Dead Man's Ransom by Ellis Peters

By Ellis Peters

A Brother Cadfael mediaeval whodunnit. it's 1141 and civil struggle maintains to rage. The Sheriff of Shropshire and the king are taken prisoner via his enemies. An trade of beneficial prisoners is prepared, yet earlier than the trade is done, a homicide happens.

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For all Cadfael’s sharp hearing, it was Aline who first pricked up her head and rose, catching the light footsteps in the doorway. Her radiant smile faltered suddenly, for the feet trod haltingly. ” “Stiff from a long ride,” said Cadfael quickly. “His legs serve him. ” She ran, and Hugh entered into her arms. As soon as she had viewed him from head to foot, weary and weather-stained as he was, and found him whole, whatever lesser injuries he might be carrying, she became demure, brisk and calm, and would make no extravagant show of anxiety, though she watched him every moment from behind the fair shield of her wifely face.

It is not an ending. A reverse can be reversed. ” “Or exchanged,” said Cadfael, but very dubiously. There’s no great prize taken on the king’s side? Though I doubt if the empress would let go of Stephen for any three of her best lords, even Robert himself, helpless as she’d be without him. No, she’ll keep a fast hold of her prisoner, and make headlong for the throne. ” “Well,” said Hugh, stretching his slight body wincingly, discovering new bruises, “my part at least I know. ” He came down to the abbey, two days later, to attend the Mass Abbot Radulfus had decreed for the souls of all those dead at Lincoln, on both parts, and for the healing of England’s raw and festering wounds.

After Prime in the morning—a greyer morning than the one that went before—Cadfael donned boots and cloak, and went up through the town to the castle wards, and there were the horses of his escort already saddled, and the men waiting for him. He knew them all, even to the youngster Hugh had chosen as a possible hostage for the desired prisoner, should all go well. He spared a few moments to say farewell to Elis, and found him sleepy and mildly morose at this hour in his cell. “Wish me well, boy, for I’m away to see what can be done about this exchange for you.

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