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Publisher's Summary

Setting out for the Saint Giles leper colony outside Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael has more pressing matters on his mind than the grand wedding coming to his abbey. Yet as fate would have it, Cadfael arrives at Saint Giles just as the nuptial party passes the colony's gates. He sees the fragile bride looking like a prisoner between her two stern guardians and the bridegroom, an arrogant, fleshy aristocrat old enough to be her grandfather. And he quickly discerns this union may be more damned than blessed. Indeed, a savage murder will interrupt the May-December marriage and leave Brother Cadfael with a dark, terrible mystery to solve. For the key to the killing - and a secret - are hid among the lepers of Saint Giles. Now Brother Cadfael's skills must ferret out a sickness, not of the body, but of a twisted soul - in the fifth Brother Cadfael Chronicle, a work that displays Ellis Peters' special genius at her best.
©1981 by Ellis Peters (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Each addition to the series is a joy. Long may the Chronicles continue." (USA Today)

What listeners say about The Leper of Saint Giles

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent story, decent performance

As ever, Ellis Peters delivers an interesting mystery with creative characters set in medieval England. The single disappointment was the reader’s pronunciation of the name Cadfael. As he is the main character, it seems like the author would have made an attempt to discover how the name is usually pronounced or at least referred to other similar words as a guide. Israel, Raphael, Cadfael. Even Cadfile would have been acceptable but it is tedious to continually hear our favorite monk called “Cadfle.” This isn’t the only mangled name in the reading. Unfamiliar names can be a challenge to pronounce, but simple research should be part of the performer’s preparation.

2 people found this helpful

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The Leper of Saint Giles

Good. Moderately enteraining.

2 people found this helpful

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Another great listen!

Any additional comments?

I have been slowly going through the BC series, and have enjoyed them all thus far. But I want to comment specifically on the reader, Joanna Ward. There have been some comments on this, and other BC books, about her being a bad choice. I have to strongly disagree. Of the readers I have heard so far, she is clearly the top one. Her ability to add Welsh inflections, where needed, are terrific, and her male/female character voices are as good as anybody else's given that any reader, male or female, is going to be challenged to sound authentic doing the "other sex".

I have just started "Virgin in the Ice", and the reader (Vanessa Benjamin, I believe) is already bothering me immensely.

I wish that Joanna Ward had read them all.

1 person found this helpful

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Why was this narrator chosen?

I have read all of the Brother Cadfael books in French as well as English, and am a solid fan of this author and series.
While I enjoyed the accent of this narrator, however, and her skill, her efforts to convey male voices failed in my view (as a function of her voice capabilities), with the unfortunate and unintended consequence of making all of these characters (and almost all characters are male of course) sound pompous and self-important. I have much preferred male narrators for this series.

3 people found this helpful

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Favorite Cadfael so far - wonderful light mystery

This is the fifth Cadfael mystery and my favorite so far. This story is relatively short and, after the introduction, fast paced and concise. It is a light mystery with a touch of romance in which a pair of young lovers must do battle against a greedy patriarchy intent on selling off the young lady, and false charges beset the young man. Cadfael manages to solve the mystery with some help from some inhabitants at the local leper refuge. The various good guy characters are all extremely likable and I loved how they all came together to help out their comrade in need. The Cadfael stories are fun, cozy mysteries and this one was very hard to stop listening to.

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Fantastic

I loved watching the TV series. Very clever detective stories. Nice happy endings. Great stuff.

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great read

you will feel yourself transported to a world gone - a time when wolves still roamed England

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Questionable Narration

The narration of Ms Ward wasn't bad, except when she was speaking Cadfael's voice. The voice she used, supposedly to mimic Welsh speaking, was more reminiscent of Calcutta or Bombay. It was quite annoying. Only the excellence of Ellis Peters' story carried me to the conclusion. I'll make it a point to avoid Ms Ward's narration in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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Another well written Brother Cadfael mystery

What made the experience of listening to The Leper of Saint Giles the most enjoyable?

Well written story; well told

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

While the plot is good; the enjoyment for me is in the telling.

What does Joanna Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Like many peiople I

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

The whole series gives a wonderful picture of 14th century England. It is also provides a peep into customs, religion and the basics of forensics and criminal psychology. Reading in chronological order provides a good insight into a civil war not often written about.

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    2 out of 5 stars

No mystery at all

Well-narrated, but this murder was no mystery at all. I really dislike books peopled by caricatures rather than characters, who do stupid things merely to advance the plot. Ellis Peters is no grand master of crime.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bookaholic
  • 07-19-13

Good story, spoiled by narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes...it is a good Ellis Peter story...well written and interesting.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Totally! Her ludicrously bad attempt at a Welsh accent for Cadfael was so irritating and jarring that it spoiled the experience for me. It would have been better if she had not tried...I am amazed that the producers accepted it. Rather than being absorbed by the story I was constantly being wrenched into the present whenever Cadfael spoke!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Miss J. P. Ross
  • 01-19-18

Spoiled by poor narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The narrator's dreadful attempt at a Welsh accent entirely spoiled my enjoyment. Stephen Thorne's narration is superb and it is a pity Audible haven't commissioned him to read all the Ellis Peters books.

What other book might you compare The Leper of Saint Giles to, and why?

The other Ellis Peters Cadfael novels are all great entertainment.

How could the performance have been better?

By having the book narrated by Stephen Thorne.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 08-06-21

This is my favourite Cadfael story

But deary me the narration put me off. Didn’t get past a couple of chapters. Shame really as I was looking forward to it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nadia
  • 07-20-08

A masterpiece of historical fiction

This is the fifth in the absorbing and highly aclaimed Cadfael series and shows author Ellis Peters at her best. With deeply sympothetic characters, vivid descriptions and a fantastic twist, this is a great listen from start to finish.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sue
  • 02-04-16

Not my favourite reader

I loved the story but have already read it several times so I knew I would. BUT for the first time ever with an Audible book I was very disappointed with the reader. Stephen Thorne has read all the other Cadfael book I have listened to and I really feel it needs a male voice. More disappointingly she was particularly bad at the required accent for a Welshman and she, like so many people , think all country folk speak with the "oh ar" accent that dreadful TV peasants use. I am a proud Salopian born and bred here and know no one who speaks like that. If readers are unable to genuine local accents they should not try to differentiate Te voices but just use expression and emotion to read the different voices. I am also disappointment when people make no effort to find out. The proper pronunciation of place names which is probably the producer or directors job, not the reader .

1 person found this helpful

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  • beth
  • 03-10-22

St Giles

I really loved the story and the person who was narrating the story was exceptional.

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  • rutoap
  • 03-08-22

why choose a woman,?

I was very disappointed with this reader, she has a pleasant voice but there are few women in these stories and I found it difficult to differentiate between the characters. Didn't bother finishing.

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  • Ariadne
  • 11-12-21

What nationality has Cadfael become?

Generally I am relaxed about pronunciation but Cadfael’s Welshness is a major part of him. What accent the reader was trying I have no idea but it was so annoying I couldn’t stand it. Had she not tried for his accent it would have been fine. Please don’t do this again.

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  • Gryndkor
  • 10-09-21

Cadfael never fails

Having been a long-standing fan of the Cadfael television programme, I've finally dipped into the stories they were adapted from. I must say I very much enjoyed this reading, also pleased it was unabriged as well as amongst my few audiobook pet peeves is abridged readings.

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  • eleasine
  • 09-08-21

Mispronounced name

I love Ellis Peters Cadfael books. But surely the name is pronounced Cadfile or Cad fi el. At least everywhere I have checked says so. is everyone else wrong or did the narrator and editors choose to ignore this detail?

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  • Saraswati
  • 05-25-22

Good, especially as a freebie

If you really want the best of Ellis Peters, go for the male narrators.. they really suit the books. However there are two freebies, both by women narrators. I could not listen to the other one and gave up. This one, however, was perfectly listenable, unless, according to some other reviews, you're really familiar with Welsh accents which I'm not.
The story itself is enjoyable and holds attention. I've read all of the Ellis Peters books in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them.