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The Virgin in the Ice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #6)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,090 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
In the winter of 1139, raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester, among them an orphaned boy and his beautiful 18-year-old sister. Traveling with a young nun, they set out for Shrewsbury, but disappear somewhere in the wild countryside. Now, Brother Cadfael embarks on a dangerous quest to find them.
Paperback, 202 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by Mysterious Press (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 01, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
This is a mystery/historical fiction of the Cadfael Chronicles. I read it some time ago but somehow neglected to share my deep and insightful views with everyone here at Goodreads.

How remiss of me.

If you are familiar with Cadfael and his "history" then you know that our monkish mystery solver is never allowed a peaceful life for long. (sad considering he lives in Shrewsbury Abbey [a real place by the way]). Here the love "interests" (Cadfael seems to draw "star-crossed lovers like honey does bee
Jan 09, 2009 Ikonopeiston rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is one of my favourite of the Brother Cadfael series. The evocation of England during the Little Ice Age is precise enough to make me shiver and the images of the land under the blanket of snow are beautiful. The first appearance of Olivier is worth the price of admission all by itself. It is well nigh impossible not to fall head over heels for that young man on sight.

As usual, the plot is impeccably tied up with no annoying straggling ends. Peters has her story well in hand again. We come
Jun 08, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
(After fourth reading, June 2016)

“Never go looking for disaster. Expect the best, and walk so discreetly as to invite it, and then leave all to God.”

Among the most popular of the Cadfael chronicles, this tale heralds the first appearance of Oliver de Bretagne. (You’ll have to read the book to discover his significance.)

“In a land at war with itself, you may take it as certain that order breaks down and savagery breaks out.”

By this sixth volume, Peters has reached her stride. Firmly set in the hi
Cecily Felber
Nov 11, 2010 Cecily Felber rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Confession: This is my absolute favorite Brother Cadfael story! (although The Sanctuary Sparrow and Dead Man's Ransom follow closely)

In the middle of a harsh winter, a band of marauders is on the loose, killing, raping and pillaging the countryside. Also on the loose are a pair of noble children and the nun that is their guardian, refugees from the sack of the town of Worcester to the south. Hugh Beringar and Cadfael are called in, the hunt is on...and Cadfael is destined to find that which he n
I have to be honest. Throughout most of the book I thought it was just OK, two stars, even though from the very beginning I did really like the atmosphere of the cold and snowy winter; it was perfectly depicted. It wasn't until the last chapter that I understood the importance of this book. It too is a must read! These books hold together; to get the most from them they must be read as a group. Each builds upon the other, and in a beautiful way! Ellis writes beautifully, with humor, descriptive ...more
Apr 15, 2016 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
This was surely the best Brother Cadfael for several reasons, the most important is that after skipping around in the series I did not know how his son was revealed to him. If you do not know what that means, you need to start reading this series!

The winter of 1139 was a bad one for the area when Worchester was sacked during the Civil War between Matilda and Stephen. Adding to that was a very severe beginning to the winter with daily snows and bitter frosts which sent Worchester's inhabitants fl
Jul 20, 2012 Dagny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peters-ellis
In the Sixth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, The Virgin in the Ice, it is the winter of 1139. This chronicle is one of the first ones I read and still a favorite. Three refugees of the feud between Maud and Stephen are missing. While Brother Cadfael is on another mission, he discovers clues to the fate of the missing travellers.
Jun 16, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing
Yes yes yes! Solve all the things! So first of all there's the missing Hugonin children, then there's a monk who got beaten up, stabbed and left for dead, then there's the eponymous virgin in the ice, then there are outlaws roaming Shropshire, looting and burning all of the manors. To say nothing of a tall, dark and handsome stranger just arrived in England from Jerusalem...the first appearance of Olivier de Bretagne. Also the birth of Giles, Brother Cadfael's godson! This book has everything, r ...more
Elis Madison

Summoned to tend a badly injured monk, Cadfael stumbles on clues regarding a missing brother and sister, and the young nun who fled with them when war came to Worcestershire. Meanwhile the countryside is beset by pillagers who burn and steal, rape and murder.

As always there is a secondary story involving romance, and the best twist of the story comes here. Moments towards the end of the book were beautiful enough to make me cry a little. Another 5 star gem by Ellis Peters.
M Christopher
Jul 30, 2012 M Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is another fine entry in Ellis Peters' acclaimed "Cadfael Chronicles." In this book, Brother Cadfael is drawn into the adventure of three young people seeking refuge from a fresh outbreak of the war between forces loyal to the Empress Matilda and those of King Stephen as the cousins vie for supremacy in England. With only a few longeurs, the pace is good, the characters engaging and the mystery of "The Virgin in the Ice" kept me guessing until the very end. There is also the introduction of ...more
May 06, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread-books, 2002, 2010
Ist recorded reading: September 2002

I had forgotten just how good this particular Brother Cadfael mystery is; I had read it in September, 2002, and remembered, as usual, very little of the book. But this is indeed one of the best ones, and is the one I would recommend to anyone who wished to read just one Brother Cadfael mystery.

In November of the Year of our Lord 1139, word comes to the Abbey of the sack of the town of Worcester. King Stephen is in possession of the Crown, but the Empress Maud
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
No. 6 in the Brother Caedfel series.[return][return]In the late fall of 1139, the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Maude for the throne of England flares up and engulfs the city of Worcester which lies close to the Welsh border and not far south of Shrewsbury. As a result, a tide of refugees washes over Shrewsbury Abbey and the town itself. To the abbey comes a messenger from a brother house in Worcester, seeking the whereabouts of two children of a noble family, Ermina and her you ...more
May 22, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Format: Audio
Narrated by: Vanessa Benjamin
Original Publication Date: 1982
Genre(s): Historical (Middle Ages), Mystery
Series: The Cadfael Chronicles, Book 6

The Civil War that has been threatening between King Stephen and Empress Maude starts in earnest, sending refugees fleeing in all directions. Three of the refugees a young, noble sister and brother and a nun have disappeared into the snowy English countryside of 1139.

As with all the books I’ve read in this series there are many threads to follo
Ned Hanlon
Jun 14, 2016 Ned Hanlon rated it really liked it
I love all of Ellis Peters’ Cadfael mysteries and this is no different; I would actually go so far as to say that this is one of the best. While for much of the novel it it feels more a historical fiction thriller than mystery, Peters bring the story around very nicely and finds a very Cadfaelian mystery: a tragic injustice that is overlooked in the chaos of the age that only Cadfael can unravel.

What makes these novels is not the stories nor the characters (although they are frequently wonderfu
Lauren Albert
Feb 17, 2016 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I thought this another very good one which shows the complexity of life during civil war. Some take advantage of the war to aim for their own good regardless of which side (or sides) they hurt. A very surprising twist at the end having nothing to do directly with the mystery.
Jul 25, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
There was some awkward phrasing in this book, but I am glad I finally tracked it down since it does include an important puzzle piece with regard to life of Cadfael. While I may have grimaced a time or two while reading, I did end up with a big smile.
Vicki Cline
I read the whole series years ago, and am rereading them now. This is the first one that doesn't seem familiar. Maybe because it doesn't take place in Shrewsbury, but in a nearby abbey. With the conflict between King Stepehn and Empress Maud, there's been a good bit of outlawry in the area and 4 people have gone missing. One turns up, then another, then the body of a third, and when the fourth is found, the first two are gone again. This is the most nerve-racking book so far, and the focus isn't ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Nicola rated it liked it
Quite complex with all of the characters constantly appearing and running off, but their actions made more sense at the 'big reveal'
Lillian Carl
Virgin is my favorite of the Brother Cadfael mysteries. I should have waited until August to

re-read it, since it takes place in December amid lots of ice and snow. On the other hand,

reading about the 12th-century characters braving all that ice and snow in no more than

cloaks and the like did make me feel a bit warmer during our own cold weather!

The Cadfael stories take place during a struggle between two claimants for the throne in

England. Cadfael's Shrewsbury, on the Welsh border, is mostly
I won't spoil it but I rated this one higher than the others...which I love...because of Cadfael's discovery of what he'd left behind in Antitoch!!!! Was so excited. *big smiles*
Nov 24, 2015 Lauri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rohkem ajalooline põnevik kui kriminull kuigi laip vägistatud ja mõrvatud nunna kujul oli ka täitsa olemas. Aga tõsisest kriminullist eristab esiteks kahtlusaluste paljusus ja anonüümsus - jõuk lindpriisid keda isegi mitte nimepidi ei nimetatud tegi kohe selgeks, et nemad need küll ei olnud. Ja siis oli tõsiste kahtlusaluste vähesus - peale koomas munga õieti ei olnudki teisi, lõpupoole muidugi oli selge et ainukene kõrvaltegelane keda nimepidi tutvustati ja kelle tutvustamiseks võeti isegi 2-3 ...more
Apr 21, 2016 Bron rated it really liked it
When I'm reading these Chronicles I always see Derek Jacobi as Cadfael, but in this instance, the book is subtly different from the tv adaptation. Cadfael does less "detectiving" here and I don't think the tv version picked up on the fact that he wasn't in his home abbey at Shrewsbury, but he'd been sent to another Benedictine house in Shropshire to care for a wounded monk. This gives him a certain amount of freedom from having to follow the house rules! There's no Prior Robert or Brother Jerome ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
The bitter winter of the year 1139 finds Brother Cadfael and his friend, deputy sheriff Hugh Beringar parties in a desperate search. There is a civil war between the supporters of two cousins Stephen and Maud for the throne of England. Battle is coming to the city of Worcester and refugees are seeking safe havens. One party of these unfortunates consists of a pair of orphaned noble siblings and a young Benedictine nun and they are missing. This group was supposed to be heading for the Abbey at S ...more
Dec 22, 2014 Tammy rated it really liked it
It is the winter of 1139. A civil war in England has sent refugees fleeing from Worcester to the abbey at Shrewsbury hoping to find a safe haven there. Traveling with a young nun the group, including an orphan boy and his 18 year old sister. But somewhere in the dangerous countryside they disappear. Brother Cadfael sets

In the winter of 1139, raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester, among them are two orphans a boy of 13 and his beautiful 18-year-old sister and a young Ben
Another fine installment in the Cadfael saga. This one is set outside the normal setting of Shrewsbury. This has always been one of my favorite epiosde from the PBS television series but is better in printed form. As usual the storyline for the TV adaptation is simpler and not as rich and where Ms. Peters uses new characters freely the TV series recycles some of the cast regulars.
Sep 02, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have I mentioned that I really enjoy the Brother Cadfael novels? He is man and martyr, sleuth and simple man. This novel finds him tending a monk who had been badly beaten on the road, left for dead. As expected, this is just the tip of the iceberg and Cadfael's quiet persistence brings all the truth to the fore, even things that were a surprise to him.
Mar 28, 2015 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
This is the sixth book in the Brother Cadfael murder mystery series. It is December 1139, the country is still in the grips of Civil War. This has sent many fleeing North including 2 orphans and their companion, a nun but they seemed to have disappeared in the snow and ice.

Cadfael is dispatched from the Abbey at Shrewsbury to the aid of a fellow monk who has been brought injured to Broomfied Abbey near Ludlow. Whilst he is there, Cadfael is asked to help in the search for the missing people. Wil
Oct 09, 2014 Alethea rated it really liked it
The civil war comes to light again in this novel, and we get a glimpse into the Crusades – or, at least, some more crusaders and a little of Cadfael’s history come into play. As a history lover, I’m not complaining. Ellis Peters isn’t shy when it comes to the rape culture of the day, and her storytelling is realistic whether from a man’s or a woman’s. As a murder mystery, it delivered yet again in keeping me guessing or delivering nicely packaged plot twists. The humour is a little waylaid in th ...more
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  • The Servant's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #2)
  • The Prince of Darkness (Hugh Corbett, #5)
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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 Sanctuary Sparrow (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #7)
  • The Devil's Novice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #8)
  • 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)

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