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Amid raging civil war, two orphans from a noble family and their companion, a young nun, have disappeared. With clues from the fevered ravings of a wounded monk, Brother Cadfael sets out on a dangerous quest to find them.
Ellis Peters was a nom de plume of the English writer Dame Edith Mary Pargeter. While she was known under her own name as a writer of contemporary and historical fiction, Pargeter used the name Peters when she wrote mystery novels. As Peters, she was particularly noted for her series about Brother Cadfael, the Welsh ex-Crusader who became a Benedictine monk, herbalist, and amateur sleuth. Her books inspired many others to set their mysteries in medieval times. Pargeter was born in Horseshay, Shropshire, on the Welsh border. After receiving a high school education, she worked as a pharmacist's assistant, gaining a knowledge of drugs and poisons; this would prove useful when she began writing mysteries. Pargeter was in the Women's Royal Naval Service during World War II, and received a British Empire Medal for her service in 1944. She had already begun writing historical and straight fiction before the war, publishing her first novel at 20. Pargeter also translated a great deal of Czech literature into English, which won her the Czechoslovak Society for International Relations Gold Medal in 1968. Pargeter had previously written two mystery novels under the name Jolyon Carr. She created the Ellis Peters pseudonym for the second and subsequent books in her series concerning Inspector George Felse and his wife and son, who all solved mysteries, either together or as individuals. In 1977, she wrote the first Brother Cadfael novel, A MORBID TASTE FOR BONES. There are 20 Brother Cadfael novels, and one collection of three Cadfael stories, A RARE BENEDICTINE. Some of the novels have been dramatized on television, starring Sir Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael. The mysteries she wrote as Peters garnered her an Edgar Award for best novel from the Mystery Writers of American and both a Silver Dagger and a Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers Association.