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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - A very good historical mystery
First Sentence: The two men's voices carried down the tunnels with a reverberation that made them indistinguishable but, even so, gave the impression of a business meeting.

King Henry II refused to let Adelia Aguilar return to her home at the School of Medicine in Sicily so she is living in the fens with her baby daughter Allie, companion and baby's nursemain...
Published on 6 Aug 2008 by L. J. Roberts

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent on period detail, but sadly unsatisfying
I love historical thrillers and good writing, and they're best represented - for me and I think many others - by CJ Sansom's Shardlake books. I'm hungry for similar books and there are lots of good ones even if they don't quite meet the same standard.

There is so much this book of Ariana Franklin's, the second in her series about medieval female pathologist...
Published on 4 Sep 2011 by utility dog


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5.0 out of 5 stars Another super Franklin tale, 10 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
Great writing, super story, wonderful series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Oct 2014
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H. Warren (LONDON, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
Loved this carrying on reading the series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
Superb second book in series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Sep 2014
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Helen (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
Came quickly - a good read.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anachronisms or not?, 2 July 2009
This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
I found it difficult to decide whether this book was set in an alternative history or not (there was no reference to this in the writer's afterword, but maybe this was mentioned in the first novel of the series, which I haven't read). The Empress Matilda is explicitly said to be still alive, at a date years after she actually died. As she plays no direct role in the novel, I was trying to work out whether this was a deliberate attempt to disorientate the reader or just a mistake.

Also the fuss about the side-saddles - Anne of Bohemia is famous for having introduced side-saddles into England, but if some Englishwomen did use sidesaddles before that, they were not the modern sort, being rather insecure, and they were not the thing to use if you had to travel as fast as possible, so why is there this fuss about them? Has the heroine used a different kind abroad, or does the author mean to refer to pillion saddles? These two items, fairly early in the novel, left me distrusting the rest of the author's historical information and wondering whether this was just a historical fantasy.

Like side-saddles, handkerchiefs were introduced into England in Richard II's reign and regarded as a finnicky foreign invention; Henry II was a Frenchman, but it does seem unlikely that he used a mouchouer or pleuvoir, as the words are only found some time later in medieval French. Has the author any evidence that he did?

Also in giving an example of a woman taken from a convent and forcibly married, it seems strange that no one in the novel refers to the famous and recent example of the Abbess of Romsey, the daughter of King Stephen, who was forced by Henry II to marry the son of the Count of Flanders so that his ally could get hold of the land that she had inherited. She did eventually manage to get an annulment and return to the religious life.

Overall, I found this novel irritating partly because I don't think the author did enough research and partly because I don't think the heroine really comes across as a convincing character (the world-view of people then was so different that it is hard for novelists to translate it, but giving gritty details of their lives isn't sufficient to do it), so I shan't be reading any more. I think that Pamela Kaufman's novels about Richard I are better.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clever and highly original page-turner, 27 Aug 2011
By 
Petra Bryce "bookworm" (Malvern, Worcs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
Set during the reign of Henry II, we are introduced to Adelia Aguilar, a doctor and anatomist from Sicily but now living in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire with her baby daughter, assistant Mansur, friend Gyltha and her dog. Called on by the local bishop to help investigate the suspected poisoning of Henry's favourite mistress, Rosamund Clifford, she journeys to Oxfordshire, where Rosamund's body lies in a tower surrounded by an intricate maze. With queen Eleanor being blamed for her rival's death, Adelia and her friends have to work hard to prevent the start of another civil war.

Starting with the first few sentences, the author conjures up the lives and customs of the middle ages, with the characterizations so extraordinary and believable that they jump off the page, from the main protagonists down to the minor players, she is able to imbue even a dog, a baby and a corpse with personalities. The descriptions of the wintry countryside, Wormhold Tower and its surrounding maze, as well Godstow convent cut off by snow, are wonderful and extremely vivid, I could feel the bitter cold creeping into my bones as I read. Devoured in just over 48 hours, this is a well-researched and clever historical whodunnit, and even though the identity of the assassin's client was not too difficult to guess, the name of the assassin himself came as a total surprise. The choice of protagonist is highly unusual, and the author comments on a lot of social issues pertinent to that time through the mouths of her characters. With the evocative prose bordering on the lyrical at times, the author nevertheless displays an extraordinary lightness of touch that is compelling and an utter joy to read. Even if the first chapter of the preceding book, Mistress of the Art of Death, hadn't been included, I would have sought out the first and any subsequent titles of the series just on the strength of this book alone. Thoroughly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good sequel to "Mistress of the Art of Death", 22 July 2010
This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
The sequel to "Mistress of the Art of Death" is a surprising novel with a convincing story and powerful portraits of both historical figures (Henry II, Alienor of Aquitaine) and fictional characters.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars whodunnit?, 10 Jan 2011
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M. Buchan - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 (Paperback)
This book arrrive in very good quality despite being used. Not read yet but I look forward to the new adventures having greatly enjoyed the first book in the series.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Death Maze, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. J. T. Jackson "The Raven" (Midlands , UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Death Maze (Paperback)
Had read Ariana Franklins first book, Mistress Of Death. and found it riveting, couldn't wait to start this new one. I was not disappointed, I could not put it down, if possible it's even better than the first one, so much detail and mystery you felt as if you were there. Please can we have many more like this one?.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, good., 1 Sep 2009
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I loved 'The Mistress of the Art of Death'; it took me a while to get into it, but once I was, I couldn't put it down. This was similar; a slow start (I felt) that quickly developed into a good story. Maybe not as good as the first, but certainly a good sequel - well worth reading!.
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The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2
The Death Maze: Mistress of the Art of Death, Adelia Aguilar series 2 by Ariana Franklin (Paperback - 9 April 2009)
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