In our noisy and technologically correct secular society, mystery and silence are as absent as they are secretly craved. Two of the most austere Western monastic orders to distill this countercultural craving are the Carthusians and Trappists. They share the three vows of obedience, stability of place and conversion of life. The Carthusians are the focus of Nancy Maguire’s book. I myself belong to the Trappist tradition.