Friday, April 9, 2010

A Glastonbury Tale

Title: Relics of the Dead
Author: Ariana Franklin
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Press, 2009


US title - Grave Goods.

England, 1176. 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 monks of the abbey have discovered two strange skeletons buried in their graveyard - one is tall, like that of a warrior, the other small and delicate. Are these the remains of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere?

On hearing of the discovery, King Henry II demands evidence that the legendary Arthur is dead - he needs to stop his belligerent Welsh subjects believing that their Once and Future King will return to lead them against him. So he calls upon his Mistress of the Art of Death, the anatomist Adelia Aquilar, to examine the bones. She is happy to comply because as her reputation for healing has become well known so have the rumours of witchcraft and it is time for her to leave her home in Cambridge.

But someone doesn't want the skeletons identified - and is prepared to kill in order to prevent it.
This is the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series and once again the author delivers a delightful romp of a narrative filled with adventure , intrigue and humour. I love this series and have no interest in listening to those critics who waffle on about language , feminism and medical issues.

Adela is an independent and self sufficient young woman who has been raised in an environment very different to most and she makes a wonderful heroine supported by a cast quirky and individual characters. I particularly like Henry II - I start to laugh every time he appears - with his on the go attitude and earthy turn of phrase he's exactly how I imagine he might have been.

I particularly enjoyed this story because I've been to Glastonbury and it is a special place. The ruins of the Abbey are amazing and it's not until you stand amongst them that you realise how immense and spectacular it must have been. The original abbey did burn down in the 12th century and skeletons were found reputed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere and around these known facts Ariana Franklin has woven her tale.

Read it to be entertained and enjoy!

Royal Reviews Historical Challenge

1 comment:

  1. I keep seeing these books around...really should find that first mystery