Ellis Peters, author of the Brother Cadfael mystery series, is one of my favorite writers. She has the ability to combine historical reality with memorable fictional people many of whom have a strong moral or religious character. Obviously one of them is the lead personage, Brother Cadfael, a Welsh-born former soldier who comes to his calling late in life at the Benedictine monastery of Shrewsbury. This English border town and castle are a perfect setting during the contested bid for monarchy in the 13th century where several battles actually occurred; it also highlights the Welsh/English cultural conflicts that exist to this day.
As Edith Pargeter she also wrote The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet, a thoughtful reimagining of kingship of 13thcentury Wales again with strong characters, family conflict and competing alliances. It’s a terrific read.
The first in the Cadfael series, about a quarrel over the relocation of a saint’s relics, A Morbid Taste for Bones, has a twisty plot and a good dose of irony.