• Cathedral of Bones

  • Ela of Salisbury Medieval Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: J. G. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Madeleine Brolly
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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Cathedral of Bones

By: J. G. Lewis
Narrated by: Madeleine Brolly
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Publisher's Summary

Salisbury, 1226

A young pregnant woman is found tangled in reeds in the river Avon, her identity a mystery. Grieving widow Ela Longespée is determined to succeed her husband as sheriff of Salisbury, and quickly takes charge of the investigation. She soon finds herself in the thick of a neighborhood scandal and a struggle to maintain her authority. With multiple suspects, can she identify the true killer?
 

©2019 J. G. Lewis (P)2020 J. G. Lewis

What listeners say about Cathedral of Bones

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

eh, okay

The mystery itself is decent and the setting is accurate enough (to my layman's ears), but the characters aren't given thoughts and motivations that would make sense in 13th century England, and there are jarring anachronisms. If you can put that aside, it's a good read. I'll read the next in this series but I think this author might be better suited to a contemporary setting.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love that it's based on a real woman who lived over 800 years ago. I was invested in the characters almost from the beginning and did not guess the murderer in advance, which is a huge compliment to the writer.

4 people found this helpful

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Had potential to be a great story

This story felt like an outline of a story in the making. The characters were not developed in any way and the story was robotic. There was lack of depth to every character but with some creativity and flushing out could have had grit and substance. Not a style issue, but a mature writing issue. The authors idea has so much potential. Madeleine Brolly is a delight to listen to. Calming and lovely tone.

2 people found this helpful

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A bit hacky

Like others, I’d listen to the next book in the series if it were free but am not willing to pay for it. I had the same problems a number of other commenters have had: a rather simple plot, glaringly anachronistic language, and lots of repetitive statements—the main character’s constant lamenting on the misogyny of her society, which suggested that the author didn’t trust readers to pick up on it without that guidance, and also her constant grateful musing on her good fortune in having as much as she did compared to most people, which also checked the anachronism box. Trimming all of this might help to pick up the pace.

1 person found this helpful

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Slow moving

The story and the narration were both very slow and more lulling than interesting. The characters felt like they belonged in a children’s book to provide a moral lesson. I confess I did not finish the book. Perhaps it picked up at the end.

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Ok, but ….

Just couldn’t get into it. Well narrated, and had the outline of a good story, but seemed lacking in character development. I ended up listening at a higher speed, just to get through it.

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enjoyable listening

really enjoyed reading this so much historical fiction book oh, actually really enjoyed listening to it the narrator was fabulous and so easy to listen to. I like the story and really liked the main character Ella. all in all a very good read oh, very good listen.

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Enjoyable

I enjoyed it, and especially found it interesting that it’s based on a real person.

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Another Medieval Mystery Gem

A great yarn with likeable characters, and a plethora of motives for murder. a bit formulaic, but enjoyable. I am admittedly a medieval mystery genre junkie, so bear that in mind. 😉

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Wonderful !!!!

Loved this novel— and that the protagonist is based on a real historical figure. The plot is well developed, and several credible suspects appear as the tale unfolds. The narration was perfect! Can’t wait to listen to the next one!

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  • Caty M
  • 05-08-21

Anachronisms aplenty.

A rather weak plot, ending in an unconvincing and uninspired dénouement. Littered with jarringly modern idioms and anachronisms - most irritating when they pop up in dialogue. Most damning, I found myself caring less and less about the characters as the story unfolded, and less still in the outcome of this medieval whodunnit.

2 people found this helpful

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  • J Villamizar
  • 05-30-22

Great medieval murder mistery

I normally don’t go for medieval “whodunnits”, but as I started listening to the wonderfully narrated and well written story, I was hooked! Plenty of twists and turns, and detailed scenes, which made this book a gripping driving companion. Also, great to learn at the end of the story that Ella ‘Countess of Salisbury’ was based on a real person.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ann D
  • 05-01-21

A thoroughly enjoyable story a beautifully read.

It's a nice change to hear a story of this period centred around a strong female character. I really enjoyed listening to it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rosebud
  • 06-16-22

A strong Medieval Woman

An interesting insight into medieval English life and justice. The fact that is is based upon a real female Sheriff even more so, as it describes the battle she had against male prejudice to claim her right to be Sheriff.
Looking forward to the next book.

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  • Alasdair. Innit.
  • 04-01-22

Great story badly read

It’s a great shame that this generally well written and well thought out and interesting medieval whodunnit was marred by a completely wooden performance by Madeleine Brolly in narrating the story. At several points I almost gave up the book, something I have only done on very very rare occasions. I’m sorry to say this as I have never give a negative rating to any of the readers on the many books I have listened to on Audible, and this is not something which is in my nature to do- however I think it’s necessary to say it on this occasion. As I was listening to the performance I tried to think of the appropriate analogy, which ranged from a female robot low on battery, to Titania giving her dying speech to her fellow sprites before she finally expired, to finally the speech of someone who has taken too much valerian root and chamomile, as Lewis’ character had given to her patient to help her sleep. It is well elucidated, I can’t deny that, and every word was clearly spoken, but there was not enough emotion or variation in intonation and speed to her words, particularly in the reading of characters’ spoken lines, just a flat monotone and a failure to vary the speed, volume and emphases of word as would be found in normal day to day spoken language. Would I listen to another. Probably, overall, as it is a very good story, with an interesting scenario, but it will always be a struggle to listen to and Brolly unless she can make her reading a little more realistic.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-09-22

I have enjoyed this book

Loved it. I have midnight the rest of the series.
She is a Medieval miss Marple.

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  • SARAH
  • 05-22-21

struggled

I struggled though the start of this audio book, but enjoyed the ending and am warming to the character, will try book 2 , however may return , see how it goes .

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  • Margaret Freeman
  • 07-17-22

Ella of Salisbury

I love mysteries set in early England, but this one annoyed me. Some language used was so modern it caused me to flinch. It seemed to me there was a lot of fillers that could have been cut.
I did enjoy the bare bones of the mystery, but unfortunately not enough to read the next books.