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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 April 2010
"A Murderous Procession" is Ariana Franklin's fourth novel in her Adelia Aguliar series. Franklin is the pseudonym of British author Diana Norman, and she has published one stand-alone novel as Franklin, set in Berlin in 1922.

"Procession", like its three preceding novels, is the story of Adelia Agular, a Sicilian-trained doctor who had come to England during the reign of Henry II to help solve a crime and then had basically been held - loosely - by Henry, unable to return to her home in Sicily. She falls in love with a warrior/churchman and bears a daughter out of wedlock. During her eight year forced stay in England, she has preformed many tasks for Henry and his court and solved crimes using the forensic methods she was taught in Sicily. In addition to her daughter, Allie, she lives with a Saracen, who had originally accompanied her from Sicily, pretending to be the doctor of the duo, and she merely the "interpreter" of his medical methods, as well as several English companions who make up her household.

In this book, Adelia is "requested" by Henry to accompany his daughter Joanna on a long, arduous trip over land and by sea to Sicily, where the child of ten is to be married to William, king of Sicily. To make sure Adelia makes the trip and then returns to England, Henry holds her daughter in a benign captivity. Among others in the hundred-person procession are Rowley, her lover, and various other nobles and workers, including an elusive personality who has sworn to murder Adelia in the foulest way he can think of. He remains so elusive that his identity is not revealed til the end.

As the reader soon learns, life in a medieval procession bears resemblance to a traveling village. With so many personalities in the procession, jealousies, crimes, and personal perversions soon reveal themselves. Deaths begin to happen; deaths both natural and murderous, and Adelia is called into both healing the sick and solving crimes. The book, however, has a slightly frenetic feel to it. Too many characters and too many crimes and too many locations on the long road between London and Sicily make this book feel "cluttered".

It's a good read, but it just isn't as good as its predecessors. If you've read and enjoyed the three previous novels, I'm sure you'll like this one. I just can't quite recommend it as a first Adelia-novel.
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A Murderous Procession" is Ariana Franklin's fourth novel in her Adelia Aguliar series. Franklin is the pseudonym of British author Diana Norman, and she has also published one stand-alone novel as Franklin, set in Berlin in 1922.

"Procession", like its three preceding novels, is the story of Adelia Agular, a Sicilian-trained doctor who had come to England during the reign of Henry II to help solve a crime and then had basically been held - loosely - by Henry, unable to return to her home in Sicily. She falls in love with a warrior/churchman and bears a daughter out of wedlock. During her eight year forced stay in England, she has preformed many tasks for Henry and his court and solved crimes using the forensic methods she was taught in Sicily. In addition to her daughter, Allie, she lives with a Saracen, who had originally accompanied her from Sicily, pretending to be the doctor of the duo, and she merely the "interpreter" of his medical methods, as well as several English companions who make up her household.

In this book, Adelia is "requested" by Henry to accompany his daughter Joanna on a long, arduous trip over land and by sea to Sicily, where the child of ten is to be married to William, king of Sicily. To make sure Adelia makes the trip and then returns to England, Henry holds her daughter in a benign captivity. Among others in the hundred-person procession are Rowley, her lover, and various other nobles and workers, including an elusive personality who has sworn to murder Adelia in the foulest way he can think of. He remains so elusive that his identity is not revealed til the end.

As the reader soon learns, life in a medieval procession bears resemblance to a traveling village. With so many personalities in the procession, jealousies, crimes, and personal perversions soon reveal themselves. Deaths begin to happen; deaths both natural and murderous, and Adelia is called into both healing the sick and solving crimes. The book, however, has a slightly frenetic feel to it. Too many characters and too many crimes and too many locations on the long road between London and Sicily make this book feel "cluttered".

It's a good read, but it just isn't as good as its predecessors. If you've read and enjoyed the three previous novels, I'm sure you'll like this one. I just can't quite recommend it as a first Adelia-novel.
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First Sentence: Between the parishes of Shepfold and Martlake in Somerset existed an area of no-man's-land and a lot of ill feeling.

Dr. Adelia Aguilar is thrilled to learn Henry II wants to send her to accompany his daughter Joanna's wedding procession to her home of Sicily. Her feelings change to anger when she learns Henry is keeping Ariana's daughter in England to ensure Adelia's return. With them, and well concealed, will be Arthur's sword, Excaliaber, as a gift to the bridegroom. Danger a rises from an old foe out to steal the sword and looking for revenge against Adelia.

There was a different feel to this book than those previous. Whereas before, Adelia seemed very much in control and strong, here she was in situations completely beyond her control and, at times, in great peril. While some readers might not care the change this wrought in the character, I liked that it showed her vulnerability and weaknesses, as well as the human failing that when the truth is too frightening to accept, it is denied.

There is a progression in the lives of the characters with each book, which is important to me. Some readers have criticized the coup de foudre felt by the O'Donnell for Adelia. Having personally experienced it--although it didn't last--I didn't find it unrealistic. I did enjoy that we meet Adelia's parents in this book.

As always with Franklin's book, I learn so much history. Henry's daughter, Joan, was known to me, but not in any detail nor her role in history. Of late, I've read more books that deal with the Cathers, and I find them fascinating. I certainly knew nothing of the history of Sicily and found it significant that she shows it to us at a turning point in its history.

Perhaps I'm obtuse, but I did not figure out the identity taken by the villain until it was revealed. What I did not like, was the ending. It seems more authors are doing cliff-hanger endings and it's a trend I dearly hope will end almost immediately. Write a good book, I promise to read the next one without being tricked into so doing.

I very much enjoyed the story and only the ending prevented my rating it as "excellent." For readers new to the series, I recommend starting at the beginning. For me, I am ready for the next book.

A MURDEROUS PROCESSION (The Assassin's Prayer) (Hist. Mys-Adelia Aguilar-England/France/Italy-Middle Ages/1179) - VG+
Franklin, Ariana - 4th in series
G.P. Putnam's Sons, ©2010, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780399156281
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on 20 April 2013
I loved Diana Norman's Fitzempress Law and King of the Last Days which she wrote back in the 80s. They were set in the time of Henry 11 - a favourite period of mine - so I was delighted when I discovered her Adelia Agular series set in the same period but written under the pseudonym Ariana Franklin. Adelia is a Sicilian-trained doctor who is excellent at discovering how people have been murdered - yes, women could qualify as doctors back in the 12th century, in Sicily. She arrived in England in the first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, and Henry insists she stays. However, she has to pretend that her Saracen guardian is the doctor, she his interpreter because the English, particularly churchmen, would think her a witch. Over the years she has acquired a lover - who has become a senior churchman, a daughter, Allie, and some faithful friends/servants. In this, the fourth books, Adelia is "persuaded" by Henry to accompany his daughter, Joanna, to Sicily, where the child is to be married. Initially delighted to be going home, she is horrified when she discovers that her daughter is to remain in England - clearly a hostage for her return to England. Rowley, her lover, is also to accompany the princess but unknown to any of the other travellers there is one among them who intends to murder Adelia if he can and Franklin holds the tension beautifully and keeps the reader guessing as to who the killer is. She also beautifully realises what it must have been like travelling as part of a cavalcade that has knights, churchmen, servants, pampered ladies-in-waiting, all of whom have to be fed, watered, bedded. The deaths begin in fairly short order, and sickness and witch-hunting. Pretty well non-stop action! While this can be read on its own, give yourself a treat and read the other 3 novels first. Romance is never underplayed - but nor does it get in the way of the crimes, which is just how it should be!
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on 29 September 2011
The previous books were set in various parts of England (Cambridge area, Thames valley and Somerset levels) but this traces a route through France and Italy to end up in Sicily. Adelia has to accompany a young princess travelling to her wedding at Palermo. Among the large retinue lurks an old enemy determined to murder her but also keen to cause her a great deal of trouble first.

As with the other books this is to a large extent a comedy. Light on history and with rather cartoon characters - but it is fun all the same. Several of the usual crew turn up for the long trip (including the smelly dog) plus a set of new oddities to help and hinder. We meet the king's foolish sons, a downtrodden maid, some unpleasant churchmen, an Irish pirate and Cathars depicted (following a popular misreading of Montaillou) as a medieval hippy commune. Norman Sicily is shown as an enlightened state where different religions co-exist though dark clouds are gathering to destroy the idyll. Pleasant myths but a pinch of salt is needed.

Two main problems. Compared to the previous books this one does not have a real mystery. There are bodies but the journey keeps moving the characters on, leaving any chance of detection behind. The threat is to Adelia herself which robs her of the distancing that a good fictional detective needs. The other difficulty is the abrupt and partly unresolved ending.

The same book is also published under the title 'A Murderous Procession'.
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on 14 December 2010
I fully agree with other reviewers. It is a terrible habit of publishers to release the same book in US and Europe with two different titles. The only reason I can see is attempted rip off.
One way to combat this is boycotting the authors and publisher who do this. Although admittedly authors claim to have little say I cannot believe them to be completely powerless in that regard.
In this case we are talking about Putnam and Bantam Press. Watch out for those and avoid their books. Maybe this way they will learn that there is little to be gained by cheating.
I am not sure what Amazon can do about it but think they should use their considerable power to try to do something about it.
It is indeed very frustrating.
So, help us all by naming and shaming those who try to trick us into buying the same book twice.
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on 14 October 2011
Another great from this fantastic author. I have read all her others and still enjoy the continuing saga of Adelias life with her daughter and lover. Wont spoil the ending for others who have not read it yet but I hope - you know who - doesn't die!!!!! awaiting book 5 please with the said person surviving - or it wont be the same!!!!
Read all 4 they are all great!!!!
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on 5 April 2011
This is the fourth in Ariana Franklin's 12 century mysteries featuring anatomist, doctor and mistress of the art of death Adelia Aguilar. King Henry II has tasked Adelia with watching over the ten year old Princess Joanna on her journey to meet her new husband in Sicily. As ever the best scenes are with the King though in this case they are so short as to hardly be worth mentioning. Likewise, the cameos by the King's sons, including Caeur de Lion himself are too brief to make much of an impression. Franklin seems to be collecting characters too beloved to herself, and to some readers, for her to leave out of the narrative. And there lies the problem. The book is great fun, with lots of the characters that we've all grown used to but the mystery aspect of the book seems to be anemic by comparison. Tracking Adelia is the totally nutso outlaw Scarry, disguised as one of the travelling company and bent on bringing Adelia down before he kills her in revenge of her killing of his outlaw lover from the previous book. Working out this mystery shouldn't be too taxing even for the most amateur of armchair detectives, which considering we don't have the same benefit of having already seen the guy, as Adelia has, begs the question how does it take so long for our heroine to work it out. Barring several pages with the curious incident of the ex-goat in the nighttime there is very little opportunity for Adelia to call on her deathly arts at all. Having several sub-plots but no notable primary plot turns this one into a colourful travelogue rather than a mystery. It's still an enjoyable and easy read, bolstering the already rich ensemble of characters with some new note worthies, like Boggart, the O'Donnell and Rankin - an overly caricatured Scotsman (the peeps, the peeps). The historical aspects of the journey are fascinating, not least the emerging religious and political landscape of the middle ages. Fans of the series will probably be too satisfied to be back in the company of old friends to be concerned with the shortcoming's of the plot.
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on 13 May 2014
The latest in the Adelia series takes some beating. I have loved everyone of the books in this series. A mixture of history, mystery, a poignant romance and a gripping plot , Adelia the female doctor of Sicily has to hide her role as a doctor in the England of Henry the Second otherwise the church would consider her a witch is compelled by Henry to go to Sicily to escort his daughter . Once again she and Rowley her lover have to solve yet more murders. The plot is pretty fictitious but historical background ie pretty accurate.

If you are interested in this book start at the beginning of the series. The Mistress of the Art of Death and work your way through. It's worth it ,
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on 25 March 2012
Having just re-read the whole series after first reading them two or three years ago and enjoying them, if anything, even more than the first time round, I disagree with previous reviews. This is every bit as good as the first three; if there is a weak one, for me it is the Death Maze. And since, sadly, there will be no more, I have created a mental ending, with you-know-who surviving the voyage to England, telling the Church to stuff its bishopric, and settling down in unmarried bliss with Adelia. Ariana/Diana's death is a great loss to the writing world.
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