Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grave Goods: A Mistress of the Art of Death Novel by Ariana Franklin (Book 3)

Two years after the events of The Serpent's Tale, the Celts continue to fight Henry's rule, believing that King Arthur will return to repel the invading Saxons. When two bodies are discovered, Henry calls on Adelia to prove they are those of Arthur and Guinevere. If she does, the Celts should fall into line. In her third mystery featuring King Henry II's mistress of the art of death, Ariana Franklin delivers another perfect mix of history, legend, mystery, and thriller.
I love this series! It is a must-buy when a new book comes out. Unfortunately, I now have to wait a year for the next book to be released! If there is a next book. I am not even entirely sure how many books there are supposed to be in the end. One of the things about these being must-buys is that I often have no idea what the book is about. I was reading the back of the book when I bought it and discovered for the first time that this book had a connection to Arthur and Guinevere. Considering Arthurian literature is one of my favourite types, I was very curious to see how Franklin was going to pull things off because Arthur (if he really existed) would have been dead for quite some time before the events in the novel took place.

As the description says, this series is a mix of 'history, legend, mystery, and thriller'. I think that is why I like it so much. Adelia is the mistress of the art of death. Her parents let her lead a very unconventional life for the times, so she is in essence ahead of her time. She has a good grasp of anatomy and this is how she figures out the secrets of those that are deceased. For our times, it is nothing quite so revolutionary, but for Adelia's time it was something that she had to keep almost entirely a secret. King Henry II knows the secret, though, and he calls on her to solve his mysteries for him. This time it has been revealed that it is entirely possible that Arthur and Guinevere were buried in Glastonbury. Henry has been fighting a war with the Saxons who believe that Arthur is in hiding and will come back and help them win. Henry very much wants these bodies to be the famous couple so that he can put an end to this disasterous war. As a result, Adelia is sent to Glastonbury to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Glastonbury has just recently suffered a great fire which destroyed most of the buildings and the town. Part of the mystery is figuring out just how the fire was set. In the midst of the fire and the bones, though, there is a lot more going on. Things are never straight forward for Adelia. The person that is believed to have set the fire is now deceased, but he had his followers. The followers believe that he was in fact innocent and want the Mistress to prove it. Then, there are the dark things that are happening in the woods that line the king's road. That aspect of the book is a little creepy. I read so much fantasy, though, that I think I was reading a bit too much into things. And, that is just the beginning of all the things that Adelia finds herself swept up in. Franklin never has just one story that she follows from beginning to end, there is always a lot going on amongst the pages. I think that is one of the reasons why her series is popular.

While I didn't like this book as much as the first book in the series, I am still a big fan of the series and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Adelia is a great main character, but I am also very fond of many of the secondary characters. I strongly recommend this series!


  1. I am hoping that my library won't take so long to add this one to the catalogue as it did for the second one in the series.

  2. I have this one on preorder at Amazon. I loved the first book and thought the second was even better. I can't wait to read the third book, and I hope the series will continue for a long time.

  3. Marg: Yeah, I guess it isn't entirely out yet. Not until later in March. I must have a UK version or something.

    Felicia: It was a good book. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. I really want to read this series but I haven't had the time yet. Book 1 is sitting right here next to me :-S

  5. this os sound like a wonderful series, great review!

  6. You have been given an award over on my blog: . . Come and check it out! :)

    And I just saw The Serpent's Tale out in paperback at my bookstore. . .Cool to know that there is a third book!