NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

THE SERPENT'S TALE by Ariana Franklin

The Serpent’s Tale, sequel to last year’s Mistress of the Art of Death, finds our medieval MD, Adelia Aguilar, forced out of retirement by Henry II to investigate the murder of his mistress, Rosamund Clifford.

I have seen these books referred to in other reviews as CSI: Canterbury, and I think that is an apt description. The series reminds me a bit of Brother Cadfael. Fans of historical fiction in general and historical murder mysteries in particular would enjoy these books. While there are a few scenes in this installment that seemed unnecessarily slow and I don’t feel the plot was as strong as the one in Mistress of the Art of Death, I still found The Serpent’s Tale to be a satisfying read. Adelia is a wonderfully independent lead character and very believable as a woman doctor/coroner struggling to do her job in a society where her methods are looked upon as witchcraft. But the real magic of this series is in its secondary characters. Mansur, Adelia’s Arab assistant, Rowley Picot, her lover and newly appointed Bishop of St. Albans, and the wildly entertaining Gyltha, whose observations regarding people and political events made me laugh out loud, are people you’ll be glad to meet again and sorry to let go when the last page is turned. (And I’ve probably spelled Gyltha’s name wrong, since I listened to the audio book and am guessing. . .)

Here’s to hoping we have many more adventures with Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno and her band of misfits!


PS Just a side note: This is the second book I read this month in which Eleanor of Aquitaine was a character, and I didn't like her in either one. Hmmmm. . .


Marg said...

I really loved this book! Can't wait to read the next one!

I will say though, that I love reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine - her life just fascinates me - the only woman to be Queen of both England and France, and mother to two kings.

Lezlie said...

Marg ~ I agree. Her life is incredible! I just haven't liked her characterization in the two books I've read. It won't stop me from reading another one though!