Mistress of the Art of Death

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9780399154140: Mistress of the Art of Death

A chilling, mesmerizing novel that combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of historical fiction.

In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town's Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry I is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, 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," an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia-the king has been sent a mistress of the art of death.

Adelia and her companions-Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor-travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king's tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her into 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 is the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A bestselling author and former journalist, she lives in England with her husband, the film critic Barry Norman.

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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