Eleventh of the author's civilized, imaginative forays into 12th-century England and, once again, we have the clever sleuthing of warm, wise Benedictine monk Brother Cadfael (The Sanctuary Sparrow, etc.). Driven out by civil war in the north, Brother Humilus--hero of the Crusades, now dying of old wounds and devotedly attended by young, mute Brother Fidelis--finds refuge in Cadfael's abbey at Shrewsbury. Humilus had released his promised bride, Julian Cruce, three years before, upon entering the brotherhood. Now his protÃ‰gÃ‰ and one-time lieutenant Nicholas Harnage seeks to marry her and finds she has disappeared--her family thinking her safe in the convent she had decided to enter, the convent knowing nothing of her. How the lost is found, with numerous surprising ramifications that bear on the puzzle, tests Cadfael's wits and ingenuity to the limit and provides the reader with unflagging tension, which builds to a sweeping, satisfying climax. Peters never disappoints--her absorbing, superbly crafted stories are one of the oases in a desert of mediocrity.