California for my master's. I don't remember much of it beyond the fact that I was disappointed.A few months ago, I picked up this volume at a library used-book sale for $0.25, hoping for a better experience.For me, the novel's greatest weakness is that it's boring. The writing is pedestrian and the characters are uninteresting, and there's not much of a mystery. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

  • Marlene
    2019-04-09 21:19

    During a civil war, Shrewbury finds itself caught between a king, an empress, and several hundred loot minded Welshmen ready to cross the border at a moments notice. Then the king and the sheriff are both taken and the Welsh pick their moment. Brother Cadfael must help the deputy sheriff win the day and find the murderer.

  • Phil
    2019-04-02 03:58

    Fairly predictable and more of the same. Definitely need a break from the series as I found my attention often focusing elsewhere. However these stories are well written and always an enjoyable quick read. Cadfael has that subtle strength people naturally trust and of course a tremendously rich vocabulary.

  • Louise
    2019-04-04 04:20

    Another charming Cadfael tale. Once again set in the midst of political strife, this story centers on the exchange of prisoners with a welsh prince. Love at first sight and murder complicate matters

  • Kevin Goodrich
    2019-03-29 00:03

    Thoughtful and deep. Makes you think. Peters is wonderful. So great there are so many of these.

  • Mary
    2019-04-15 02:58

    Mystery, suspense, and star-crossed love stories made for an engaging tale I enjoyed reading.

  • Gheeta
    2019-03-28 20:57

    Probably one of the best installments in the series.

  • Ivana
    2019-04-04 22:07

    The book was interesting, I loved the writer's style and choice of words, especially the descriptions. I was surprised by the ending.

  • Patrizia
    2019-04-10 20:19

    4 stelle e mezza

  • Angelica
    2019-04-14 01:20

    The standard Cadfael novel. If you read the previous books, you know what to expect; and you won't be disappointed.

  • Dan Vogel
    2019-04-03 00:22

    As always Ellis Peters delivers a great thoughtful recreation of a time before the enlightenment when people were more concerned with practical matters and less with being seen as right.

  • Chris
    2019-04-20 20:56

    This one wasn't quite as good as the others in the series that I've read so far. I'm not quite sure why.

  • Vasco Ribeiro
    2019-03-31 03:58

    Em fevereiro de 1141 a guerra civil continua. O conde Gilbert Prestcote de Shrewsbury é ferido e capturado pelos galeses. Um jovem nobre galês também foi capturado por Freiras do Convento de Godric que o entregam a Hugh Beringar, que substituía o Conde Gilbert. A troca é pensada e feita com participação do Irmão cadfael.Só que o Conde gilbert é morto quando estava na enfermaria do mosteiro de Shrewsbury, apesar de moribundo. Elis, o jovem galês aprisionado e Eliud , seu irmão de criação que para ali viera no complicado processo de troca de prisioneiros, são os principais suspeitos. Depois é um outro meio-galês, e até um velho frade. O mistério até nem é complicado de resolver. O complicado são os cruzamentos de amores entre jovens e raparigas - Cristina e Melicent que acontecem. Neste livro o assassino até confessa. No penúltimo capítulo.O capítulo mais importante acaba por ser o último. Pela lição de vida que nos dá.

  • Lily
    2019-03-30 04:22

    I like Cadfael. I even want to learn more about the war between Maud and Steven, but sometimes there is too much history at the beginning of these books. I was bored at the beginning of this one. "Get going with the story already!" I wanted to tell the author, but I stuck with it. Not too much intrigue in this one. I ticked off the suspects, knowing who didn't kill just because the author set them up ahead of time to be made suspect too readily. I love going back to Cadfael between reading new authors because I like going back to comfy characters, but this book was too "formula" for me. I also don't like it when authors act as judge and jury to their guilty characters and let them off. Mystery writers do this all the time, pardoning murderers because of sympathy. I guess we all want to be God. That's why some of us become writers.

  • Nathan Albright
    2019-04-23 00:18

    The ninth book in the Brother Cadfael series [1], this particular book trods on fairly familiar ground, but immensely satisfying and with some twists. For example, like some of the other books, this novel finds Cadfael dealing with a Welsh context to a complicated murder, political, and romantic mystery. Sheriff Prescote of Shrewsbury leads the local contingent of soldiers to battle at Lincoln, only to find himself captured by some renegate Welsh, one of whom is a carefree lordling that is captured in a bungled attack on a convent and becomes a convenient prisoner to exchange for the sheriff. It so happens that the lordling is engaged to a young woman he doesn’t love, and while serving his time as a hostage he falls in love with the sheriff’s neglected daughter, while his best friend is eaten up with obsessive love for his own unwanted fiance. What follows is a complicated and tangled but richly nuanced tale of honor and loyalty and surprising mercy and judgment.In seeing Cadfael’s excessive curiosity, his penchant for being a matchmaker for young people in deeply complicated romantic drama, in his being a person who makes far too few concessions to his age in acting like a much younger man than he is, and in being a person who is always an outsider and whose identity is immensely complicated, one appreciates a great deal of skill on the part of the author in crafting a story that blends mystery, history, and romance in satisfying ways. For all of Cadfael’s agreement with certain aspects of Welsh ways, like the acceptance of acknowledged illegitimate children without shame for their parents’ sins, degrees of guilt and a preference for mercy rather than condemnation in judgment, Cadfael resides in England because he is too cosmopolitan to fit in as a commoner in Wales.Although little of the drama here, nor the curious way in which Cadfael untangles the threads of this mystery, is particularly unusual, this novel is full of dramatic incident and compelling character studies. In particular, the women of this novel are drawn with great skill, their agency in seeking to choose their own fates within the constraints of their times and their cultural and class context remarkable and positive in that the aims of the men and women of this novel, for all their complexities, ultimately coincide. It is seeing the reality of mischance and bungling and error and the chaos and anarchy of human affairs and also see an authorial providence that brings people together in love, grants wisdom to those who need it, and allows the reader to feel hope that with a generous author and skillful management of our affairs as best as we are able we may yet find happiness for ourselves, at the end of all our perils.[1] See, for example:https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...