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The Confession of Brother Haluin (1988)

by Ellis Peters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brother Cadfael (15)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,429219,328 (3.84)41
A monk's journey of amends leads to murder in this "thoroughly entertaining medieval mystery" in the Silver Dagger Award-winning series (Publishers Weekly). Winter arrived early in 1142, bringing with it a heavy snowfall. The safety of the guest-hall roof at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul comes into jeopardy, and the brothers are called upon to effect repairs. But the icy and treacherous conditions are to prove near fatal for Brother Haluin. He slips from the roof and crashes to the ground, sustaining terrible injuries--grave enough for him to want to make his deathbed confession.   The confession is heard by the abbot and Brother Cadfael; a wicked story, of trespasses hard for God or man to forgive. But Haluin does not die. On his recovery, he determines to make a journey of expiation, with Cadfael as his sole companion. It is an arduous journey, physically and emotionally, and one that leads to some shocking discoveries.… (more)

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» See also 41 mentions

English (18)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
No Hugh Beringar, not set at all in the abbey - but again the murderer escapes.
  FKarr | Jun 18, 2020 |
hidden secret poisons the lives of two generations and leads to murder, Mystery not hard to solve but ok. 15th Caedfel
  ritaer | May 19, 2020 |
It is a snowy winter in Shrewsbury and the snow endangers the roof of the guest hall. Brother Haluin helps in the repairs and is seriously injured. Thinking he might die, he confesses to several sins. When he recovers, he asks to make a pilgrimage of repentance and Brother Cadfael is sent to accompany the young brother. Of course there is a murder but other discoveries are made along the way.

This volume could have used a map as most of the action takes place away from Shrewsbury. A welcome addition to the Brother Cadfael mysteries. ( )
  fdholt | Jun 24, 2019 |
Brother Haluin is severely injured when repairing the Shrewsbury roof during a winter storm. Being on his death bed, he makes a confession of an event that occurred 18 years before. If he lives he swears to do penance for the act even on his severely mangled feet. This puts into play a series of events to which all is not as it seems. Solid entry in the Cadfael series of novels. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Feb 11, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Confession of Brother Haluin
Series: Brother Cadfael #15
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Edition



Synopsis:


Brother Haluin almost dies and confesses to the head Priest and Cadfael. He had an encounter of the flesh with a young woman, who he got with child 18 years ago. Haluin gave the mother herbs from Cadfael's herbariam to end the pregnancy but the mother told Haluin that it ended up killing the mother along with the child. And that was when Haluin entered the abbey, in despair.
He ends up surviving his ordeal, he gives himself the penance of walking to the dead woman's tomb and keeping vigil for a night. Haluin's feet being crippled due to the ordeal, Cadfael is tasked with helping him keep his vow.
In a string of coincidences that can only happen in a murder mystery, we find out that Haluin was lied to by the mother and that the young woman was married off and the child raised as that other man's. Said young woman is now a nun as old as Haluin. Their daughter has love issues all of her own which are neatly resolved when it is revealed that she is NOT the blood daughter of the Old Duke. An old lady servant is killed by the nun's mother to keep everything secret. Because the old mother did all of this because she wanted the young man back in the day and he wouldn't commit adultery with her, as she was married. So she starts this whole chain of events.
Everyone except the old mother ends up being reasonably satisfied with how things turn out and Brother Haluin and Cadfael return to their abbey.

My Thoughts:

This was a typical Brother Cadfael mystery. He's just an observer like he has been in the last several and has very little to do with the actual story. So that's where I'd normally give this a 3star rating. But this time around a lot of the story is driven by ideas of absolution and atoning for you own sins, ie, working to get your sins forgiven. Haluin makes it a point that if he can't fulfill his vow, he won't be forgiven. And it is stated outright that he doesn't feel like he'll be forgiven if he doesn't DO some sort of very hard penance.

Normally the catholic practices and theology are kept in the background of these books. This time around though, they played a much bigger part and cut right across everything the Bible actually says about forgiveness of sins. When I hear about earning forgiveness for your sins, well, that just sets my staunch Protestant soul ablaze. I won't go into the details, as this is not a theology post. But it really took this book down a peg for me. I've actually been surprised this hasn't happened before.

I've got 5 or 6 more Brother Cadfael books to go and I'm really hoping I can stick it out to the end. But to be honest, these are getting boring; that's almost as bad as un-Biblical theology in my mind!

★★☆☆ ½ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Oct 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peters, Ellisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chwat, SergeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssens, PieterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langowski, JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menini, María AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michowski, MarekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Okamoto, HamaeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelitti, ElsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planhof, MaiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pošustová, StanislavaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Song, Ŭn-gyŏngTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The worst of the winter came early, that year of 1142.
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A monk's journey of amends leads to murder in this "thoroughly entertaining medieval mystery" in the Silver Dagger Award-winning series (Publishers Weekly). Winter arrived early in 1142, bringing with it a heavy snowfall. The safety of the guest-hall roof at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul comes into jeopardy, and the brothers are called upon to effect repairs. But the icy and treacherous conditions are to prove near fatal for Brother Haluin. He slips from the roof and crashes to the ground, sustaining terrible injuries--grave enough for him to want to make his deathbed confession.   The confession is heard by the abbot and Brother Cadfael; a wicked story, of trespasses hard for God or man to forgive. But Haluin does not die. On his recovery, he determines to make a journey of expiation, with Cadfael as his sole companion. It is an arduous journey, physically and emotionally, and one that leads to some shocking discoveries.

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