Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin

Author: Ariana Franklin
Publisher/Format: audiobook: Books On Tape, 10 hrs 47 min
print: Putnam Adult (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Narrator: Kate Reading
Characters: Adelia Aguilar, Mansur, Rowley - Bishop of St Albans, Henry II
Subject: murder and mayhem, early forensic science, women in medicine
Setting: 12th century England
Series: Mistress of the Art of Death
Genre: historical fiction
Source: public library audio download, my own shelves

Is King Arthur still alive? Or are those his bones found in a deep pit in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset England after the great earthquake of 1154?  These are questions King Henry II wants answered so he summons his secret "Doctor of Death"- Mistress (Doctor) Adelia Aguilar- to determine the identify of the bones.  If Arthur is still alive, his legend poses a threat to Henry;  if dead, should his tomb become a tourist attraction to enable the Abbey to be rebuilt (and of course, enrich Henry's coffers)?  Adelia finds herself once again dragged into Henry's web of intrigue, and into the presence of her former lover and father of her child, Rowley Picot, now the powerful Bishop of St. Albans.  Will the illicit romance re-ignite?

Readers of the previous two books in the series, Mistress of the Art of Death and The Serpent's Tale, will rejoice in the continuing saga of Adelia and Rowley, Mansur, Lady Emma, King Henry, little Allie, and all the forces of good and evil.  Readers who are not familiar with the series will have no trouble jumping right in.  These are well researched historical fiction with extensive author notes. But aside from the historical accuracy, they are enjoyable mysteries with excellent plots, well described settings, scary twists, page-turning scenarios, and a good romance.  This third in the series is just as enjoyable as the first two. 

I also find these are pleasant reads in both formats: print and audio.  It is quite easy to read in print and then continue one's "reading" while driving or exercising by listening to the very well-done audios.

I'm looking forward to reading the fourth in the series A Murderous Procession.  Unfortunately, it is also the last in the series since the author died earlier this year.  I've heard rumors that their may be unfinished manuscripts lying around, but can find no solid evidence.  So I think I'm saving this last one to savor later this year.


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