The Anglophilic Anglican has alluded to this excellent series of historical mysteries – “The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael,” by Ellis Peters (nom de plume of medieval scholar, author, and Shrewsbury, England, resident Edith Pargeter) – but I have not addressed them directly. Let me make up for that omission, now!
For those who may not be aware, the Cadfael Chronicles are a long-running series of medieval mysteries comprising 21 volumes – 20 novels and a short-story collection – written between 1977 and 1994, and set in 12th-century England: specifically, in the years 1137–1145, in and around the town (city) of Shrewsbury, near the Welsh border, and its Benedictine monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The protagonist, the eponymous Brother Cadfael of the aforementioned monastery, is both monk and herbalist, as well as a sort of medieval private investigator; a veteran Crusader and one-time sailor who – having seen much of the known world, in his first half-century or so – has chosen this quiet (?) harbor to live out the remainder of his earthy life.
An increasingly belligerent Iran has now seized a British tanker, and the UK and its Royal Navy seems, to all appearances, to be almost helpless to respond, or at least to respond promptly, sufficiently, and effectively.
“Another factor looming large over all response options must be the reality that the Royal Navy no longer has sufficient warships to dedicate to escorting maritime traffic through the Gulf and at the same time maintain its other commitments around the world.
“I know such an operation would be done as part of an alliance but it is troubling that a maritime nation like the UK, which is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is no longer able to offer even the semblance of a sovereign capability to protect its interests at sea.”