The complete collection of the Brother Cadfael medieval mysteries
In 1137, the Abbot of Shrewsbury decides to acquire the remains of St Winifred. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to her final resting place in Wales and they find the villagers passionately divided by the Benedictines' offer for the saint's relics.
During the bitter November of 1139, civil war brings refugees to Shrewsbury in search of sanctuary. But two orphans and their companion, a nun, do not arrive from Worcester as planned, and Brother Cadfael is despatched from the Abbey to try and locate them.
In the battle of Lincoln, 1141, the Sheriff of Shropshire is captured by the Welsh forces of the Empress Maud. The county proposes to exchange him for a young Welsh nobleman. But when the Sheriff is murdered only Brother Cadfael can save the captive from retaliation.
In the hot, dry August of 1141, England is still torn by civic strife. Amidst the carnage the Abbey of Hyde Meade is totally destroyed; its resident brothers dispersed, finding refuge in the Abbey of Shrewsbury. But Brother Cadfael realizes that two of these refugees are not all that they appear to be.
Winter, 1141. The Abbot of Shrewsbury returns from London bringing with him the harsh, unforgiving Father Ailnoth as pastor for Holy Cross parish. None are surprised when Ailnoth's body is found on Christmas morning, but it falls to Cadfael to find his murderer.