Ariana Franklin

Relics of the Dead

"...another excellent and gripping story. "


This is the third book about Adelia Aguilar, an anatomist who is attached, albeit reluctantly, to the court of King Henry II. She is asked to investigate two skeletons discovered in the ancient Abbey of Glastonbury. Are they the bones of the inspirational leader King Arthur and his wife Guinevere? King Henry hopes they are, as that would stop the rumours that King Arthur is alive and preparing to support his Welsh followers. The Abbey hope they are, as this would help re-instate the importance of Glastonbury after a disastrous fire.

Adelia , however, will only report the truth and someone is very concerned that these bodies are not identified: enough to kill to prevent it.

Adelia's travelling companions are her daughter, Allie, her maid, Gyltha, and the Saracen, Mansur. Together they are an odd but formidable team. Help also arrives in the shape of the Bishop of St. Albans, Adelia's erstwhile lover and Allie's father...

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This is another excellent and gripping story. Adelia is a feisty and independent character who is very appealing to today's reader. She manipulates those who hold the opinion of the times that women cannot be responsible, by using her companion Mansur as a cover. At all times her training to discover the truth is paramount. The sensitive descriptions of the relationships she has, and the way in which she achieves her aims despite difficulties, is very well handled. Her realisation of the importance of her relationship to the Bishop of St Albans, and the way in which she resolves the problem, are typical of her independence of thought. As always, the background detail and historical research provide the atmosphere and contribute to the great enjoyment I had in reading it.

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