Book Review: The Heretic’s Apprentice by Ellis Peters (Three Stars)


Book Review: The Heretic’s Apprentice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #16) by Ellis Peters

(Three Stars)

“Men are feeble, and go aside to hide their feebleness.”

Not the best of the series, but a well-developed plot which fit well into the historical setting. A new character, Bishop Roger de Clinton, is introduced who while historical will figure in several forthcoming Cadfael stories.

“I have learned not to put any villainy out of the any man’s reach. Nor any goodness, either.”

Peters demonstrates her virtuosity in weaving real events, people and objects into her fictional universe, increasing both verisimilitude and enjoyment.

“Yet we are told a tree shall be known by its fruit. Divine grace … will know where to look for a responsive human grace, without instruction from us.”

An exploration of medieval ecclesiastical doings. All was not witch hunts and burning of heretics, but the threat to church orthodoxy and authority was very real. While Ellis Peters’ Cadfael fiction series avoids the church bashing indulged by the Mystery videos of the same name, she does recognize there were institutional and individual abuses.

“But if justice is to be denied to the inadequate, grudging and sad, to whom then is it due?”

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Heretic’s Apprentice by Ellis Peters (Three Stars)

  1. Didn’t realize there was church bashing involved in the Derek Jacobi (who will always be Brother Cadfael in my mind) video versions.

    Abuses are and have been very real in the history of humans – church, state, and individual. It is saddening that we are not perfectible in this life, at least a bit more.

    • Compared to the books, the videos have much more confrontation and ugliness. There was a lot more sympathy and cooperation–especially among Cadfael, Abbot Radulfus, and Hugh Beringer–in the books. (Too bad a different actor played Hugh each season.)
      Yes, when I think or read about Cafael I see Derek Jacobi.

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