Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin


First I have to mention that I really like the cover art for this book. I think it's very fitting.

This book takes place in England in 1171. The town of Cambridge is having some trouble, a couple of children have gone missing and eventually found murdered. The towns people are blaming the Jews and even killed a couple of them. The Jews have all had to leave their homes and are living in the Castle, so they are protected from the towns people.

Three foreigners show up from Salerno. These three individuals have the task of finding the killer without letting the town know what they are doing. They were sent by the King. One of them is a women, Adelia, she is a doctor of death but because she is a women she has to pass as the Dr.'s assistant. She is there to view the bodies to figure out exactly how they died and possible where. Simon is the chief investigator, he is supposed to be the best and will investigate until he figures out who the killer is, with Adelia's help. Mansure is there to protect Adelia and Simon. Mansure posses as the Dr. These individuals to meet some of the towns people and tell them who they really are. These people assist them in their investigation. Gyltha is the lady who runs the household they are staying at, she does some of the cooking and cleaning. There are two other ladies who help clean, etc. Ulf is Gyltha's grandson and because he is a young boy, he is able to help Adelia and Simon without people being suspicious. I had my guesses on who the murderer was...I kept changing my mind..and in the end..I wasn't right. haha!

This book did take me awhile to read but I have noticed that most historical fiction books take longer for me. I admit at times it was hard for me because they author does use words common during that time...but which I wasn't familiar with, however I could usually figure out what was going on. I thought the story itself was very interesting. I liked the idea of a these three individuals trying to investigate the murder without making it obvious who they are or what they really do for a living. I really liked the main characters in the novel. I liked how Adelia was a women and knew her "place" yet didn't stick to it. I liked how she became friends with Ulf and their relationship. One thing I think is interesting is that this book makes it known that even in 1171 Jew's were prosecuted by the majority. I actually didn't know this until my recent trip to Germany where I visited a Jewish Museum. How odd that I would then come home and pick up a book that touches on that very subject. Overall thoughts...I enjoyed the book and found it interesting. It is out of my comfort zone and at times seemed slow to me but I'm glad I read it.

new author/historical fiction/384 pages

1 comment:

booklogged said...

This is definitely one I want to read.