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Publisher's Summary

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 and her household ride to Glastonbury, where the investigation into the abbey fire will be overseen by the Church authorities - in this case, the Bishop of St. Albans, who happens also to be the father of Adelia's daughter.

©2009 Ariana Franklin; (P)2009 Penguin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Wadie
  • Santa Ana, CA, United States
  • 09-20-09

A surprising thrill ride

I loved it. A few inconsistencies here and there, and yes, I anticipated most of the plot moves but who cares? The dialog was spot on, the characters well rounded and real. The reader, Kate Reading, was terrific. Her voice brought the various people alive. She is surprising adept at male voices. Am I the only person who hears her Henry speaking the words of the author, Franklin, and sees Peter O'Toole? Adelia's insight into the nature of the men who turn out to be her friends and saviors is wonderful to listen to. This was one of those books I couldn't wait to hear the end of, yet I did not want it to end. I can't wait for more!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Third is Second

I loved this series from the beginning. The first was the best, and this, the third novel, is second. Number two left me unsatisfied.

As always, Ms. Franklin's history is well researched, and her people are more real than some of my neighbors. No one is all good or bad. Henry II is an enlightened but manipulative monarch. The Bishop Of St. Albans, Rowley, is as conflicted about his passion for Adelia as before. And Adelia herself is as intelligent, independent & inquisitive as always. Some of the actions might be a bit far fetched to us in the 21st century. I can never get my head around the all encompassing religious faith, laws, and pressure from the Catholic church that was the norm in the 12th century. The Pope had the power to bring down monarchs, and the church could declare a death sentence on anyone it decided was a heretic.

At the end of the book, you know some changes will be made. I hope those changes have King Henry
and Bishop Rowley playing larger parts in book#4.
We'll have to wait now, alas, to see.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • sandra
  • DECATUR, TX, United States
  • 12-03-10

Excellent writing and narration

I found this series when I rejoined audible and was hooked within the first five minutes of listening. I have nothing but good things to say about both the writing and the narration! The interaction among the characters is interesting, humorous and believable and the who-dunnit in each novel is never easy to figure out, something I appreciate immensely! No bodice rippers disguised as a weakly written mystery - yea!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very enjoyable

A winner! This one is even better than the one before. Franklin gives us an engaging story, an intriguing mystery, and a good sense of place. The reading is excellent, with distinctly different accents and voices for different characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

pretty good historical mystery

This was a good historical mystery with acceptable narration, except when the narrator made the major character, who is otherwise indominable, sound weepy and wimpy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good Reading

I have read the previous books in this series; this is the best of them. The plotting is now solid, varied and compelling, and some of the mannerisms I found annoying in the first two books have been toned downed down. The heroine is still exasperating, but it now seems a character trait, not a flaw in the storytelling. I still doubt that Salerno in the twelfth century was quite the utopia it is described as, but in all, the series seems on its way to portraying an interesting and enjoyable picture of a distant age.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ariana Franklin delivers another great story

I really enjoy the books in this series. Kate Reading is a wonderfully talented narrator who brings the stories to life with her voices. I highly recommend these books if you are a fan of historical fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Janice
  • LODI, CA, United States
  • 10-03-11

Great story, awesome narrator

This is the third in the series. It was typical Ariana Franklin. The story was good, not my favorite but definitely worth the read. If you like historical thrillers you will enjoy this one. If you read Franklin's other novels in this series and enjoyed them, you will not be disappointed. The twists were great and even the new characters were enjoyable. The narrator is awesome! If you have read the first two, you have to read this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great series

I wish Audible would put these in order, though. The first in the series is Mistress in the Art of Death. Second is The Serpent's Tale; third is Grave Goods; fourth is Murderous Procession. The books, consumed in the correct sequence, develop the main characters quite well and each story line is totally satisfying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Another enjoyable Ariana Franklin 12th century adventure

Her unique combination of detective plus historical fiction with a small dose of romance is always a good read or "listen". Kate Reading is just so great. This performance is a prime example of why she has been called the "Voice of the Century" by Audiofile magazine.