Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Review: Grave Goods

Title Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death)
Author Ariana Franklin
Rating *****
Tags mystery, series, historical mystery, women, doctor, henry ii, england 

Third in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. So far Franklin hasn't faltered yet. All three books in the series are among the best books I've ever read (thanks to Tom Fisher for introducing them to me). The main character is a woman doctor who specializes in pathology, or as they put it, a master in reading what a corpse has to tell about its death. She was educated in Salerno, Italy, where they don't scorn to teach women.

She has been living in England now for several years, called by Henry II, the Plantagenet King, who values her services and won't let her go. Besides that, she has a child and a family of sorts, and is happy in the fens of Cambridgeshire treating the poor.

King Henry is preoccupied putting down revolts by the Welsh who call out the name of King Arthur in battle. Since the publication of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History 40 years before, King Arthur has been a romantic hero to all Britains. So when Henry hears a monk's story that the body of Arthur might be buried at Glastonbury, he calls on Adriana to establish that Arthur is, indeed, dead, not sleeping until he returns.

Adriana does what the king says, but is also investigating the disappearance of her friend Emma and Emma's entourage, and this puts her in danger.

What makes a book great? For me, it is interesting characters who grow and develop, plots that are believable, good writing, and often a strong sense of the time and place of the story. Franklin does all of these superlatively.

But now I have to wait for the next book to come out. Ouch!

Publication Putnam Adult (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 0399155449 / 9780399155444

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

No comments: