The Sanctuary Sparrow



by Ellis Peters

Published 1983

One of the things that I greatly enjoy about the Cadfael books is Peters’s meticulous historical research.  She manages to weave history into these stories as naturally and seamlessly as breathing, giving them depth and background.  In this book, she explores the custom of sanctuary–that a man pursued, accused of a crime, may throw himself upon the altar and be granted a 30-day grace, as long as he stays confined to the pale.

While this story is as excellent as the others, I must take a moment to grant myself a caveat–while I love these books, I do not 100% agree with Peters’s morals (via the wisdom of Cadfael).  In this book, her/Cadfael’s views on extra-marital sex do not agree with mine; I do not believe that God is so cavalier towards these relations as Cadfael would have us believe; no where in Scripture do I find written that, so long as two people love each other, it’s okay to have sex outside of marriage.

But I believe that everyone will find something with which to disagree in every book, and so am willing to overlook and not particularly fuss about this attitude that goes against my personal beliefs.  I only bring it up here because it is actually a decent part of this particular story.

Still, all in all, another strong mystery.  5/5.