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Publisher's Summary

The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfael's tranquil life in Shrewsbury with the most disturbing events. Raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two orphans from a noble family, a boy of thirteen and an 18-year-old girl of great beauty, and their companion, a young Benedictine nun. But the trio, never reaching Shrewsbury, have disappeared somewhere in the wild countryside.

Cadfael feels afraid these three lost lambs, but another call for help sends him to the Church of Saint Mary. A wounded monk, found naked and bleeding by the roadside, will surely die without Cadfael's healing arts. Why this holy man has been attacked and what his fevered ravings reveal soon give Brother Cadfael a clue to the fate of the missing travelers. Now Cadfael sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. The road will lead him to a chill and terrible murder and a tale of passion gone awry. And at journey's end awaits a vision of what is best, and worst, in humankind...in Ellis Peters's most stunning depiction yet of love and war.

©1982 by Ellis Peters (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Virgin in the Ice

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

medieval mystery tour

I always enjoy the Brother Cadfael mysteries, as long as I don't listen to them one after the other - the utterly formulaic nature of the writing becomes irritating. There is something very soothing and engaging about these books, and the Virgin in the Ice is very typical of the series.
The narrator has a nice voice, but she give Cadfael a very posh, pompous upper class accent. This is really a strange choice, given that Cadfael is very Welsh (a fact that is repeatedly commented on in the narrative) and very down-to-earth. The accent and characterisation is completely wrong for him. I found that jarring throughout the book.
Otherwise, a nice, fun mystery that unfolds gently.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pixie Spritely
  • 07-01-2010

Excellent story, narrator a bit rough

Having listened to Ward narrate the previous books, I really can't listen to Benjamin's voices for male characters. She sounds as though she's telling a story to little children and using her "big bad wolf" gruff voice. I shall repurchase this title with the Thorne narration.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vivian
  • 06-01-2004

THE BEST

I have listen to a lot of Ellis Peters', Brother Cadfael books and this is my favorite so far. Reader is very good. Look forward to downloading the 2 or 3 Ellis Peters i do not have.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 29-07-2011

Good story marred by poor reader

The story is up to Peters' usual standard. Unfortunately, the reader seems unable to offer a Welsh accent, and all the male characters sound the same, which caused me a lot of confusion at times. The 13 year old male character sounded like a 6 year old. Poor narration.
Unfortunately, in Australia, we are unable to download the version with the male narrator. Pity.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bodiccea
  • 22-12-2016

Sooooooo boring

Any additional comments?

I've been enjoying the Brother Cadfael series but after several hours of listening, I have to give up on this one. After a promising start, the story unravels into one group of people travelling across country looking for one person, another couple heading out looking for someone else, yet another one travelling here and there. It goes on and on and on with little or no action other than riding or walking about. I suppose at some point someone will find someone else but I've reached the end of caring.

As others have mentioned, the narrator is not very good at male voices. She has a lovely speaking voice but tries a bit too hard with the male voices. She's also a bit louder with the male voices, which resulted in my constantly adjusting the volume. Life is too short for this kind of aggravation!

1 person found this helpful

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  • MRC
  • 03-01-2021

the best in storytelling

Ellis Peter's is at the top of her game with this fast-paced mystery within a mystery within a mystery. Extremely engaging and satisfying!

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  • Delores
  • 11-11-2020

Poor narrator

I am struggling to listen to this story as it's difficult to distinguish between each character. The narrator's reading of the characters lacks distinct voices and she is generally somewhat slow and pedantic sounding. I've listened to other books with predominantly male characters voiced by a female narrator and they've been quite good and easy to follow. I will avoid this particular narrator.

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  • Wild Horses Flying
  • 19-10-2020

Gentle wisdom

I love how Ellis Peters brought gentleness and peace to the working outs of raucous, treacherous, human bad acts. Brother Cadfael functions as sort of a monk policeman and a counselor and as such -- often finds non-violent resolutions to problems and crimes. She wrote these as stories but I can't help but think, even believe, that if we brought a bunch of Cadfaels into our policing forces -- crime would be reduced and problems solved before they became crimes - - the "attitude" you know -- of wanting to HELP instead of "attack" and "accuse" being the knee-jerk modus operandi. I know, Hard to do in our high speed world. Still . . . ;)

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  • Pearl Margareta
  • 05-08-2018

Wasted money on this recording!

I am sorry to say that this recording is NOT what I am used to, when other narrators have read the Cadfael books.This narrator, Vanessa Benjamin, is making some characters too pompous (Cadfael and Hugh Beringar are not pompous!) and sometimes it is hard to understand Who is saying What, for example, when two males are talking! Only female and children are o.k. Besides that - here and there in the recording there are odd tin-scraping noices, like nails on a tin roof. Not nice at all!

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  • JH Porter
  • 26-11-2017

5-star story, 4-star reading

I missed Cadfael's Welsh accent, as Stephen Thorne reads it. But still a good and satisfying mystery.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-03-2017

Bait and switch

Again. Buying thru amazon, audible set this up so you don't get the version you think you are getting. Not only that you then have to deal with audible instead of Amazon if you want it fixed. Amazon fixes problems. Audible makes excuses.

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  • Nigel
  • 13-05-2013

Good story, problemswith the narration.

Fans of Cadfael will enjoy the story. The only problem is the narrator. She reads the story line well but can't pull off a "male voice" and as most of the characters are male it rather sounds a bit silly.

3 people found this helpful

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  • shirley
  • 24-01-2014

disappointing in parts not a clear download

Would you try another book written by Ellis Peters or narrated by Vanessa Benjamin?

no i don't think so these stories are best read my a man

What did you like best about this story?

the cadfael stories are always good

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Vanessa Benjamin?

derick jacobi

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

no reaction

Any additional comments?

i have always enjoyed books on tape or cd i found this one not as enjoyable as my others

2 people found this helpful

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  • Praxis
  • 09-09-2020

Terrible narrator! STEPHEN THORNE needed!

Regret spending birthday money in haste on this when didn’t have time to listen. Now way beyond return date sadly. Vanessa has terrible accents, too abrasive a voice for Cadfael stories & from inappropriate pauses etc, no understanding of significant bits in Cadfael plots or social mores & political mores of time. Joanna David does a decently good job, but THE DEFINITIVE AUDIO CADFAEL is STEPHEN THORNE, who narrated all 21 Cadfael stories unabridged onto audiotape. His attractive voice, great accents & phrasing cannot be bettered for Cadfael stories.His narrations are a joy!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lucy
  • 08-06-2017

Great story, terrible delivery

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Bring back Stephen Thorne

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Vanessa Benjamin?

Stephen Thorne

Any additional comments?

It's always galling when the narrator mispronounces words. When VB got the name of one of the principle characters wrong, I gave up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 01-12-2015

Great story - poor naration

The story is the normal high quality, but the reader has Cadfael far too english

1 person found this helpful

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  • C
  • 18-11-2015

good story / presentation could be better

despite a good story. names mispronounced and no Welsh accents made it an annoying listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • sianeflewog
  • 16-02-2019

Disappointed

Having heard previous books performed by Stephen Thorne, I found this rendition a poor offering. The narration was poor, tedious and flat in delivery. Will not be purchasing any more by this narrator.

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