The Hermit of Eyton Forest, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


The year is 1142, and all England is in the iron grip of a civil war. And within the sheltered cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the political upheavals of the outside world.

First, there is the sad demise of Richard Ludel, Lord of Eyton, whose ten year old son and heir, also named Richard, is a pupil at the Abbey.

Supported by the Abbot Radulfus, the boy refuses to surrender his new powers to Dionysia, his furious, formidable grandmother.

A stranger to the region is the hermit Cuthred, who enjoys the protection of Lady Dionysia, and whose young companion Hycacinth, befriends Richard.

Despite his reputation for holiness, Cuthred's arrival heralds a series of mishaps for the monks.

When Richard disappears and a corspe is found in Eyton forest, Brother Cadfael is once more forced to leave the tranquility of his herb garden and devote his knowledge of human nature to tracking down a ruthless murderer.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, map
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780751511147

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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

More interesting and complex than the other Cadfael mystery I read. I didn't connect the dots, either, although I felt silly for not doing it when the murderer was revealed. The backstory of the war between Stephen and Maud continues. Characters are interesting, and the slow pace of the medieval world continues to make for an enjoyable and rather dreamlike read.

Review by

afternoon of a faun.

Review by

Peters, nom de plume of Edith Pargeter, and also author of the Inspector Felse series, as well as some other historical novels, situates the Brother Cadfael series during the anarchic times of King Stephen in the early twelfth century. <br/><br/>Cadfael is a monk at the Benedictine Abbey of Shrewsbury. He came to the cowl rather late, after service in the crusades, so he often takes a more worldly and practical approach to solving riddles than his fellow monks. He and his friend, Hugh Beringer, the under-sheriff, work together to solve murders, of which there seem to be plenty. The victim in this novel is Richard, elevenyear- old son of a wealthy lord who dies and leaves all his property to Richard. Richard was being schooled at the abbey, and despite entreaties from the boy’s grandmother to return him to her, the abbot refuses, citing the importance of Richard’s father’s wish that the boy receive a good education. The grandmother, the lady Dionysia, wants Richard’s return so she can marry him off to an old woman (she’s twenty-two) and gain ownership of some contiguous lands. Richard, certainly sly for his age, watches bemused, but disappears in the forest following a series of mishaps predicted by a hermit, reputed to be holy, who has the ear of Lady Dionysia. Nothing is as it appears. <br/><br/>Soon Cadfael is forced to keep a secret from Hugh, something he is rarely called upon to do, in order to protect the lives of two others, one a murderer, the other, an escaped vassal. Typically, before the solution is discovered, the forest is littered with the bodies of murdered men. This is a good one.

Review by
Six-word review: Surprise! Someone's hiding out in disguise.Extended review:Reading a Brother Cadfael mystery reminds me a lot of having lunch at a bookstore cafe: you know what you're getting, it won't be amazing but it's perfectly fine, you won't leave hungry, and anyway you didn't go there for the food.I wouldn't have said this when I'd read only the first two or three in the series, but this was my fourteenth. Among the things I'm happy to give the author credit for are building a main character with enough dimensions and conflicts to be interesting, recreating a fascinating historical setting, and knowing a good formula when she finds one.Not that everything is obvious from the beginning: it isn't. There are puzzles, red herrings, subplots, mysterious travelers, false names and false pretenses. And, dependably, there are charming young people whose threatened fortunes are championed by the worldly-wise Benedictine brother.In this case, we have an orphaned young heir with an overbearing grandmother, a runaway serf suspected of murder, and a revered hermit caught up in a scheme to gain control of valuable lands. Somehow this is all the business of the abbey, and Cadfael is actively engaged once again in the service of truth and justice. Dependable fun, written with style and old-fashioned grace. I didn't come here for astonishment.

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