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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

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The leper of st giles

This is a story that I have read many times, but the first time that I have listened to the audiobook.
On the whole it was good - but the narrator would have been better giving Cadfael an English accent (as was done in the TV series) as the attempt at a Welsh accent ended up sounding more like someone from India.


Note for Cadfael fans : re the TV series - Apart from one adaptation I mostly enjoyed the series. Sir Derek Jacobi was a fine Cadfael, but for me was too posh. As I had been reading the books well before the series was filmed I had my own vision of Cadfael and he was rougher and quite Welsh.

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A good listen.

really enjoyed this, it was slightly different to others in that Cadfael goes off and does a lot of sleuthing but other aspects are explored at the leper colony which rounds out the story. The narrator was good except for her unsuccessful Welsh accent for Cadfael which sounded rather silly.

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Narrator can't read

This is a great story but the narrator literally can't read, what a shame and I find her terrible Welsh accent quite insulting.

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Very enjoyable apart from a terrible Welsh accent

An old favourite and I enjoyed the performance very much but, oh I wish someone had given the narrator instruction in a Welsh accent, it did spoil the narration for me. Although her depiction of Agnes in her final scene was magnificent

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Brother Cadfael

Just like with the preceding books, the story was engaging and a travel to a different time and world. It was very interesting to see how the characters develop and the story line unfolds. The only minor complaint is that I got used to the voice of Stephen Thorne and while Joanna Ward did a good job, I would like that continuity.

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Disappointing.

The narration of this book constantly detracted from the story.

Why do they insist on people who are unable to give adequate voice to Brother Cadfael?

Joanna Ward would have been better advised to read without accent. Her version of Cadfael put him all over the British Isles and the Asian sub continent!

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Great story but not best narrator

Stephen Thorne did a great job with Cadfael, so it's sad he didn't read them all. Still Joanna Ward is reasonable if you're happy with a reader rather than a performer- she (thankfully) avoids putting on silly voices as some do!
It's a great story, no question, and unabridged, thank God.

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  • Wm Bruce Ford
  • 25-10-09

The Leper of Saint Giles

Good. Moderately enteraining.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tom
  • 05-12-12

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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  • monique
  • 19-11-11

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MRC
  • 10-01-21

great read

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

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  • Suzo
  • 23-05-18

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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  • JOYCE H.
  • 19-12-11

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kimberly
  • 11-10-08

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