In his nineteenth chronicle Brother Cadfael is charged to investigate the theft of the Abbey's most sacred treasure.
At the height of the hot summer of 1144, the Earl of Essex succumbs to a fatal arrow - but only after a lingering fever during which his officials do their best to save him from hellfire by restoring various properties he has annexed, including the abbey of Ramsey. The abbey is in such a sorry state that a call for help in restoring it goes out to all houses of the Benedictine Order.
But when heavy rains bring the threat of floods to Shrewsbury, and the holy relics must be removed to a place of safety, the subsiding waters reveal a robbery has been committed. So the stage is set for the masterly sleuthing skills of Brother Cadfael to be employed. But before the case is solved, to the crime of theft is added murder.....
Ellis Peters was a pseudonym of Edith Pargeter, OBE. As Ellis Peters she was the bestselling author of twenty Brother Cadfael Chronicles and the illustrated short story collection A Rare Benedictine. Under her own name she wrote numerous critically acclaimed historical novels including A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury and The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet. She was the recipient of the Crime Writer's Association and Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. She died in 1995.