Synopses & Reviews
Etheldreda, Princess of East Anglia, Queen of Northumbria and Abbess of Ely, was a remarkable woman who lived in restless, violent times not unlike our own, when old beliefs were dying and new ones were struggling to emerge. Pagan clashed with Christian as the seven kingdoms of the Germanic tribes warred against each other and against the native Celts. Occasionally an uneasy peace was bought by the skilful use of the 'diplomatic marriage', and twice Etheldreda, though vowed to chastity, submitted to marriage for political reasons. When her second husband refused to accept the 'arrangement' between them, she fled south, her escape to the Island of Ely apparently aided by storms that intervened on her behalf. She lived only a few years as abbess of the religious community she founded at Ely before dying of plague. Ever since, pilgrims have turned to her for miracles of help and healing. But this is not just the story of a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon saint. It is about the general human struggle to comprehend the enigma of existence and to come to terms with Christ's God, faced as we are by a violent and cruel world. It is about the periods when we give up the struggle, reverting either to the darkest negativity or to superstition - and the rare but wonderful periods when we are lifted high by the inrush of spiritual certainty. This edition also contains several pages of chronology, genealogy, place names, notes and a map.