Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grave goods, by Ariana Franklin- Review

The third book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series, Grave Goods follows Adelia to Glastonbury Abbey, on behalf of King Henry.  Her arrival falls on the heels of a devastating fire that has wiped out most of the great Abbey and the township, but has revealed a buried couple, rumored to be King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.  Adelia's mission is to prove if these bones indeed belong to them, but on her way she stumbles into even great mystery.  Will she survive this latest round of trouble?

If book one seemed to focus on medieval English rural life, and book two took a closer look at their monarchy then book three really delves into the church and law.  Like many, I mostly associated Henry II with the death of Thomas Becket, and had certainly never read anything revealing his legal reforms. So I was very enthralled by the legal chatter and scenes in Grave goods.  I'm endlessly intrigued by Ms Franklin/Norman representation of King Henry, who she clearly views as England's saviour from the dark ages.  Short of Adelia herself he may be one of my favorite characters.

As for the church, again Ms Franklin/Norman has made it real and alive in a way very few people could do with a story set in 1176.  The lives of the priests, what was viewed as acceptable or unacceptable by the church at that time and what the loss of a church would do to a town connected to it were all fascinating aspects of this story, as much so as the mysteries Adelia is set to unravel.

Another layered and thought provoking book, Ariana Franklin has outdid herself once again.  Who knew learning could be so much stinkin' fun?  Bring on book four A Murderous Procession.

Grave Goods, By Ariana Franklin (pen name of Diana Norman)
Published by Penguin, March 2010
Buy Grave Goods on Amazon
Visit Ariana Franklins website
My review of The Serpent's Tale (2nd book)
My review of The Mistress of the Art of Death (1st book)

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