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The Devil's Novice (Cadfael, #8)
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The Devil's Novice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #8)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,913 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Mystery set in medieval times.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1985 by Futura Books (first published 1983)
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Best of the Cadfael novels I have read thus far. One of the reasons is the absence of foolish, impetuous youngsters who get themselves into trouble. All characters in this book, particularly the youngsters, are thinking people. The lawman is a thinking bloke too. Meriet is a very interesting character, and so is Isouda.

Now, about the series. I began reading Ellis Peters after I was told that her work was similar to Agatha Christie's. Having read eight Cadfael books on the trot, I think I now ha
A typical offering of the series: missing and dead people, young lovers, misguided authorities and only Cadfael to sort it all out.

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.
1140 and Cadfael witnesses the arrival of a new novice, Meriet Aspley and his father, Leoric. The old monk notices that his father does not kiss him goodbye and that the relationship between the two seems strained. But the young man is eager (almost too eager) to be admitted. When he has nightmares and cries out in his sleep the other novices panic that he is ‘the devil’s novice’. ‘Barbary’ he cries in his sleep and whistles and everyone knows that whistling attracts the devil.
Brother Jerome fin
This was the first time I've read one of the medieval mysteries involving Brother Cadfael, a Benedictine monk in Shrewsbury. Brother Cadfael had come to his religious vocation late in life after seeing the world in the military. He was a wise judge of people, and was surprised when nineteen-year-old Meriet Aspley wanted to enter the order. Meriet didn't seem to possess the right temperment for monastic life, and was disturbed by terrible dreams at night. What terrible secrets was the novice hidi ...more
Another great book. I was glad to see Brother Mark again; he is one of my favorite supporting characters.
A young man from a noble family living close by enters Shrewsbury Abbey as a novice. His extreme eagerness to be allowed to take his final vows as swiftly as possible in combination with the disruptive nightmares that plague his sleep leads Cadfael and many others to wonder about his motives for choosing the monastic life. Only shortly before he made his decision, it turns out, a priest vanished without a trace after spending a night at the family's home. Are the two connected? Not one of the be ...more
Nicely constructed mystery with the historical context providing the solution to the mystery. The strength of the characters and the local history make for a gripping narrative.
Everyone needs a little comfort reading, now and then.
Michael Joosten
This is one of my less-favoured Cadfael books, for reasons that are either hard to define or a feature of some idiosyncrasy I don't quite recognise. Either way, while readable and enjoyable, it isn't one of the memorable Cadfael books.

It is not, I note, that I agree with some of the other readers that the young people featured here are less likeable that in some of the other novels. Meriet and Isouda are actually, to my mind, MORE attractive to read about, by virtue of their more "adult" mindset
This story is about a young man named Meriet who seeks to become a monk. However, mystery upon mystery surrounds this young man and misfortune seems to follow him. When a murder starts to get tied up in his recent past, Cadfael is the one who works to prove it otherwise and solve the crime.

Full of a variety of characters, the story proved to be rich and enjoyable. I was a little worried that it would be more difficult to read, thinking it might be written in a more Medieval style overall to go w
I'm giving this one 5 stars because not only is it an interesting twisty mystery with all of the good Peters tropes (spunky girl who knows what she wants and gets it, novices who enters the abbey for the wrong reason, Chekhov's good-natured young man, and just a soupçon of medieval political maneuvering), but also because I got a little emotional at the end. The interesting thing about reading this series in no particular order is that you know the outcomes for certain characters but not how the ...more
I didn't like this one as much as the last couple. Cadfael's wounded bird this time was less likeable than some others. The murderer's motives were only revealed very late on and I missed all the oblique references to them, thinking it was the historical background that Peters always provides so expertly. A couple of interesting female characters, Isouda in particular I would like to see more of, but so far only Aline and Hugh have found a spot in every book since their introduction, if only in ...more
This is one of the Brother Cadfael series, about a Benedictine monk solving mysteries in medieval England, which I generally recommend. This is one of my favorites from among a good crop. Cadfael is in top form, the emotions are deep and painful, and the resolution is _highly_ satisfying.
Arlene Allen
Ah, my first Brother Cadfael. To him and Ellis Peters I owe my lifelong love of historical mysteries. A lot of authors have "If you like Brother Cadfael you'll like...." on their covers but very few have ever come close to Ellis' hero and his stories. Both he and his creator are missed.
Another grand historical mystery set in the 12th century ... and told in true Ellis Peters style ! The arrival of a new novice at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul is not all that unusual except that this one carries an air of mystery about him. As always, things are not as serene as they would seem at the abbey and, as in her other wonderful tales, Peters weaves in a dead body and mystery that only Brother Cadfael can sort out, and a romance and unexpected twist at the end of the ...more
Amanda Meggs
I think the Cadfael series gets bettef and better. All of the usual characters are well established and in this eighth book in the series Peters adds a little more but reminds you of some past history, such as Cadfael's son and Brother Mark's protégé. The murderer is often fairly easy to guess but the opportunity and reason unfold in the story.

In this historic age Peters describes beautifully details which bring it alive for me, and I like that the beggers and lepers etc, are realistic people wh
Ellis Peters has given us another pleasing visit to twelfth century England and Shrewsbury Abbey. THE DEVIL’S NOVICE combines historical events from a very unsettled political period in English history with a satisfying mystery. A young man, Meriet, is given by his father to become a monk. Meriet seems to be trying very hard, and claims to wish to become a part of their community, but Brother Cadfael suspects that the religious life may not be his true vocation. Then it comes to light that a tra ...more
Ottava indagine di fratello Cadfael.
Meriet Aspley arriva all'abbazia per prendere i voti. È molto motivato, infatti chiede in continuazione che gli venga accorciato il periodo di noviziato, studia e si impegna molto più dei suoi compagni. Ma Cadfael e l'abate dubitano che la sua vocazione sia sincera. Di notte soffre di terribili incubi, che lo fanno urlare: gli altri novizi e monaci cominciano a chiamarlo "il novizio del diavolo", finché Cadfael suggerisce di mandarlo a Saint GIles, dove potrà
I need a better copy of this volume--the cover on this one is becoming more than a little disheveled.

This book starts in mid-September, 1140, with a serious discussion of whether the monasteries should accept child oblates: children given to the monasteries at very young ages, some as soon as they're weaned. The practice is approved in the Rule, but there has been significant discussion of ending it by this time, and Abbot Radulfus consults with his fellow monks, and then decides to change the p
Kirkus Reviews
Another civilized foray into the 12th-century Benedictine monastery at Shrewbury, where Brother Cadfael (The Virgin in the Ice, etc.) continues to practice his skills with herbs, nostrums, and people in trouble. The primary poor soul this time: Meriet, younger son of a local landowner, who wishes passionately to join the order, to leave behind his stern father and his manly brother Nigel. Why is Meriet, a non-monk type, so insistent about his vocation? Could it have to do with the
The Abbey agrees to accept a young man as a novice who desires to take his vows as a monk. By day Meriet is extremely eager and sets himself to doing everything asked of him. However, by night he is tortured by dreams and his screaming wakes everyone up, even though he sleeps through it all and has no knowledge in the morning of the disturbance he's caused. These nightly ravings earn him the unfortunate nickname of devil's novice. Within a few days of Meriet's arrival at the Abbey, the Abbey le ...more
Cecily Felber
Nov 11, 2010 Cecily Felber rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This next Brother Cadfael offering delves into a tangled family conflict when a young man presents himself to the abbey as a novice--but is clearly not only unsuited for such a life but also apparently hiding some terrible secret.

Brother Cadfael (pronounced Cad-file) has definitely entered the ranks of great fiction detectives alongside Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey. But these stories are more than just murder mysteries in medieval drag. Ellis Peters actually lived in Shrewsbury, England
1st Recorded Reading: July 2003

Once again Brother Cadfael saves the day, solves murder most foul (is there any other kind?) and furthers the course of deserving young love. He is lucky that Abbot Radulfus does not make him stay at the Abbey like most of the other monks, or else it would have to be someone else solving all the murders in and around Shrewsbury. He is also lucky that, as the abbey herbalist, he has an isolated workshop (still within the Abbey precincts, to be sure) where various ch
Joyce Lagow
8th in the Brother Caedfel series.[return][return]A young man, Meiret Aspley, who is obviously on tense terms with his father, is received into the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul as a candidate for the community. Meanwhile, there is a missing cleric from the house of the powerful bishop of Winchester, one who was an envoy to the Northern baron, the Earl of Chester, whom bishop Henry, the King s brother, is courting as an ally for Stephen in his war with the Empress Maude for the English crown; ...more
This is the third one under my belt now and I am primed for finding some clean paperbacks at my library tomorrow as the series is, of course, old as are the books. This was read out of order because it was brand new condition. This was my favorite of the three, and the true humanity of the character Cadfael shines through. I was glad to meet up with Hugh and his wife, introduced in the second book, and hope their presence continues throughout the series. Time will tell.
Antonio Rosato
"Il novizio del diavolo", ottavo volume della serie scritta da Ellis Peters (ma il primo ad essere letto dal sottoscritto) ed incentrata sulle gesta di Fratello Cadfael, monaco benedettino (siamo nel 1140) e detective a tempo perso. In quest’avventura Cadfael deve cercare di capire l’origine degli incubi notturni di un giovane novizio ed il perché dei rapporti tesi tra quest’ultimo e suo padre. Il tutto mentre proprio il novizio ritrova cadavere un sacerdote amico della sua famiglia. Bel libro e ...more
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ellis Peters is a details first, prose second sort of author. The Devil's Novice is hilariously overwrought, pausing to describe in detail how each young incidental character is yet more lovely than the last, but makes up for it with a well realized and strongly convincing historical setting and characters who, past the purple prose, are endearingly quirky, even under the looming threat of murder. Most refreshing of all the characters on offer this roun ...more
Althea Ann
A perfectly adequate mystery. I don’t really have any complaints about it, but neither was it groundbreaking or astounding. It was a nice, undemanding vacation read – I’d read a couple of others in this series, and it was exactly what I expected. I enjoy the medieval/monastic setting.

Here, a new novice enters Brother Cadfael’s monastery. The boy is clearly unsuited to the lifestyle, but he vehemently insists that he wants nothing more than to become a monk, even requesting that he be allowed to
M. Keedwell
Edith Pargeter. Ellis Peters. My absolutely favourite author. The Devil's Novice is a wonderful read with a hero that I can't help but fall in love with. Cadfael is a thoroughly likeable character and I love all of this series, but this, and "Brother Cadfael's Penance" is my favourite of this series.
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A pseudonym used by Edith Pargeter.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM (September 28, 1913 in Horsehay, Shropshire, England –October 14, 1995) 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 Hor
More about Ellis Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • 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)
  • Dead Man's Ransom (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #9)
  • The Pilgrim of Hate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #10)
  • An Excellent Mystery (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #11)
A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1) One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2) The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5) Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3) St. Peter's Fair (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #4)

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