I always find it difficult to review a book for which I am already familiar with the characters. Having watched the television series, I was able to envision some of the characters and the scenery, which is a good thing; however, this double edge knife also produces a desire for the book to just get on with it. I should know better than to read a book that I know from other media, something I usually tend to avoid.
As you would expect, the first quarter of the book sets the character of Cadfael and the main members of the Shrewsbury Abbey for the rest of the series, and then it finally gets to the actual story. Itself turns out to be both a murder-mystery and an allegorical tale about the validity of what is housed in those saintly reliquaries.
The novel is what I expected it would be for a twenty-five-plus year old medieval mystery and for the having satisfied my desire for a short romp into the past with eclectic characters. However, my one criticism is that for such an aged tale, you'd think the publishers would have sussed out the typos and duplicate words by now. Though I admit that this failure will not prevent me from reading the other titles in the series.