Friday, November 6, 2009
"The Serpent's Tale", by Ariana Franklin
Also under the title” The Death Maze”
Book 2 in the series “The Art of Death”
This is an interesting and compelling story that follows “Mistress of the Art of Death”.
In this sequel, almost two years have passed since Adelia moved to England, now a single mother and currently living contentedly with her friend, Gyltha. When the King’s favourite Rosamund Clifford dies an agonizing death by poison, Henry11 points his finger at his estranged wife Eleanor of Acquitaine. Suspecting that she is hatching a plot to overthrow him, Henry summons Adelia to uncover the truth. She has to move with urgency to identify and expose the culprit and avoid any ramification that may lead to a civil war.
We find a never ending intrigue, tricky subplots and colourful characters as the story reunites Adelia with Rowley Picot eventually bringing them to Oxford. During this dangerous journey, the party falls into the hands of Eleanor’s band of mercenaries, who subsequently imprison them in the Abbey. At this point, the author brings medieval England to life with amazing descriptions of the travels through the maze surrounding the towers. To add dynamics to this unusual relationship, a bit of sexual tension comes to light between Adelia and Rowley who is the Bishop of St-Alban and father of her child.
The author offers a rich mix of murder, medical science and evil plots in a modern day language and terminology. I enjoyed my time spend reading this novel.