Today's Feast (August 1): Saint Peter's Chains
King Herod sought to destroy the early church by destroying its leaders. He killed James the brother of John, and had Peter imprisoned with the intent of killing him, also.
However, the Church prayed to God, unceasingly petitioning for Peter's release, and their prayers were answered when an Angel came to Peter at night in the prison where he was chained between two guards. The chains fell off and the angel led Peter out into the street. Peter then gave thanks to God for his release.
As the Lord delivered the holy Apostle Peter from his chains in response to the intercessory prayers of others, may almighty God instill within us the grace to pray for delivery from our sins, and that His mercy preserve us from all evil. (the day's collect, page E 96, the People's Anglica Missal).
Books Worth Considering
The Twelve : The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary
The Inner Circle : Studying the Lives of 13 Apostles
The 12 Apostles: Their Lives & Acts (Children's Book)
The Treasury of Saints and Martyrs
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin)