Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - Only the ending kept it from being 5 Stars, 7 July 2010
This review is from: A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death) (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Nov 2011 10:55:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Nov 2011 11:07:53 GMT
Alison says:
Sorry, Ms Roberts, the author, Diana Norman, died this year. I only hope someone can take up the mantle, but she will be a hard act to follow!!!
I agree the books (all 4 of them) have given us all a gently history lesson, as well as a jolly good read.... you don't know of any other similar authors do you? Im reading the Karen Maitland books at the moment, and have read CJ Sansoms. The latter, in particular, are excellent.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2011 13:40:55 GMT
Hi Alison, I know but wrote this review prior to her death. It is a sad lesson to authors not to leave your protagonists in a cliffhanger at the end of a book. I very much enjoy C.J. Sansom, loved Maitland's first book but not her second. I read a lot of historical mystery authors; David Dickson, Michael Jecks, Edward Marston, Anne Perry, loved the three books by Sylvian Hamilton who passed away before she finished the fourth book, so many others. You can always go to my page and check the shelves for historicals or even or specific time periods. Thanks, LJ.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2011 14:09:59 GMT
Alison says:
Thank you for your response back... I will look up the authors you have named. I go into Waterstones quite often, I love bookshops, but its getting more and more difficult to find something that isnt chick-lit or something I did for A Level! I will have a see on Amazon and see which book I fancy.

As you say, leaving us with a cliffhanger was a real downer.... I so wanted a particular ending and now I will never know if it was to be....

Thanks again for the advice

Alison

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2011 14:27:54 GMT
You're welcome, Alison. Suzanne Alleyn, Patricia Frost, Charles Todd (Rutledge series), Beverle Graves Myers, Imogen Robertson, Anna Dean are also worth looking at.

Happy reading,
LJ

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Nov 2011 11:05:33 GMT
Alison says:
Many thanks, LJ. I have enough to keep me going here! I will let you know how I get on.

Kind regards

Alison
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Review Details

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4.1 out of 5 stars (38 customer reviews)
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Reviewer

L. J. Roberts
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Location: Oakland, CA, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 460