Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #3)

Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death Series #3)

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by Ariana Franklin
     
 

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England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey— one of England's holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthur's sacred Isle of Avalon—has been burned almost to the ground. The arsonist remains at large, but the fire has uncovered something even more shocking: two hidden skeletons, a man and a woman. The skeletons' height and age send

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Overview

England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey— one of England's holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthur's sacred Isle of Avalon—has been burned almost to the ground. The arsonist remains at large, but the fire has uncovered something even more shocking: two hidden skeletons, a man and a woman. The skeletons' height and age send rumors flying—are the remains those of Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II hopes so. Struggling to put down a rebellion in Wales, where the legend of Celtic savior Arthur is particularly strong, Henry wants definitive proof that the bones are Arthur's. If the rebels are sure that the Once and Future King will not be coming to their aid, Henry can stamp out the insurgence for good. He calls on Adelia Aguilar, Mistress of the Art of Death, to examine the bones. Henry's summons comes not a moment too soon, for Adelia has worn out her welcome in Cambridge. As word of her healing powers has spread, so have rumors of witchcraft. So Adelia...

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Science and romance vie with superstition and barbarism in this richly detailed, almost indecently thrilling mystery.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Set in 1176, Franklin's excellent third Mistress of the Art of Death novel (after The Serpent's Tale) finds Adelia Aguilar, a "qualified doctor from the School of Medicine in Salerno," in the holy town of Glastonbury, where Henry II has sent her to inspect two sets of bones rumored to be those of Arthur and Guinevere. Henry is hoping that an unequivocally dead Arthur will discourage the rebellious Welsh. The bones have been uncovered by the few monks, under the saintly Abbot Sigward, who remain after a terrible and mysterious fire devastated the town and abbey. Adelia's party includes her loyal Arabian attendant, Mansur, whose willingness to play the role of doctor allows Adelia to be his "translator" and practice the profession she loves; and Gyltha, Mansur's lover and the caretaker of Adelia's small daughter, Allie. Eloquently sketched characters, including a ragtag group of Glastonbury men down on their luck, and bits of medieval lore flavor the constantly unfolding plot. (Mar.)

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Library Journal

In 12th-century England, a fire at Glastonbury Abbey-one of England's holiest sites-uncovers an ancient box containing the skeletons of a man and a woman. King Henry II calls on his "mistress of the Art of Death," Adelia Aguilar, to identify the bones. The devastated community of Glastonbury, as well as King Henry, would like them to be Arthur and Guinevere. Adelia enlists her regular cadre of companions (Mansur, Gyltha, and daughter Allie) to help her investigate. Franklin's third entry in her medieval historical series (after Mistress of the Art of Death and The Serpent's Tale) re-creates a living, breathing past populated with entertaining characters. This medieval Arthurian mystery is fascinating on many levels and very readable. Franklin, a pseudonym for British author Diana Norman, is a perfect combination of Kathy Reichs and Sharon Kay Penman. The ending leaves an opening for yet another adventure for this cast of characters. Highly recommended for all mystery collections.
—Susan Hayes

Kirkus Reviews
The third volume in a successful British historical criminal-investigation series sees its heroine attempting to authenticate the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Glastonbury, ancient abbey and possible site of Avalon, where, myth suggests, the once and future king Arthur rests, awaiting his return, is the setting for Franklin's latest (The Serpent's Tale, 2008, etc.) smartly paced and neatly delivered 12th-century Adelia mystery featuring an Italian-born doctor unique in her forensic and healing abilities. Having assisted King Henry II before, she is now commissioned by him again to examine the two bodies, one male, one female, found in a coffin in a Glastonbury graveyard and to establish as far as possible that these are Arthur's remains, in order to suppress Welsh hopes that the ancient king will come again to lead their rebellions. An occasionally ragged web of subplots involving the disappearance of Adelia's friend Lady Wolvercote, the identity of the man who burned down Glastonbury Abbey, a savage robber named Wolf, the mad innkeeper's wife and a son murdered by his own father tends to dominate the pages and tip the book's balance to include more action and less detection. Adelia, a rationalist and modernist with opinions on pacifism and contraception, also sets aside some of her logic when her ex-lover, the Bishop of St. Albans, reappears and wins her heart once more. A long denouement ties up most loose ends while leaving the door open for volume four. A well-researched, colorful, sometimes comical and often engaging mystery, although the series is beginning to show more signs of familiarity than freshness. Agent: Helen Heller/Helen Heller Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143170013
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
02/17/2009
Series:
Mistress of the Art of Death Series, #3
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.90(d)

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