The Serpent's Tale

The Serpent's Tale

Book - 2008
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Ariana Franklin combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of historical fiction in the enthralling second novel in the Mistress of the Art of Deathseries, featuring medieval heroine Adelia Aguilar. Rosamund Clifford, the mistress of King Henry II, has died an agonizing death by poison-and the king's estranged queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the prime suspect. Henry suspects that Rosamund's murder is probably the first move in Eleanor's long-simmering plot to overthrow him. If Eleanor is guilty, the result could be civil war. The king must once again summon Adelia Aguilar, mistress of the art of death, to uncover the truth. Adelia is not happy to be called out of retirement. She has been living contentedly in the countryside, caring for her infant daughter, Allie. But Henry's summons cannot be ignored, and Adelia must again join forces with the king's trusted fixer, Rowley Picot, the Bishop of St. Albans, who is also her baby's father. Adelia and Rowley travel to the murdered courtesan's home, in a tower within a walled labyrinth-a strange and sinister place from the outside, but far more so on the inside, where a bizarre and gruesome discovery awaits them. But Adelia's investigation is cut short by the appearance of Rosamund's rival: Queen Eleanor. Adelia, Rowley, and the other members of her small party are taken captive by Eleanor's henchmen and held in the nunnery of Godstow, where Eleanor is holed up for the winter with her band of mercenaries, awaiting the right moment to launch their rebellion. Isolated and trapped inside the nunnery by the snow and cold, Adelia and Rowley watch as dead bodies begin piling up. Adelia knows that there may be more than one killer at work, and she must unveil their true identities before England is once again plunged into civil war . . .
Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2008
ISBN: 9780399154645
Branch Call Number: FICTION Franklin
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Serpent's tale : a novel


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Jun 25, 2018

A good thing to read in a heat wave, since the setting is winter on the Thames when they really had a winter.

ArapahoeCynthiaK Oct 14, 2016

Loved this historical fiction mystery series which features sleuth Adelia!

Jun 12, 2016

This is a really enjoyable historical fiction series about a medieval doctor solving various crimes under duress from Henry II. The characters are appealing and the description of medieval England fantastic

Apr 03, 2015

E-book or large print would be nice.

Apr 03, 2015

Ariana Franklin is one of my favorite historical fiction/mystery writers, so given that I devoured her first in this series (Mistress of the Art of Death), I was really looking forward to diving into The Serpent's Tale. And I was not disappointed!

Like a good CSI show, this book keeps you guessing about the guilty party until the end. Even when Adelia figures it out, she doesn't say it (thus letting us readers in) until it's necessary. But beyond the deeper double-mystery driving the plot, there's a delightful attention to detail with the historical fiction side of things. Adelia Aguilar is an exceptional woman- trained at the School of Medicine in Salerno (which did admit female students!) and working in England, she's more analytical and calculating than almost everyone around her. By modern standards, she's an amazing woman. By period standards, she's frightening. But the struggles she must endure, and the broader strokes of church and state power struggles, attitudes toward women, classism, etc. are all beautifully woven into the story, providing an accurate (but not distracting) environment.

In short, I loved it. It was an excellent follow-up to her first novel, and I'm about to dive into the third one (which I think, sadly, is the last Adelia novel). I highly recommend it to fans of Ariana Franklin and the first book. However, if you haven't read the first you can still pick up the second without being lost- there's good exposition in there. If you like medieval historical fiction, strong (intelligent) female characters, good murder mysteries, rural England of the past, political power struggles, the discovery of scientific processes, and good should definitely pick this one up.

Dec 22, 2014

Very engaging tale of forensic detective work in medieval England, with Franklin's lively proto-feminist protagonist. This second book in the series gives us the political turmoil of the reign of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and an especially disgusting decomposing body.

Sep 04, 2012

does anyone know if there is the possibility of post mortum publication of somethingthat might have been in the works or if the publisher has contracted a writer to continue the series????

Aug 23, 2011

The Mistress in the Art of Death series of four books are really quite good. However, be warned that the author died suddenly after writing the fourth one, therefore we will never know the end of the saga. A great loss.

Feb 06, 2011

Love this series!

Medieval mystery with a wonderful heroine, feeling of being present during the era of the crusaders, and historical facts mixed in with the fiction.

May 13, 2010

Second book in a series. Fascinating historical detail and great characters. Inspired me to google Henry 2nd to find out more about this interesting man and time period. Of course, Adelia is one of a kind!

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