Saturday, November 21, 2009
"Mistress of the Art of Death", Ariana Franklin
With this story we are hurtled back in time to Medieval England. This is a morbidly entertaining novel that depicts human cruelty with details of sexual torture and the sacrificing of innocent children. Employing modern narration to weave historical figures and events into the plot, Ms Franklin provides us with a view of how things were in the 12th century during the reign of Henry11.
Set against a rich background the story begins when four children are found dead and mutilated casting suspicion on the local Jewish population. King Henry 11 implores the King of Sicily (his cousin) to dispatch one of his most trusted and experienced to solve the crime. Sent to England are Adelia Aguila, a doctor specializing in death, Simon her protector and Mansur her Arab servant, their mission is to find the guilty before they kill again. From the start, the trio struggles to understand the horrors and furies that lie behind the gruesome murders.
The author exploits brilliantly the contrast between the 12th century barbaric England and the more modernistic way of thinking Adelia represents. Emotions are vividly portrayed with well-drawn characters.
This is a well crafted novel with numerous twists and continuous surprises throughout