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Relics of the Dead by Ariana Franklin

Relics of the Dead (2009)

by Ariana Franklin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mistress of the Art of Death (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1746910,705 (3.96)160
When the bodies of two people are discovered in the remains of an arson fire that destroyed Glastonbury Abbey, Adelia Aguilar, Mistress of the Art of Death, is ordered by Henry II to determine if one of the sets of bones belongs to the legendary Celtic savior Arthur.



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English (69)  Dutch (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 19, 2018 |
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. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
3.5 stars. Clever use of the Arthurian myth. I found the second book in the series more gripping, but this one is quite enjoyable. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
(This was an Audio book for me...)
I have read a lot of the reviews and while I understand some of the chagrins (about this or that), I can't wait to see what develops next between Ms Aguilar and Rowley, they are oil and water in a dressing, wonderful together, yet they have trouble emulsifying..=] Ms Franklin is deft in her characterization of these characters and they are very engaging. (I also enjoyed the interactions Adelia has with Henry II, and how far we have come (legally speaking).) The mystery itself was interwoven with another mystery...So that did keep me interested and her meticulousness in her historical detail is... well, fun and enlightening.
( )
  lollyletsgo | Aug 10, 2017 |
It is 1176, and Glastonbury Abbey has just burned almost to the ground. Who burned the abbey, and why? And do the pair of unearthed skeletons buried together really belong to the legendary King Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II sends his favorite "Mistress of the Art of Death", Adelia Aguilar, to confirm their identity. And (the King joyfully points out) the Bishop of St. Albans will be visiting the abbey as well on a peacekeeping mission. This story was fun to read; I love this series. Although this particular story was probably the weakest of the three books so far, it was still very good. I also learn a lot because every other page had me turning to Wikipedia to find out some history about Glastonbury, King Arthur, leprosy, or a million other little details. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Franklin, Arianaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Przybyś-Preiskorn, KatarzynaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmermann, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wasel, UlrikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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And God was angry with his people of Somerset so that, in the year of Our Lord 1154, on the day after the feast of St Stepghen, He caused an earthquake that it might punish them for their sins...
"The dead talk to you, mistress," he'd told her, "and I need to know what some of the poor buggers are saying."
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1176- The monks of Glastonbury have discovered two skeletons buried in their graveyard - one is tall, like that of a warrior, the other small and delicate. Are these the remains of King Arthur and Guinevere?

On hearing of the discovery, King Henry II demands evidence that the legendary Arthur is dead – he needs to stop his belligerent Welsh subjects believing that their Once and Future King will return to lead them against him.

So, he calls upon his Mistress of the Art of Death, the anatomist Adelia Aguilar, to examine the bones. But someone doesn’t want the skeletons identified – and is prepared to kill in order to prevent it…
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