Mistress of the Art of Death

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9780143053101: Mistress of the Art of Death

In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews—or anyone, really—but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily—whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe—and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death."

In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, Adelia must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she’s assisted by one of the king’s tax collectors, Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend ... or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia’s investigation takes her along Cambridge’s shadowy river paths, and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again...

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About the Author:

Ariana Franklin was the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A former journalist, Norman had written several critically acclaimed biographies and historical novels. She lived in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman. Ariana was the author of the acclaimed, award-winning Mistress of the Art of Death series. She passed away in 2011, before she was able to deliver the manuscript for Winter Siege. Her daughter, Samantha, who began working life in publishing as a junior editor in children's books before moving in to freelance journalism, decided to complete the novel on her mother's behalf. Samantha Norman is a journalist and broadcaster who is mad about horses. She lives in west London with her two sons Harry and Charlie, and their dogs Becks and Spider.

From AudioFile:

Rosalyn Landor narrates a complex story that merges history, mystery, human rights, feminism, and a touch of romance. Adelia, who is educated in forensics of the period, is sent with a Jewish detective and Muslim eunuch bodyguard to clear the Jews of Cambridge, England, who are accused of murdering Christian children. Landor navigates the tension and tenderness of a headstrong Italian woman caught between cultures and the clash of science and religion. Landor steers listeners skillfully through Adelia's desire to understand what has taken place and her horror at the deeds of a mass murderer. Landor's portrayal reflects Adelia's struggle to maintain scientific detachment in the face of disease, death, and her attraction to a Crusader whom she suspects. S.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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