The Heretic’s Apprentice (Brother Cadfael #16) ★★★☆☆

hereticsapprentice (Custom)

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Title: The Heretic’s Apprentice
Series: Brother Cadfael #16
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 256
Format: Digital edition



A young man returns with his dead master from their journey to the Holy Land. There is some question about whether said master can be buried at the Abbey due to some of his statements said many years ago. All is resolved.

However, a jealous man then accuses the young man of heresy so as to get him out of the way of a job. When said jealous man turns up dead, things don’t look good for the young man. Throw in a young woman, a dowry, an Abbot that toes the Church line completely and you have a recipe for a mystery.

Cadfael and Hugh solve the murder mystery side of things and Ellis Peters gets to view her theological views using various Abbots, Bishops, whatevers. If we could only all get along, then it wouldn’t matter what we believe or the words we use to express said beliefs. (My synopsis of Peters’ views, which I vehemently disagree with)


My Thoughts:

Every once in a while I am reminded that I am reading about a Catholic monk in the 1100’s. As such, the views expressed by various characters can run very counter to my staunch Protestant beliefs. But it makes for a very interesting read instead of just a dull murder mystery. The biggest thing that I enjoyed seeing was how the characters referenced Scripture very rarely and various Church Fathers quite a lot. You can believe in almost anything if you just go with what men have written ABOUT the Bible instead of reading it for yourself. But even that idea goes against everything that the Catholic Church calls orthodoxy. Thank God I’m a protestant.

The whole mystery part was rather blasé to be honest. The man we’re supposed to think is the main culprit practically has neon signs pointing at him, so I knew it couldn’t possibly be him even while having no other options. I’m not the kind of reader that tries to figure the mystery out before the main character. Besides, arrogant jackasses like Poirot withhold information, so what’s the use? I’m just along for the ride.

On a completely non-review note, I’ve begun using “series” tags on WordPress. I have to admit, I never understood why people did that before, but now that I’m thinking of organizing my WP site to be more user/link/post friendly, I understand. I LOVE how my reviewing style keeps on changing to meet various wants and needs. Still not going to see me on twitter or facebook though.




19 thoughts on “The Heretic’s Apprentice (Brother Cadfael #16) ★★★☆☆

  1. Happy to hear the changing in tags! I didn’t know that was a thing but now that you mentioned it, its totally makes sense LOL I need to really try out a long book series :O I see this one a #16 … damnn. Dune is the largest in my reading collection so far XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I HATE Poirot. I mean, I gave up on Christie altogether after several of the books with him in it. After these books I’m going to read Murder on the Orient Express as a buddy read and then I suspect I’ll be done with mysteries as a genre for a decade or two.

      Withholding information from the reader, and letting them know you are, it just doesn’t sit well with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s the beauty of literature…”staunch Protestant beliefs”. We get the “experience” the “other side”…

    What do we believe in now? Celebrities? Politicians? Brand names? Football teams? Nothing? Everything? Are we any happier now, any better balanced, any wiser, any more humane? – Frankly I can’t see much evidence of it. In addition, mental health problems such as depression are soaring. Maybe the dwindling of religion and the rise in depression are related? The quote from Carl Jung, “The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith”, suggests that this may be the case. If it is, then the death of religion isn’t necessarily something to cheer about. If we are merely replacing men in dresses with men in white coats, are we really gaining very much?

    It would be interesting to see the comparative figures for depression between ‘religious’ people and those with none. I’d guess that they might provide food for thought.

    NB: You’d be better off reading P.D. James when it comes to “misteries”. Word of warning: she did not do “misteries”…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. With reading I get a wider viewpoint even if I don’t accept it.

      Being a Fundamental Christian, I certainly believe that the only lasting happiness and joy to be found in this fallen world is through Jesus Christ. Nothing else can last.

      Speaking of religious vs non-religious and mental health, several years ago there was a book released, ’09 or 10 I think, that talked about the brain and meditation. I can’t think of it’s name or the author off the top of my head, but it was quite enlightening about how our bodies respond to meditation and prayer, period.

      As for further mysteries, I might check out James. I need some non-SFF books to give me balance 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I find your remarks about Catholicism/Protestantism really interesting – I haven’t noticed so many differences between those two before, despite some theoretical knowledge. In one of your earlier posts about Cadfael you mentioned atonement as a strongly differentiating point between those two branches of Christianity – that was really cool to see the differences play out in reality, not only in theory 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m a firm believer in theology that shapes your actions. I realize there are theologians who talk about esoteric matters, matters that should be discussed, but unless it affects how I live, I don’t worry too much about it.

      But if it does affect how you live your life, you better have some really good reasons for such things.

      Of course, being so deeply in the midst of it, for my whole life, sometimes it is hard for me to tell where something is based on what I believe and something that I’ve always just done 🙂

      One of the main differences though is that if it’s not in the Bible, it’s only secondary even if my pastor talks it up. For catholics, it’s the other way around, what the priest says is the final word.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, I don’t think Catholicism is so bent on the priest’s word – it’s more about a unequivocalness reached through a consensus, in which the priests and the pope have the final word – as evidenced by the Vatican I and II. Protestantism has a more individual bend, I think. And a decidedly different outlook on providence and predestination 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, depending on which sect you’re talking about in Protestantism, it runs the whole gamut.

          And honestly, with the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation, there has been a big movement to bring catholics and protestants back together.

          Liked by 1 person

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