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Dead Man's Ransom (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #9)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,648 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
In his ninth outing the beloved Brother Cadafel must helps a lovelorn young Welshman accused of murdering a sheriff.*
Paperback, 190 pages
Published 1985 by Futura Books (first published 1984)
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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 acc
Feb 12, 2017 Lance rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 N
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 Benedict
Jul 23, 2015 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 histori ...more
Elis Madison
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.
Sep 04, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 05, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
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.
Aug 20, 2013 Isis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 07, 2010 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in April 2010. Re-read in July 2016.
I love Brother Cadfael mysteries but this one dragged and the murderer was kinda obvious.
Feb 07, 2017 Marlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 25, 2017 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Mar 12, 2017 Vasco Ribeiro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
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
Mar 05, 2017 Lily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a ...more
Nathan Albright
Nov 07, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 captu ...more
Maria Thermann
Apr 30, 2015 Maria Thermann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dead Man's Ransom is a very thought-provoking whodunit, presenting both Cadfael and the Deputy Sheriff, Hugh Beringar, with quite a conundrum. Two Welsh foster-brothers, as close as twins but as dissimilar as two young whelps could be in nature, are embroiled in a love-triangle that ends in murder.

The murder victim, an exchange prisoner taken by the Welsh during a battle for Lincoln in the ongoing civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud in 1141, is none other than the Sheriff of Shrewsb
Apr 28, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread-books, 2003, 2010
1st Recorded Reading: October 2003

The Battle of Lincoln in the north of England on February 2, 1141, is historical fact; the forces of King Stephen of England fought the forces of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (the half brother of the Empress Matilda) and those of the Earl of Chester, while on the flank was a mass of Welsh troops led by Madog ap Maredudd, Lord of Powys, and Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd, the brother of Owain, Prince of Gwynedd, who was neutral in the Civil War between Stephen and Matil
Feb 21, 2017 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book kept my interest like the others, but I found the characters less interesting and the romances more shallow than usual.
Cecily Felber
Nov 11, 2010 Cecily Felber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This is the book, with its mentions of Madog ap Maredudd and the contigent of Welsh soldiers who took part in the Battle of Lincoln, that is partly responsible for my own books.

The Battle of Lincoln in early 1141 was a disastrous defeat for King Stephen in his ongoing war with his cousin Maud for the crown of England. Fighting on Stephen's side is the Sheriff of Shrewsbury, Gilbert Prestcote, Hugh Beringar's superior, who is wounded and then taken prisoner and held for ransom by some of the Wels
Jul 27, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england, medieval
Sheriff Gilbert Prestcote and his forces had been in battle against the Welsh. The troops returned to Shrewsbury without their leader. It is hoped that he is alive in captivity. A few days later, word is brought to the Abbey of a Welshman being held captive. He (Elis) is brought to the Abbey and word is sent to the Welsh forces with the idea of brokering a deal to swap prisoners. The sheriff is alive, but seriously wounded. It is agreed that the exchange can be made and the Welsh bring Gilbert ...more
Again, there are some excellent characters in this book - most of all the female characters, often secondary in this setting, but in Miss Pargeter's writing her women always have shone through even when they weren't main characters (essentially ever, sadly, but given her historical specialities I can't say I'm that surprised).

Here we get to see Avice of Thornbury once more, now "Sister Magdalen" (and please excuse me while I restrain myself from kicking my Kindle for only using an American Engl
Kimberly Ann
In a drunken brawl a man accidentally killed.....The Sheriff strict & unyielding hung by the neck until dead the two survivors. One of those hung, his 1/2 brother seeks revenge upon the Sheriff, but is healing from a broken leg in the Abbey's Infirmary.

Afar at the nunnery, a Welsh raiding party is foiled, a young man sowing wild oats is struck down and nearly drown in the river. Rescued & brought back to life to stand trial is now in the Abbey's Infirmary. This young man meets the Sherif
Rena Sherwood
Okay, granted, my appreciation for this book is not going to be the same as the average reader. I began it while my Mom was getting surgery and finished it in the days she was recovering (Mom's more or less fine now.) Anyway, Dead Man's Ransom helped comfort me because I was able to easily immerse myself in its world and thus be spared the constant worry about Mom's condition (or lack thereof.) I am a chronic worrier so ANYTHING that can successfully distract me from worry is practically miracul ...more
May 19, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Brother Cadfael mysteries as much for the richness of the characters and setting in old 12th Century England as for the intricate mysteries. The stories all take place in and around the Abbey of Sts. Peter and Paul in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England during the Civil War between King Stephen and Empress Maud of England. In these books, some kind of murder or other mysterious mishap seems to find its way to the Abbey, interrupting the serenity of the brothers cloistered there. Brother ...more
May 04, 2009 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Brother Cadfael books - not so much for the mystery part (since I'm not a mystery reader) but strictly because of the characters , specifically Brother Cadfael, the spunky little 12 century Welsh Benedictine monk and herbalist, and Hugh Berengar, Sheriff of Maesbury who is Cadfael's sleuthing sidekick. The books all take place in and around the Abbey of Sts Peter and Paul in Shrewsbury in Shropshire, England during the the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud of England. I ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feeding my fetish of 12th century murder mysteries set in England (involving Benedictine monks), I noticed this series of "Brother Cadfael" books. Or rather, books and videos. PBS showed a bunch of one hour episodes during the mid-90's, each representing one of these novels. So they're not overly convoluted, like Name of the Rose was. These are simply fun, straight-forward murder mysteries, involving a cheery, progressive Benedictine monk named Cadfael cast in the role of Sherlock Holmes.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listed as #9 in the Brother Cadfael series, it read more like a much earlier book. Did not think the characters were as well fleshed out as in others of this series. Still a fun, easy afternoon read. Deals with the conflict between King Steven and EMpress Maude, however, the Welsh interests seem to take precedence in this story. A young noble is captured, an exchange is arranged, but the exchangee is badly wounded and dies before the actual exchange takes place. Honor is involved, so the young n ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Poetreehugger rated it it was amazing
I love the way a riveting story and fascinating historical detail are combined with gentle spiritual insight.
P. 144, " was good to put all that aside and listen with good heart to the lives of saints who had shrugged off the cares of the world to let in the promises of a world beyond and viewed earthly justice as no more than a futile shadow-play obscuring the absolute justice of heaven, for which no man need wait longer than the life-span of mortality."
P. " 'It is God fixes the term,' sai
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A pseudonym used by Edith Pargeter.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM was a prolific author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics; she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both historical and modern. Born in the village of Horsehay (Shropshire, England), she had Welsh ancestry, and many of her sho
More about Ellis Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, prequel stories 0.1-0.3)
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)
  • One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2)
  • Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3)
  • St. Peter's Fair (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #4)
  • The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5)
  • The Virgin in the Ice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #6)
  • The Sanctuary Sparrow (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #7)
  • The Devil's Novice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #8)
  • The Pilgrim of Hate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #10)

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“A man must be prepared to face life, as well as death, there's no escape from either.” 8 likes
“Once, I remember, Father Abbot said that our purpose is justice, and with God lies the privilege of mercy. But even God, when he intends mercy, needs tools to his hand.” 2 likes
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