Edith Pargeter (pen name is Ellis Peters) wrote a series of mysteries that look back on the history of England. The novels are set during the period of civil war, 1135 to 1154. King Steven was being challenged by Empress Maud for the throne.
The main character, Brother Cadfael, is a monk at the Benedictine Abbey of Shrewsbury. He tends a herb garden and gets involved in detective work with the sheriff.
In the 20th book in the series, we learn that Cadfael is a father but has been separated from his son most of his life.
In this final book in the series, Brother Cadfael’s Penance, Cadfael is on a mission to rescue his son. His mission is complicated by the political situation.
Throughout the narrative there is a pattern of prayers, community, obedience and then respectful disobedience. Cadfael is challenged to maintain neutrality between the nobility supporting King Steven and those supporting Empress Maud.
The description of the contest for power and the use of deceit reminds me of the current day. If we look back on history, human nature has not changed.
Cadfael’s love for his son keeps him focused.
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