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Grave Goods

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Combining the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of medieval fiction, New York Times' bestselling author Ariana Franklin returns with the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. 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 alm Combining the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of medieval fiction, New York Times' bestselling author Ariana Franklin returns with the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. 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.


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Combining the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of medieval fiction, New York Times' bestselling author Ariana Franklin returns with the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. 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 alm Combining the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of medieval fiction, New York Times' bestselling author Ariana Franklin returns with the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. 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.

30 review for Grave Goods

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annet

    A richly detailed, almost indecently thrilling mystery... NYT Book Review; The attention to historical detail is flawless...Denver Post; Adelia is a fascinating creation... USA Today What a great great historical series this is. Full of atmosphere, character, history, a sense, taste, smell and feel of the dark ages... in the times and presence of the characterful Henry II Plantagenet... and the independent and self-made, own minded wonderful Adelia, Mistress of the Art of Death. A whole set of A richly detailed, almost indecently thrilling mystery... NYT Book Review; The attention to historical detail is flawless...Denver Post; Adelia is a fascinating creation... USA Today What a great great historical series this is. Full of atmosphere, character, history, a sense, taste, smell and feel of the dark ages... in the times and presence of the characterful Henry II Plantagenet... and the independent and self-made, own minded wonderful Adelia, Mistress of the Art of Death. A whole set of colorful characters that come alive when you read this series. And great stories, vivid, dark, bleak, intelligent and heartwarming at the same time! Way above the average historical fiction, 4.5 for me. And such a pity that I only have one more book to go in this series.... Highly recommended & more to follow! Here's the story: England 1176, beautiful tranquil Glastonbury Abbey, according to legend, the last resting place of King Arthur - has been burned to the ground. The arsonist remains at large but the fire has uncovered the hidden skeletons of a man and a woman... could these be Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II hopes so. Struggling to put down a rebellion in Wales, Henry wants proof, so he can stamp out the Celtic rebellion for good. He sends for his mistress of the art of death Adelia Aguilar to examine the bones.... and so the story begins.... Note, this book is also known under an alternative title: Relics of the dead (more of Franklin's books have alternative titles I noticed)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I really love this series that starts with "The Mistress of the Art of Death!". The story combines the history of Henry II with forensic medicine. My highest recommendation! "England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey one of Englands holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthurs 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 I really love this series that starts with "The Mistress of the Art of Death!". The story combines the history of Henry II with forensic medicine. My highest recommendation! "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— that they are the remains 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."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Again a great story with a lot of historical facts thrown in.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katyana

    I really like this series. I love the characters, and particularly Adelia. I love the pacing, the mysteries, the historical setting. I love Henry II, even though he drives me batty sometimes. What I really don't love is Rowley. In previous books, I sort of managed to put up with him - he manages to be less annoying as the plot thickens, and he generally isn't around much before then. The reason I dislike Rowley is this: he doesn't love Adelia. Not really. He hates all the parts of her that she che I really like this series. I love the characters, and particularly Adelia. I love the pacing, the mysteries, the historical setting. I love Henry II, even though he drives me batty sometimes. What I really don't love is Rowley. In previous books, I sort of managed to put up with him - he manages to be less annoying as the plot thickens, and he generally isn't around much before then. The reason I dislike Rowley is this: he doesn't love Adelia. Not really. He hates all the parts of her that she cherishes. He hates that she is a doctor. He hates that she is educated. He hates that she is driven to seek out truth. He wants her to be a typical fainting lady. He expected her to give up her whole life to marry him and while away her life in his manor somewhere, sheltered and bored. And he will never forgive her for saying no. Why does he think he loves her? He hates everything that makes her who she is. And even worse, why does Adelia - wonderful, brilliant, just warrior that she is - think she loves him? She deserves better. Because in the end, that's what it boils down to for me: Rowley doesn't deserve her. Not by a mile. I'd frankly rather see her with Henry. At least Henry appreciates her. Realizes how incredible she is, what a gift she has. Recognizes that it can't be, SHOULDN'T be, cast away. Of course, Henry II and Adelia will never end up together - that would cross too many lines in historical fiction, something that Franklin works hard not to do in this series. But regardless, Henry would be better for her than Rowley, stupid Rowley who can't appreciate her, and just wants to make her something that she isn't. And this book made me angry, in the end, because Adelia changed her mind and agreed to try to be something she isn't, for HIM. Stupid, condescending, ignorant, pompous Rowley. I hope it doesn't ruin the series for me. *sigh*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    As this is series book #3, I am well into the larger tale now. And I truly enjoyed this one. The plot was better and the characters met within the motives and group cultures of loyalty adding much more to the story than they did in book #2. #2 had so much wanderings up and back that a lot of the continuity to whole story was lost. Not this time. Adelia is also far more mature, and seems much more melted to nature and womanhood than she was in the former books. Her self-identity changing. She's s As this is series book #3, I am well into the larger tale now. And I truly enjoyed this one. The plot was better and the characters met within the motives and group cultures of loyalty adding much more to the story than they did in book #2. #2 had so much wanderings up and back that a lot of the continuity to whole story was lost. Not this time. Adelia is also far more mature, and seems much more melted to nature and womanhood than she was in the former books. Her self-identity changing. She's separated her independence requirements necessary for her work from the granite rigidity of her set in stone ideals of frozen and singular detachment. It gives her another whole level of warmth, and with the maturation an acceptance (more adaptable) of/for non-perfect and yet human companionship. Her warmth and concern for Emma and her boy also deepen on that score, just as much as for Rowley. And the different mode of life that Rowley might come to represent. I really liked this book as a whole piece structured individual tale/episode. And it it was easier read after the first quarter than all the rest of the series so far. Because it rather departed from the heaviness of the archaic prose and little by little was transformed into much more modern dialog and narrator think. Too much so. That's what is wrong if you would be picky. Adelia is thinking and connoting nuance far beyond her own time's possibilities. But I forgive the revisionism, because the rest of the tale is so well done. Hilda, Eustace and several other under characters were sliced perfectly. And the tithing group on a whole, just marvelous in the point of Englishness- how that system of blame, guilt, connection evolves. As does the jury later in Henry's sneakiness to a "new" means to afford guilt. Or not. Of the three I have read so far, this one I liked the best. Allie and Gyltha have some great lines. Like this one that I LOVED. Am I with Gyltha on the melodramatic sigh masters and tear jerker poets. "Look at him," Glytha said in disgust. "Happy as a pig in shit now he's miserable." People complain about the tendency to impart 18th or 20th century underpinnings on some of the slants. And I hear them. It's true. And very true for this particular book. But I still enjoyed it to a 4 star and it was fully 4 star in clever intersect too. And I hope that miserable old Lady Dowager Wolvercote gets her own ilk back in the next one. What a truly nasty woman. I also hope that Ariana Franklin does not repeat the number of times she uses all of Adelia 5 names in the next book, as she did in this book. It's beyond annoying, and I didn't like that name call regime when I was 10 years old and I still don't like it now. I did like the Author's Note section too with the information about Excalibur's later locations and all the detail about medieval weaponry in this book, as well.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    This is a wonderful series. It takes place during medieval times but features a strong woman, well-educated and successful. The mystery itself is, to me, secondary to the portrayal of the time and the characters, especially the lead. It's such a shame Franklin died so young! So many more books waiting to be written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: “And God was angry with His people of Somerset so that, in the year of Our Lord 1154. pm the day after the feast of Saint Stephen, He caused an earthquake that it might punish them for their sins…” Thus wrote Brother Caradoc in Saint Michael’s chapel in top of Glastonbury Tor, to which he’d scrambled, gasping and sobbing, so as to escape the devastation that God with his earthquake had wrought on everything below it. King Henry II is fighting to suppress the rebellious Welsh, who First Sentence: “And God was angry with His people of Somerset so that, in the year of Our Lord 1154. pm the day after the feast of Saint Stephen, He caused an earthquake that it might punish them for their sins…” Thus wrote Brother Caradoc in Saint Michael’s chapel in top of Glastonbury Tor, to which he’d scrambled, gasping and sobbing, so as to escape the devastation that God with his earthquake had wrought on everything below it. King Henry II is fighting to suppress the rebellious Welsh, who still believe the Ancient King Arthur will rise up to rescue them. One of Henry’s prisoners tells of a vision his uncle had 20 year’s earlier of seeing monks bury Arthur at Glastonbury. Henry orders that there be an attempt to find Arthur’s bones and sends for Adelia to make the verification. When an Ariana Franklin book shows up at my door, all other life stops. Franklin is an author from whom I know I shall get a wonderful story. This book was no exception. With historical mysteries, I always start by reading the Author’s Notes. I like knowing what is historically accurate and what liberties have been taken. In this case; there were not many. The depth of research is evident and educational. Herbs, weapons, law, forensic science, and medicine during this period are masterfully woven into the story. Franklin’s writing is so visual; it is as if watching a film. The descriptions are rich and, even when the scenes are unpleasant, so well done. I liked the use of lucid dreams, the inclusion of Excalibur and a very nasty version of Robin Hood and his men. The characters are wonderful. Adelia is smart, strong and caring. Although focused on her task at hand, she is even more concerned about her friend, Emma, who, along with her son and staff, has disappeared. All the characters are three dimensional and believable, although I shall always hear Henry II as having Peter O’Toole’s voice. The dialogue is often funny providing laughter amidst the drama, as is true in life. Is this a perfect book? No, as there are a few too many coincidences. Is it a great read? With humor, drama, suspense and a dash of romance: Absolutely! GRAVE GOODS (Hist. Mys-Adelia Aguilar-England-1176) – VG+ Franklin, Ariana – 3rd in series G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780399155444

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Sillars

    This book horrified and offended me. In all honesty and fairness, you should know I'm writing this while waiting for lasagna to finish heating. Hunger may make me a more biting reviewer than usual. There's lots of good in Ariana Franklin's writing. I so enjoyed "The Siege Winter" due to her vivid descriptions of medieval life, specifically of the castle siege, and the endearing cast of characters she created. That book suffered from the same faults as "Grave Goods," but I felt like I was being h This book horrified and offended me. In all honesty and fairness, you should know I'm writing this while waiting for lasagna to finish heating. Hunger may make me a more biting reviewer than usual. There's lots of good in Ariana Franklin's writing. I so enjoyed "The Siege Winter" due to her vivid descriptions of medieval life, specifically of the castle siege, and the endearing cast of characters she created. That book suffered from the same faults as "Grave Goods," but I felt like I was being hit over the head with the problems in this book. The problems? My old history prof called it "presentism," which is the fault of looking at history only through modern eyes. It killed this book. The characters are wooden--really, they are more stereotypes than characters. The main protagonist, Ms. Aguilar, is truly a modern woman somehow, inexplicably in a medieval setting. She doesn't have much personality (and isn't all that charming either), except for feeling indignant at all the things a modern person might find reprehensible about the Middle Ages. She doesn't seem to believe that religion is anything other than a salve for emotionally weak people, or a tool for power-hungry despots. In short, she thinks like a modern secular feminist, and it's not believable given the setting. It's one thing to write a forward-thinking character; it's altogether another to build an entire "personality" based on personal indignation at everyone around her and portray her as a thoroughly modern woman. This is highlighted by the side-characters: The Catholic priests are either naive or sinister, and the Catholic church is merely a overbearing social construct, rather than, you know, a religion. Mansur, a Muslim, is described in a way that hearkens back to British colonial descriptions of the "exotic." His religion is respected (unlike the Catholics') as mystical, but largely not based in reality. He's vaguely wise and guru-like, but without any dimension or complexity. One big plot point that felt like a caricature of the Middle Ages (tiny spoiler): Ms. Aguilar, in a previous book, decides not to marry the guy she loves because she believes marriage will interfere with her work. It's all very feminist and high-minded, right? Except that the man who wants to marry her is a noble, and historically, the responsibility of the "woman of the manor" was to learn medicine. They were expected to be trained (as well as they could in that day) on herbs and remedies. Ms. Aguilar is a doctor, so marriage to a noble lord would not have been the death-knell of her work; it would have likely given her a greater opportunity to do it. I so wanted to enjoy this book. But it felt more like an exhausting parade through stereotypes than a good story with strong characters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Two bodies are discouvered at Glastonbury abbey. Are they King Arthur and Queen Guinevere? Mistress of the dead Adelia Aguilar is called upon by King Henry II to investigate. Number 3 in the series about 12th century pathologist Adelia and her Saracen protector. A very interesting historical crimenovel in a very interesting period. I enjoy reading about Henri Plantagenet and his reforms of the law. Recommended! I Will read up on Henry Plantagenet soon.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The third and latest in the "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, historical mysteries by Ariana Franklin (aka Diana Norman) set in late 12th century England, is the best of the lot. Mistress of the Art of Death, the first book, was well done. The author stumbled a bit with the second, The Serpent's Tale, but she has found her stride with the current offering. Set in Glastonbury and wrapped in the mists of Avalon, the work is a must for anyone besotted with the Matter of Britain. Adelia, the mi The third and latest in the "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, historical mysteries by Ariana Franklin (aka Diana Norman) set in late 12th century England, is the best of the lot. Mistress of the Art of Death, the first book, was well done. The author stumbled a bit with the second, The Serpent's Tale, but she has found her stride with the current offering. Set in Glastonbury and wrapped in the mists of Avalon, the work is a must for anyone besotted with the Matter of Britain. Adelia, the mistress of the art of death (a kind of medieval forensic pathologist trained at Salerno), is a worthy successor to the Brother Cadfael of Ellis Peters, who pursued his forensic investigations earlier in the 12th century during the wars of King Stephen and the Empress Maud. Adelia works in the time of Henry II and at his command. Like Elizabeth Peters in her Amelia Peabody series (at least in the earlier and better of those), Ariana Franklin is not afraid of humor. Suspense, humor, romance, and interesting historical interpretations -- not a bad combination. I eagerly await Relics of the Dead, the next of Adelia's adventures. Can a PBS miniseries be far behind?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Grave Goods 3.5 Stars The historical background is fascinating despite one or two glaring inconsistencies (that are ultimately explained in the author's note), but the investigation into the corpses believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere is not as engrossing as in the previous books. There are a number of mysteries interspersed throughout the book: Who are the unidentified corpses in the Glastonbury graveyard? Who set fire to the abbey? What happened to Adelia's friend Emma and her child? Eve Grave Goods 3.5 Stars The historical background is fascinating despite one or two glaring inconsistencies (that are ultimately explained in the author's note), but the investigation into the corpses believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere is not as engrossing as in the previous books. There are a number of mysteries interspersed throughout the book: Who are the unidentified corpses in the Glastonbury graveyard? Who set fire to the abbey? What happened to Adelia's friend Emma and her child? Everything is ultimately resolved but it is all very anti-climactic. There is also very little character development in this one. Adelia and Rowley come to terms with their on again, off again romance but other than that the characters are extremely one dimensional, although Henry II does have his moments. All in all, not a bad mystery and the book is worth reading for the history and for the insight into Arthurian legend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    Again, really enjoyed this book, it's one of my fave historical series! Adelia is a great character, a woman with more modern sensibilities that don't seem forced into the Henry II era. The attention to detail and historical research is, as usual, stunning. The more accurate mythology about King Arthur was interesting to see, enough so that I did EXTRA research after I finished the book. I loved the sense of unease and threat that encompassed this book, you knew bad stuff was gonna go down, but Again, really enjoyed this book, it's one of my fave historical series! Adelia is a great character, a woman with more modern sensibilities that don't seem forced into the Henry II era. The attention to detail and historical research is, as usual, stunning. The more accurate mythology about King Arthur was interesting to see, enough so that I did EXTRA research after I finished the book. I loved the sense of unease and threat that encompassed this book, you knew bad stuff was gonna go down, but didn't know from where. I thought the plotting was really well done. I have one complaint though (that bleeds into my utter dislike of the next book in the series). SPOILER: I like mystery series because they are somewhat stand alone. I can pick one up 6 months after reading the previous and not be lost. To introduce a character that bleeds over into the next book in a big way was super annoying to me, partially because he was set up as a bad guy loose-end that needed to be dealt with through the last 1/3rd of the book. I kept waiting and I can't tell you how annoyed I was to see the dude in the last page being ominous. UUUUGH. Well whatever, still a great book, highly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Gruesome title, but I enjoy entering the life of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, Henry II’s reluctant "mistress of the art of death”, who reads bones to determine how their owner came to grief. This is the third in the series and I’d felt something was missing in the second that had been there in the first, but this one was a good read again. Actually I listened to this one, narrated by Diana Bishop, and her accent was pleasant to listen to - and perhaps that added an extra element to my “ Gruesome title, but I enjoy entering the life of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, Henry II’s reluctant "mistress of the art of death”, who reads bones to determine how their owner came to grief. This is the third in the series and I’d felt something was missing in the second that had been there in the first, but this one was a good read again. Actually I listened to this one, narrated by Diana Bishop, and her accent was pleasant to listen to - and perhaps that added an extra element to my “reading”!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    An enjoyable medieval mystery, the third in this series. The setting is great, and I like Franklin's writing very much. The king's appearances were fun, as always, although the bit at the end where Adelia (view spoiler)[presents him with Excalibur (hide spoiler)] was a little over the top. We are already quite aware that the author thinks Henry II was a really good king. She left Eleanor alone this time, thank goodness, with only one dig about the queen's jealousy. I like all of these characters, An enjoyable medieval mystery, the third in this series. The setting is great, and I like Franklin's writing very much. The king's appearances were fun, as always, although the bit at the end where Adelia (view spoiler)[presents him with Excalibur (hide spoiler)] was a little over the top. We are already quite aware that the author thinks Henry II was a really good king. She left Eleanor alone this time, thank goodness, with only one dig about the queen's jealousy. I like all of these characters, and I'm enjoying the Adelia/Rowley relationship. I'm sorry that there is only one more book to go.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J. Else

    This is actually the third book in a series, but I could not tell. While there are references to the main character’s past, this is no more than any stand-alone novel would elude to, which to my mind this book truly could be. The main protagonist, Adelia, is a type of medieval forensic pathologist trained at a school in Salerno (which was actually the world’s first medical school). Her character is strong but vulnerable and even throws up a heartfelt prayer here and there. She does not discount This is actually the third book in a series, but I could not tell. While there are references to the main character’s past, this is no more than any stand-alone novel would elude to, which to my mind this book truly could be. The main protagonist, Adelia, is a type of medieval forensic pathologist trained at a school in Salerno (which was actually the world’s first medical school). Her character is strong but vulnerable and even throws up a heartfelt prayer here and there. She does not discount religion despite a few bad experiences. She has regrets, she learns to cope with new situations, she lets herself love, and fights tooth and nail for what she believes in. Much of the action is unexpected and gripping. There were multiple parts to the plot that, happily, I did not pick up from the back cover description. I love surprises like this, and the plots just kept twisting and turning. I did guess the Arturus plot thread right away, but the rest of the revelations were surprises. The dialogue and settings were so strong that I really felt history come alive as I read. While at times it was hard to decipher what the less-educated characters were saying, it felt so authentic and fit right in with what I was reading (even though the author did modernize the language for us modern readers), so it really did not distract me from the overall plot development. There is so much detail to the characters as well as the social setting. From the classes (from tithings to lords and ladies), rituals about life and death, living qualities, court proceedings and laws, weaponry, medicines, etc., all this was amazingly ripe with historical fact. I loved how immersed I was in 12th century England time and place as well as the action. The only thing that threw me out of the setting was the use of the word “forensics.” It just feels too modern a term, but I cannot say when the word itself started being used. As the rest of the story was so richly authentic, I will trust Franklin’s call in including it. Franklin adds a little bit of everything: Suspense, romance, historical facts, and humor! Franklin knows how to stir up the pot on previous historical confines yet create something sensational. Some authors tend to dehumanize historical characters by making them about as warm as a tomb wall painting. Franklin knows how to take a character and look beyond the exterior wall. She understands that throughout history, people have always joked, laughed, and cursed at their circumstances. Many books of this time period are very hard on the church of the time. While this book does show some less than desirable qualities to the medieval times church goings, most of the characters are caring, forgiving, and understanding that people make mistakes and that God is not as harsh as some rulers would make you believe. I appreciated that the author did not grate heavily against the religious practices and beliefs. The church does have its black spots, but this book offered something fresh by highlighting more redeeming characters. I was very impressed with this book. I will be looking for other books of this series to dive into. Such historical depth and quality of character make this a very satisfying read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alondra

    4 Stars Book Blurb 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, whe 4 Stars Book Blurb 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. What is up There is a lot going on in this 3rd story of Adelia and her crew. We have Adelia dealing with those mysterious bones, to the mystery of her friend, Emma’s disappearance; and how in the heck Glastonbury Abbey is burned to the ground. This novel is filled with scheming villains, prejudice, unwarranted hatred, distorted loyalties, buried secrets and only a tadbit of feisty Glytha (I like her!). We also get moments of light from little Allie. I really love this series, and am again so saddened that the author passed. I have read that a 5th book is coming out. I pray it captures the heart of this wonderful series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    This is a great book which is part of an even greater series. Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin concerns graves found at Glastonbury Abbey which the monks of the Abbey stated were the graves of King Arthur and his wife, Guinevere. Glastonbury Abbey was at one time the richest abbey in England. Besides the setting of Glastonbury Abbey, what intrigued me was the name of the series. The series main character is a woman who has studied medicine and became a doctor when women were not allowed to be a do This is a great book which is part of an even greater series. Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin concerns graves found at Glastonbury Abbey which the monks of the Abbey stated were the graves of King Arthur and his wife, Guinevere. Glastonbury Abbey was at one time the richest abbey in England. Besides the setting of Glastonbury Abbey, what intrigued me was the name of the series. The series main character is a woman who has studied medicine and became a doctor when women were not allowed to be a doctor- at least not in England, but she did not train in England. This character drew me to this excellent series, and I recommend this book and the Misress of the Art of Death series very highly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Flora Smith

    This is the third book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I was generous rounding this up to 4 stars I would actually give it a 3.5 but because I loved the ending I rounded up. This book is much like the other two. Adelia is given an almost impossible task for the time period in speaking with the dead thru forensics. And this time she is dealing with what is believed to be the bones of King Arthur and Guinevere. There are definite mysteries within mysteries and I was certainly kept inte This is the third book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I was generous rounding this up to 4 stars I would actually give it a 3.5 but because I loved the ending I rounded up. This book is much like the other two. Adelia is given an almost impossible task for the time period in speaking with the dead thru forensics. And this time she is dealing with what is believed to be the bones of King Arthur and Guinevere. There are definite mysteries within mysteries and I was certainly kept interested. And there was a few things that were left unsaid but I did love the ending but I won't spoil it. If you have enjoyed the other MotAoD series you will like this one too.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The saga continues...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda (Miss Greedybooks)

    I liked this one even more than the first two - maybe familiarity with characters? Maybe subject matter? It certainly left me ready to read the 4th book - so glad I have it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gregoire

    3.5 étoiles j'ai eu plaisir à retrouver Adelia et son équipe et à la suivre dans toutes les péripéties de cette aventure qui n'en manque pas, entre légendes arthuriennes, lois nouvelles, tremblements de terre, incendie, lépreux, assassinats etc pas le temps de souffler ni de s'ennuyer !!! D'autant que la bougresse ne manque pas de réparties même face au roi Henri II que l'auteure s'efforce de nous décrire sous son meilleur jour et dans les tumultes de sa liaison avec Rodney le Bishop et leurs jo 3.5 étoiles j'ai eu plaisir à retrouver Adelia et son équipe et à la suivre dans toutes les péripéties de cette aventure qui n'en manque pas, entre légendes arthuriennes, lois nouvelles, tremblements de terre, incendie, lépreux, assassinats etc pas le temps de souffler ni de s'ennuyer !!! D'autant que la bougresse ne manque pas de réparties même face au roi Henri II que l'auteure s'efforce de nous décrire sous son meilleur jour et dans les tumultes de sa liaison avec Rodney le Bishop et leurs joutes verbales à la "Indiana Jones" Ha ha ha

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I liked the basic premise of this 3rd book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series but at times, Adelia's behaviour struck me as improbable. It has been a while since I read the first 2 books in this series so I don't remember if this was how she behaved earlier... Kate Reading did a good narration.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Spilka

    Příběh má spád, odehrává se v zajímavé době (mimo jiné poopravuje zažitý pohled na krále Jindřicha) a hrdince se snadno “věří”.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Lagow

    3rd in the Adelia Aguilar of Salerno series.[return][return]Adelia is in trouble. Even with the fiction of Mansour, her Saracen bodyguard, as a physician, the quacks of Cambridge are losing enough money to have both Mansour and Adelia hauled before a court on charges of heresy and possibly witchcraft. Prior Gregory, Adelia s true friend, manages to convince Adelia, Mansour and the ever-loyal Gyltha along with 4 year old Allie to escape. They take refuge with Lady Emma Wolvercote, who made her fi 3rd in the Adelia Aguilar of Salerno series.[return][return]Adelia is in trouble. Even with the fiction of Mansour, her Saracen bodyguard, as a physician, the quacks of Cambridge are losing enough money to have both Mansour and Adelia hauled before a court on charges of heresy and possibly witchcraft. Prior Gregory, Adelia s true friend, manages to convince Adelia, Mansour and the ever-loyal Gyltha along with 4 year old Allie to escape. They take refuge with Lady Emma Wolvercote, who made her first appearance in the second novel of the series, The Serpent s Tale, and proceed with her on her way to Somerset, near Glastonbury, where she intends to claim her dead husband s estate of Wolvercote for her 2 year old son, Phillip.[return][return]But on the way, they are met by a courier from Henry II, summoning Adelia to Henry, who is fighting the Welsh, who are firm in their belief that the legendary King Arthur is not dead but waiting to rise and rally the Welsh against foreign oppression. Henry wants to take advantage of a recent discovery at Glastonbury, site of the ancient Avalon, final resting place of Arthur according to legend. Two skeletons have been unearthed there; are they or are they not those of Arthur and his queen, Guinevere? Either way, Henry plans on taking advantage of the information; what he needs from Adelia, his clandestine forensic pathologist, is certainty, one way or the other. Adelia protests with the usual result. Adelia, Mansour, Allie and Gyltha set off for Glastonbury armed with Henry s protection and, for once, some of that miser s money.[return][return]That s the start of an exciting pulse-pounding page-turning thriller that is the best yet in this series, surpassing Mistress of the Art of Death which is outstanding. Franklin has really outdone herself in plotting, with twists at every turn. She is adept at putting Adelia in credible life-threatening situations; this one is superb, so scary that I had to put the book down for a few minutes in order to break the tension. Franklin s writing is outstanding. In her Author s Note, she says she deliberately uses modern English because the characters would have sounded contemporaneous to one another--she acheives the same effect with modern, fairly formal English. The only exception is Gyltha, to whom she gives a Fenland accent. It all works perfectly.[return][return]Franklin even throws in sly humor, as in the passage where Adelia rails against ever arriving in England and discovering emotion, which she considers treacherous; the English, she says, bitterly, are too overwrought with emotion and she, Adelia, had been better off in rational, unemotional Sicily! Franklin, of course, is British, and her gentle dig brought to mind the Aubrey/Maturin books set during the Napoleonic Wars in which Stephen Maturin, an Irishman, notes disapprovingly time and again that the English are so prone to emotionalism, crying even forsooth![return][return]The denouement is excellent, although part of it I suspected early on, but it doesn t matter--the way Franklin arrives at her resolution is truly outstanding.[return][return]But unusually for Franklin, who surely knows how to write, the story carries on for a while, seeming to violate that edict that, after the climax, a writer should wrap up quickly. [return][return]Oh, don t worry. There s a reason.[return][return]Absolutely a must read for those who love to mix historical fiction with medieval mystery. I can not recommend this book highly enough.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Despite Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar's more annoying traits of having a very short fuse and seldom seeing the forest for the trees, she makes for a fascinating and unique heroine. Some readers might complain about Franklin's anachronisms too, but she defends them convincingly at the end of the book, and I don't expect to read a NOVEL (a modern form) that depicts characters speaking in some combination of medieval church Latin, somewhat creolized Norman French, and various vulgar dial Despite Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar's more annoying traits of having a very short fuse and seldom seeing the forest for the trees, she makes for a fascinating and unique heroine. Some readers might complain about Franklin's anachronisms too, but she defends them convincingly at the end of the book, and I don't expect to read a NOVEL (a modern form) that depicts characters speaking in some combination of medieval church Latin, somewhat creolized Norman French, and various vulgar dialects of Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic. It's not as if the characters here say "back in the day" and "epic fail" and whatnot in Franklin's contemporary British English. Her language and history feel right for a literary mystery novel. The character of Henry II as lawgiver and modernizer is particularly compelling. This story takes Adelia and friends to Glastonbury to verify recently discovered bones thought to be those of Arthur and Guinevere. The king has been fighting the rebellious Welsh, who have a special "historical" claim to the legendary Arthur, and he would like nothing better than to prove by medical science that Arthur is dead. Not, you know, lying in a state of suspended animation in a crystal cave or something in Avalon, the once and future king who will return to England in its time of greatest need.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    Forced into flight from her beloved fens, Arelia, the forensic physician, is ordered by Henry II to discover if remains recently uncovered at Glastonbury are those of Arthur and Guenevere. Searching for a missing friend who was on her way to claim a property, coming to the town and abbey which has burned to the ground, Arelia and her household are up to their necks in trouble. She and her Saracen manservant Mansur, who masquerades as the true doctor since the time and place forbid a woman to pra Forced into flight from her beloved fens, Arelia, the forensic physician, is ordered by Henry II to discover if remains recently uncovered at Glastonbury are those of Arthur and Guenevere. Searching for a missing friend who was on her way to claim a property, coming to the town and abbey which has burned to the ground, Arelia and her household are up to their necks in trouble. She and her Saracen manservant Mansur, who masquerades as the true doctor since the time and place forbid a woman to practice, discover that the fire is being blamed on an innocent man, that a vicious robber is plying the woods around the holy town, that someone does not want them to work out the identity of the skeletons (the female of which has been mutilated between waist and thigh), and that there is another mystery in a cave in the forest. Time after time Arelia finds herself and her friends in danger of their lives from terrified men, the mad, and those who want their secrets drowned by the advancing sea. I love these books; I love this character. Her struggles against the constrictions placed on her as an educated woman and on her concealing Saracen manservant, Mansur, are all too believable, making me want to smack her sometimes-lover, Bishop Rowley, and Henry II. Franklin's portrayal of Henry II is pretty wonderful, too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Wow. I saw the Arturus bit coming a mile off (if/when you've read it you'll understand) but the rest of the conclusions were nice surprises. Or not so nice. They hit me in the gut because a lot of the things involved are heartbreaking for me. This author has an amazing writing style and manages to keep this in line with previous novels without giving away too many spoilers. It has made me want to read the first two and the fourth to see how we got to this point and where they go from here. Brilli Wow. I saw the Arturus bit coming a mile off (if/when you've read it you'll understand) but the rest of the conclusions were nice surprises. Or not so nice. They hit me in the gut because a lot of the things involved are heartbreaking for me. This author has an amazing writing style and manages to keep this in line with previous novels without giving away too many spoilers. It has made me want to read the first two and the fourth to see how we got to this point and where they go from here. Brilliantly done, I hope they don't disappoint. As for the world she created - it matches my idea of this era almost perfectly. The characters had a strange way of seeping under my skin at times that I haven't found in a while - usually I don't get emotionally involved with my books unless it is to think the lead male should exist as he would be ridiculously hot (ha). I never thought I'd like historical novels but the Arthurian legend aspect intreguied and convinced me. Oh, and may I congratulate the makers of this beautiful cover. It is rare these days to find something like this. Sometimes the characters were annoying and some of the hints about what happened in previous books have placed doubt in my mind about whether they'll live up to expectations, which is why this has 4 instead of 5 stars, but all in all I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    This book, third in the series of historical mysteries about a woman physician/forensic pathologist in Henry II's England (yes! really!), was a perfectly fine entry in the series but just didn't blow me away. Of course, the book of Franklin's that *did* blow me away was a stand-alone, City of Shadows, which was also historical but set in 1920s and 30s Berlin. I wish she'd write, or the publishers would publish, more like that. Brief synopsis: Henry II is having trouble with the Welsh and other C This book, third in the series of historical mysteries about a woman physician/forensic pathologist in Henry II's England (yes! really!), was a perfectly fine entry in the series but just didn't blow me away. Of course, the book of Franklin's that *did* blow me away was a stand-alone, City of Shadows, which was also historical but set in 1920s and 30s Berlin. I wish she'd write, or the publishers would publish, more like that. Brief synopsis: Henry II is having trouble with the Welsh and other Celtic people in Britain. Glastonbury Abbey has burned down and the monks claim to have found a coffin which may contain the remains of Arthur and Guinevere. Since the Celts cling to a belief that Arthur is only sleeping and will return to save them, Henry thinks proof of their deaths would be a Good Thing. Adelia (the physician) is sent to Glastonbury in hopes she can "prove" the death. There are a number of subplots as well. I enjoyed the discussions of medieval medicine and herbalism and the ingenious way Adelia treats a torn Achilles tendon. Her relationship with the Bishop of St. Albans grows ever more complicated. The book seemed to drag a bit at the end. I'll probably read more of the series, but I may not be quite as eager as before.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sariah

    This was a great little mystery/historical fiction. The writing was fun and the characters were all likeable. I didn't know this was part of a series (although I had to wonder as they kept referring to things that seemed way to complicated for just a "oh this happened to this character once"), but it stood on it's own quite well. Adelia is comissioned by Henry II to investigate some found skeletons that are believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere. Throw in some murders, feudal laws, Plantag This was a great little mystery/historical fiction. The writing was fun and the characters were all likeable. I didn't know this was part of a series (although I had to wonder as they kept referring to things that seemed way to complicated for just a "oh this happened to this character once"), but it stood on it's own quite well. Adelia is comissioned by Henry II to investigate some found skeletons that are believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere. Throw in some murders, feudal laws, Plantagenet progression, a Welsh bard, some innocent and some not-so-innocent men of the cloth... it was great. I thought some of the language was far too modern, but in reading the author's note at the end I understand why she wrote this way and I can forgive her of it. It actually added to the charm, honestly. And while many of the events in the novel (such as the huge earthquake, finding Excalibur, and the supposed Arthur and Guinevere skeletons) are real events, I liked that the author freely admits to changing around some of the timing issues to better fit her novel. It seems like it should all be fiction, but so much of it is not. That's what makes good historical fiction. I think I need to find the first two books of this series and then continue on.

  30. 5 out of 5

    P.J. Cadavori

    Relics of the Dead: Mistress of the Art of Death 3 is a story about King Arthur, Glastonbury and the west country. The first sentence sets you up beautifully....”And God was angry with His people of Somerset, in the year of Our Lord 1154....”. In Glastonbury two skeletons have been discovered. Could they be the remains of King Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II summons his Wise Woman (but she has to be careful as heresy and witchcraft are everywhere) to examine the remains and give her assessme Relics of the Dead: Mistress of the Art of Death 3 is a story about King Arthur, Glastonbury and the west country. The first sentence sets you up beautifully....”And God was angry with His people of Somerset, in the year of Our Lord 1154....”. In Glastonbury two skeletons have been discovered. Could they be the remains of King Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II summons his Wise Woman (but she has to be careful as heresy and witchcraft are everywhere) to examine the remains and give her assessment. She has to overcome those who want the remains to stay unidentified; there are many who believe that Arthur still lives and will return to lead the Welsh once again to challenge Henry’s rule.  The descriptive writing is excellent and those who like these historical novels, loosely based on legends and history, will really love it. It also has a very modern twist where the Wise Woman has to make her judgements through a male intermediary as women were not taken seriously. Also, another interesting theme is how the legal system actively changes during the progress of the novel as Henry tries to modernise ways of judgement.

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