Finished the first Cadfael book. Have heard of this series (of course) but never read any of the books. It was great! Will definitely pick up others in time – like when waiting on another series book to come out, or just nothing in the old TBR pile is sparking. Apparently there are 20 books in this series, and everyone recommends reading them in order, so this is where you start.
Fantastic story, wonderfully written. No wonder Brother Cadfael is one of the most popular historical mystery series, even spinning off a television series (I think). I may need to track those down too.
Within the first few pages of this first book of the series, I knew Brother Cadfael would be a character that I’d want to follow through many more stories.
What I liked:
Peters captures what I suspect to be a lot of historical/ cultural nuances in simple, effective ways. There’s a huge amount of research behind this, but we’re not drawn out into these huge sweeping encyclopedia entries in an attempt to build this distant time and place around the modern reader. We jump straight in as a fly on the wall, watching and listening, wholly transported. I also liked that the religious aspects of the story were handled in a sympathetic, but I think also very honest way. The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated, but that’s part of what made it ring true to me.
Brother Cadfael is also a very interesting character. Peters obviously wrote this with an eye toward several more books, with many hints and winks at his colorful past.
A big recommend from me if you’re into history, mystery, or even books like Game of Thrones.