Ariana Franklin : The Serptent's Tale : Book Review


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BOOK REVIEW: THE SERPENT'S TALE
BY ARIANA FRANKLIN

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In Henry II's England, women were, for the most part, wives, servants, mothers, or members of religious communities. So Franklin's first book in this series presented an anomaly for a protagonist - a woman from a foreign country who was educated in medicine and forensic examination. Adelia was forced to conceal her skill and true worth behind the fiction that she only assisted one of the men who traveled with her. Yet she proved her worth and skill in several encounters with powerful men, and earned the respect of King Henry himself.

In response, Henry moved to make it impossible for her to return to the Mediterrean area she called home, wishing to keep her and her skills close at hand should he need them again. And, of course, he does. His mistress Rosamund has been poisoned, and his wife Eleanor of Aquitane is suspected of arranging the assassination.

After Adelia's gruesome discovery of Rosamund's body, Queen Eleanor arrives at the scene and manages to force Adelia to join her entourage, along with the others who are investigating Rosamund's death. Hampered by brutal winter weather, the entire company takes refuge in a convent on the Thames. The King and his supporters are on their way to challenge the Queen. Yet other deaths in suspicious circumstances make Adelia suspect that the poisoning of Rosamund is much more than a challenge to the authority of the King. Other powerful and jealous forces are involved, willing to stop at nothing to gain the wealth and influence they covet.

Franklin has a very admirable protagonist in Adelia. Fans of historial mysteries as well as general historial fiction have a treat in store.

REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, WOODSTOCK


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