UNREQUITED LOVE, UNBLEMISHED HONOR, UNHOLY HOMICIDE
AnneMarie Lowell (AMLowell@aol.com) | New York City | 04/03/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Clemens is no ordinary monk; no homespun and sandals for him. He is garbed and bejeweled like a nobleman. His horse's trappings even match! Cleric Clemens is on the King's business when he stops to visit his cousin, Leoric Ashby, whose manor lies near Shrewsbury.... Sir Derek Jacobi's Cadfael is superb. He utilizes every tool in an expert actor's bag to turn Ellis Peters' paper and ink character into a three-dimensional Medieval monk, full of life, wisdom, and wit. Eion McCarthy (Hugh Beringar) is seen briefly, but the tall, handsome gentleman commands one's attention when he is on screen. Being an abbot cannot be an easy job, but Terrence Hardiman (Abbot Radulfus) makes it seem effortless with his fine acting. Michael Culver (Prior Robert) and Julian Firth (Brother Jerome) are never boring and provide occasional moments of mirth with their zealous piety. Mark Charnock (Oswin) is energetic and endearing as usual. In this episode, Albie Woodington (Sergeant Warden) has the opportunity to show off his thespian talents.As Leoric Ashby, Julian Glover is somberly solid. Christien Anholt (Meriet) succeeds as a beleagured brooding youth. Ian Reddington (Peter Clemens) is an arrogant politico; you like to dislike him. Ian McNeice (Canon Eloard) is an adroit emissary. Louisa Milwood-Haigh (Isobel) is refreshing and charming. Why Meriet is infatuated with Rosanna when this lovely, intelligent and vivacious young woman is around is a mystery. Praise to Chloe Annett for her Rosanna. Patrick Toomey (Tristan) may be handsome and the favored first son, but he is a sorry excuse for a nobleman, and that's not easy to be. Daniel Betts (Janyn) is deceptively good as Rosanna's brother and Meriet's best friend.Directed by Herbert Wise with screenplay by Christopher Russell, "The Devil's Novice" is wickedly entertaining and intriguing. Producer Stephen Smallwood is to be complimented on the consistent quality of the Cadfael series."
A must for mystery fans; similar to "The Name of the Rose"
Xeneri | 08/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never read any of the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters you are in for a treat. This series originaly broadcast on the BBC are faithful adaptions about a master sleuth in Monk's clothing. Brother Cadfael is a monk with a difference and never what he seems. Given a choice, he would rather work in his garden or practice his herbal remedies. But too often, events force him to use his detective skills in response to mysterious crimes happening in his community, often finding himself at odds with the medievil times in which he lives.As the former soldier turned monk, Derek Jacobi's Cadfael is a subtle marvel, full of full of wisdom, and wit.(this performance rivals his previous masterful work on "I, Claudius".) Surrounded by an equally fine supporting cast, most notably Terrence Hardiman as Abbot Radulfus, Michael Culver as Prior Robert and Julian Firth as Brother Jerome, the mysteries are always intriguing with occasional sly humor thrown in for good measure. I'm resisting telling you anything about the story itself, as I'd rather you experience it for yourselves. Suffice it to say, if you enjoy a good mystery, you will enjoy this series. A must for mystery fans and those who appreciate films like "The Name of the Rose.""
A HELLION IN MONK'S CLOTHING
Bonita L. Davis | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shrewsbury Abbey is blessed to receive a new novice into its brotherhood. He's young, determined, passionate and willing to risk anything to serve Christ. Or at least it seems that way. His mad ravings in the night wakes up the entire household. Oswin believes him possessed by demons. Brother Jerome confiscates personal items from him and nearly gets choked to death. Cadfael witnesses the scene and begins to wonder if this young man is truly sincere in joining the order. Added onto the bedlam in the Abbey is the disappearance of the king's chaplain ( a son of a gun)who just happens to be a kinsmen of our new novice. His disappearance reaches the ears of the church's canon who readily comes down to find out what happened to the king's clerical emissary. All hell breaks lose as the body of the chaplain has been found burned. Who has committed this murder? Our novice confesses the crime. Cadfael doesn't believe it for a moment and begins the process of uncovering the truth. While doing so, he finds a father who has for years with-held his love and affection to his younger son. We see the flirtateous and ambitious bride of the elder son flaunt herself before the chaplain and show her disdain for her in-laws. Further uncovered is the corruption of the clergy who are all to willing to use the priesthood as another avenue of obtaining power. Such elements of intrigue contained in the feature makes you take a second look at family loyalty and church obedience. What happens when the two lose the love which is the foundation for all? Join Cadfael as he attempts to unravel this mystery not just of a murderer but the motives behind everything that was done. Derek Jacobi and his fine supporting players have done an excellent job in bringing these issues to the foreground."