Synopses & Reviews
Ariana Franklin combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of historical fiction in the enthralling second novel in the Mistress of the Art of Death series, featuring medieval heroine Adelia Aguilar.
Rosamund Clifford, the mistress of King Henry II, has died an agonizing death by poison and the king's estranged queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the prime suspect. Henry suspects that Rosamund's murder is probably the first move in Eleanor's long-simmering plot to overthrow him. If Eleanor is guilty, the result could be civil war. The king must once again summon Adelia Aguilar, mistress of the art of death, to uncover the truth. Adelia is not happy to be called out of retirement. She has been living contentedly in the countryside, caring for her infant daughter, Allie. But Henry's summons cannot be ignored, and Adelia must again join forces with the king's trusted fixer, Rowley Picot, the Bishop of St. Albans, who is also her baby's father. Adelia and Rowley travel to the murdered courtesan's home, in a tower within a walled labyrinth-a strange and sinister place from the outside, but far more so on the inside, where a bizarre and gruesome discovery awaits them. But Adelia's investigation is cut short by the appearance of Rosamund's rival: Queen Eleanor. Adelia, Rowley, and the other members of her small party are taken captive by Eleanor's henchmen and held in the nunnery of Godstow, where Eleanor is holed up for the winter with her band of mercenaries, awaiting the right moment to launch their rebellion.
Isolated and trapped inside the nunnery by the snow and cold, Adelia and Rowley watch as dead bodies begin piling up. Adelia knows that there may be more than one killer at work, and she must unveil their true identities before England is once again plunged into civil war...
"Set in 12th-century England, Franklin's mesmerizing second historical delivers on the promise of her first, Mistress of the Art of Death (2007). When Rosamund Clifford, Henry II's mistress, is poisoned, Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar must draw on her formidable forensic skills to try to uncover the killer. The prime suspect is Henry's estranged wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who once plotted to overthrow the king. Adelia reunites with Rowley Picot, now a bishop as well as the father of Adelia's child, and the two set out on a dangerous journey, during which they brave a blizzard and Eleanor's band of ruthless mercenaries. Franklin, the pen name of Diana Norman, brings medieval England to life, from the maze surrounding Rosamund's tower to the royal court's Christmas celebration, with ice skating on the frozen Thames. A colorful cast of characters, both good and evil, enhance a tale that will keep readers on edge until the final page." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Franklin's deft characterizations and the provocative manner in which she handles tricky concepts carry a book that bodes well for the further adventures of Adelia." Chicago Sun-Times
"A deliciously dark and effective concoction of historical fiction, suspense, romance, adventure and forensics." Miami Herald
"A warm, promising continuation of the series." Kirkus Reviews
The follow-up to Mistress of the Art of Death- in the national bestselling series hailed as "the medieval answer to Kay Scarpetta and the CSI detectives."
When King Henry II's mistress is found poisoned, suspicion falls on his estranged queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The king orders Adelia Aguilar, expert in the science of death, to investigate-and hopefully stave off civil war. A reluctant Adelia finds herself once again in the company of Rowley Picot, the new Bishop of St. Albans...and her baby's father. Their discoveries into the crime are shocking- and omens of greater danger to come.
Adelia is back in action! Ariana Franklin combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of medieval fiction in this enthralling historical novel, the second in the Mistress of the Art of Death
About the Author
Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A former journalist, Norman has written several critically acclaimed biographies and historical novels. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, film critic Barry Norman.