When Gervase Bonel, a guest at the Shrewsbury Abbey, takes ill, Brother Cadfael, an expert herbalist, runs to his side, only to discover that his patient has been poisoned by monk's hood oil taken from Cadfael's own laboratory. Reprint.
Lady Richildis Vaughan Gurney Bonel: Affianced secretly to Cadfael before he went off to the Crusades. Married Carpenter Eward Gurney - two children: Sibil and Edwin. Married Gervase Bonal. No children.
Brother Mark: 18 year old novice apprenticed to Brother Cadfael. Quiet except with Cadfael, he has a quick mind, and hears between the lines. He learns well and is adept with the herbs and medications, and the observations of Brother Cadfael.
Brother Jerome: toadying clerk to Prior Robert, willing taking over Brother Richard's duties when he can
Brother Petrus: Abbey's main cook, fond of Abbot Heribert, deeply dislikes Prior Robert's officious ways.
Brother Rhys: Elderly Welsh monk with a wandering mind and aches in his shoulders and back
Meurig: a kind young man recognized and apprenticed by his father(bastard son of Bonel and Angharad) to carpenter Martin Bellecote, and a great nephew of Brother Rhys- by his sister's unmarried niece Angharad, serving girl to Gervase Bonel
Edwin Gurney: Late child born to Eward and Richildis Gurney, Stepson and heir of Gervase Bonel.Has apprenticed himself to his sister Sibil's husband, Master Carpenter Martin Bellecote. Uncle of Edwy Bellicote though several months younger.
Edwy Bellicote: Oldest child and son of Sibil and Master Carpenter Martin Bellecote. Nephew of his several months younger uncle.
Martin Bellicote: Master carpenter married to Sibil, Edwin Gurney's sister, 4 children: Edwy - 14, Alys-11, Thomas-8, and Diota-4. He was journeyman to Sibil and Edwin's father.
Hugh Beringar: Assistant Sheriff to Prescotte, friend who seeks truth and justice as does Brother Cadfael
Ifor ap Morgan: Meurig's grandfather, a very old man, who still is mentally quick and caring
On this particular morning at the beginning of December, in the year 1138, Brother Cadfael came to chapter in tranquility of mind, prepared to be tolerant even towards the dull, pedestrian reading of Brother Francis, and long-winded legal haverings of Brother Benedict the sacristan.
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