Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Relics of the Dead” as Want to Read:
Relics of the Dead
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Relics of the Dead (Mistress of the Art of Death #3)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  7,473 ratings  ·  698 reviews
1176. The monks of Glastonbury have discovered two skeletons buried in their graveyard - one is tall, like that of a warrior, the other small and delicate. Are these the remains of King Arthur and Guinevere?

On hearing of the discovery, King Henry II demands evidence that the legendary Arthur is dead - he needs to stop his belligerent Welsh subjects believing that their Onc
Audio CD
Published September 6th 2010 by Chivers Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Relics of the Dead, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Lucijem Not really but it helps. The main characters do have relationships that develop throughout the books but it's not really necessary to read all of…moreNot really but it helps. The main characters do have relationships that develop throughout the books but it's not really necessary to read all of them. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I really like this series. I love the characters, and particularly Adelia. I love the pacing, the mysteries, the historical setting. I love Henry II, even though he drives me batty sometimes.

What I really don't love is Rowley. In previous books, I sort of managed to put up with him - he manages to be less annoying as the plot thickens, and he generally isn't around much before then.

The reason I dislike Rowley is this: he doesn't love Adelia. Not really. He hates all the parts of her that she che
First Sentence: “And God was angry with His people of Somerset so that, in the year of Our Lord 1154. pm the day after the feast of Saint Stephen, He caused an earthquake that it might punish them for their sins…” Thus wrote Brother Caradoc in Saint Michael’s chapel in top of Glastonbury Tor, to which he’d scrambled, gasping and sobbing, so as to escape the devastation that God with his earthquake had wrought on everything below it.

King Henry II is fighting to suppress the rebellious Welsh, who
The third and latest in the "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, historical mysteries by Ariana Franklin (aka Diana Norman) set in late 12th century England, is the best of the lot. Mistress of the Art of Death, the first book, was well done. The author stumbled a bit with the second, The Serpent's Tale, but she has found her stride with the current offering. Set in Glastonbury and wrapped in the mists of Avalon, the work is a must for anyone besotted with the Matter of Britain. Adelia, the mi ...more
Grave Goods
3.5 Stars

The historical background is fascinating despite one or two glaring inconsistencies (that are ultimately explained in the author's note), but the investigation into the corpses believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere is not as engrossing as in the previous books.

There are a number of mysteries interspersed throughout the book: Who are the unidentified corpses in the Glastonbury graveyard? Who set fire to the abbey? What happened to Adelia's friend Emma and her child? Eve
An enjoyable medieval mystery, the third in this series. The setting is great, and I like Franklin's writing very much.

The king's appearances were fun, as always, although the bit at the end where Adelia (view spoiler) was a little over the top. We are already quite aware that the author thinks Henry II was a really good king. She left Eleanor alone this time, thank goodness, with only one dig about the queen's jealousy.

I like all of these characters,
J. Else
This is actually the third book in a series, but I could not tell. While there are references to the main character’s past, this is no more than any stand-alone novel would elude to, which to my mind this book truly could be. The main protagonist, Adelia, is a type of medieval forensic pathologist trained at a school in Salerno (which was actually the world’s first medical school). Her character is strong but vulnerable and even throws up a heartfelt prayer here and there. She does not discount ...more
Flora Bateman
This is the third book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I was generous rounding this up to 4 stars I would actually give it a 3.5 but because I loved the ending I rounded up. This book is much like the other two. Adelia is given an almost impossible task for the time period in speaking with the dead thru forensics. And this time she is dealing with what is believed to be the bones of King Arthur and Guinevere. There are definite mysteries within mysteries and I was certainly kept inte ...more
Wow. I saw the Arturus bit coming a mile off (if/when you've read it you'll understand) but the rest of the conclusions were nice surprises. Or not so nice. They hit me in the gut because a lot of the things involved are heartbreaking for me.
This author has an amazing writing style and manages to keep this in line with previous novels without giving away too many spoilers. It has made me want to read the first two and the fourth to see how we got to this point and where they go from here. Brilli
This was a great little mystery/historical fiction. The writing was fun and the characters were all likeable. I didn't know this was part of a series (although I had to wonder as they kept referring to things that seemed way to complicated for just a "oh this happened to this character once"), but it stood on it's own quite well. Adelia is comissioned by Henry II to investigate some found skeletons that are believed to be those of Arthur and Guinevere. Throw in some murders, feudal laws, Plantag ...more
Tamora Pierce
Forced into flight from her beloved fens, Arelia, the forensic physician, is ordered by Henry II to discover if remains recently uncovered at Glastonbury are those of Arthur and Guenevere. Searching for a missing friend who was on her way to claim a property, coming to the town and abbey which has burned to the ground, Arelia and her household are up to their necks in trouble. She and her Saracen manservant Mansur, who masquerades as the true doctor since the time and place forbid a woman to pra ...more
I do so very much enjoy this series. The stories are well-written; I like the main characters and the plot is always interesting and a page - turner. I enjoy a historical mystery and also like mysteries set in the UK for some reason. Maybe it's just the history and culture that draws me. This story revolves around Henry II's task to Adelia to ascertain if the bones discovered after the fire at the Abbey at Glastonbury are those of Alfred and Guinnevere. Adelia and her friends journey to Glastonb ...more
Joyce Lagow
3rd in the Adelia Aguilar of Salerno series.[return][return]Adelia is in trouble. Even with the fiction of Mansour, her Saracen bodyguard, as a physician, the quacks of Cambridge are losing enough money to have both Mansour and Adelia hauled before a court on charges of heresy and possibly witchcraft. Prior Gregory, Adelia s true friend, manages to convince Adelia, Mansour and the ever-loyal Gyltha along with 4 year old Allie to escape. They take refuge with Lady Emma Wolvercote, who made her fi ...more
I truly enjoy the characters in this series and while the first couple were so interesting as I progressed I found myself classifying succeeding volumes as cozy medieval mysteries. Adelia is a wonderfully independent and intelligent woman. What I find difficult to understand is why she is so emotional. Her relationships with Rowley and the king are tempestuous and almost always fraught with conflict even though she loves Rowley and respects the king. I quite enjoy the conversations with the king ...more
This book, third in the series of historical mysteries about a woman physician/forensic pathologist in Henry II's England (yes! really!), was a perfectly fine entry in the series but just didn't blow me away. Of course, the book of Franklin's that *did* blow me away was a stand-alone, City of Shadows, which was also historical but set in 1920s and 30s Berlin. I wish she'd write, or the publishers would publish, more like that.

Brief synopsis: Henry II is having trouble with the Welsh and other C
Donna BookWorm
Grave Goods by Arianna Franklin- It was EXCELLENT! I found it on sale at a bookstore for like 30% off (winning!). Anyway the story is about a forensic doctor from the time of Henry Plantagenet (Henry II) and he sends her off to Glastonbury after he hears rumor that a dying monk had a vision of King Arthur’s burial. When she gets there she finds two skeletons, the smaller one missing it’s pelvic bones. She’s supposed to verify that the skeletons are indeed Arthur and Guinevere so the Welsh will s ...more
P.J. Cadavori
Relics of the Dead: Mistress of the Art of Death 3 is a story about King Arthur, Glastonbury and the west country. The first sentence sets you up beautifully....”And God was angry with His people of Somerset, in the year of Our Lord 1154....”. In Glastonburytwoskeletons have been discovered. Could they be the remains of King Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II summons his Wise Woman (but she has to be careful as heresy and witchcraft are everywhere)to examine the remains and give her assessment. ...more
Despite Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar's more annoying traits of having a very short fuse and seldom seeing the forest for the trees, she makes for a fascinating and unique heroine. Some readers might complain about Franklin's anachronisms too, but she defends them convincingly at the end of the book, and I don't expect to read a NOVEL (a modern form) that depicts characters speaking in some combination of medieval church Latin, somewhat creolized Norman French, and various vulgar dial ...more
Michael K Martin
I was just looking for an audiobook to tide me over a trip, and I ran across this one. The title intrigued me, and any series entitled "A Mistress in the Art of Death" has to be given a try.

The main character is Adelia Aguilar, a lady trained as a medical doctor in Salerno, and wandering the English countryside with a Saracen protector, who masquerades as a doctor himself so that Adelia can negotiate her way through 1176 Glastonbury.

This book had me hooked from the beginning, where a bishop and
My two favourite genres – historial and crime – combined. I’ve enjoyed this book the most in the series so far. The story of Adelia and Rowley (I’m even a little in love with him) continues. Henry II asks Adelia to invesigate bones and this again tips her into not just one mystery but several. Are these the bones of Arthur and Guinevere, who burnt the abbey down, what’s going on at the Inn, where is Emma and her entourage? I really appreciated the way the author informs us a great deal about lif ...more
This is the third book in the Mistress of the Art of Death Series. This historical fiction series takes place during the Middle Ages and the time of King Henry II. The main character is from Solerno and is a trained physician with a specialty in autopsies. Her skills are disguised due to the role of women in the middle ages and she travels as an "interpreter" for a Saracen, her childhood protector. King Henry II engages her skills whenever there is a death that has political implications to the ...more
It might be me, but I didn't think this book was as good as the previous two....

All the main characters are the same, but one would think that for someone as intelligent as Adelia is....when there is a known threat that she would ask Mansur for help and hatch some plan....I mean that is why he is there and she uses his help for everything else.

So this book is about an earthquake at the Abbey of Glastonbury (formerly Avalon), a fissure in the ground between two pyramids in the graveyard, a vision
Lillian Carl
I never finished the first book in the series, disliking a couple of Franklin's stylistic tics, and only picked up this one when I saw that it's based on the historical "discovery" of the bodies of Arthur and Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey in the late 12th century. Adelia, the main character, is a female doctor and (as we'd say today) medical examiner born, raised, and trained in Sicily. In England, she has to hide behind her Arab companion, pretending that he's the doctor and she's his assista ...more
Mark Robertson
This tale of murder set in the late 12th century brings in a good bit of history regarding Henry II, a man the author evidently greatly admires, along with a good dose of Arthurian lore. There's plenty of killing going on in the Welsh and English countryside, both by Henry's army, which is busy putting down Welsh insurrection as well as by highway men and other less likely suspects.

Adelia Aquilar, a doctor and anatomist who uses her knowledge to investigate crime, is summoned by Henry to look i
Even in the 1170s, King Arthur was a powerful mythic figure, hailed by both Welsh and English as the great predecessor leader whose legend would inspire them to new heights. An earthquake at the great abbey of Glastonbury, reputed to be the site of Camelot (along with a bunch of others) splits open the burial ground at a propitious time: three figures who have bodies to bury lower them deep into the fissure, which aftershocks close. A Welsh captive who heard of the event tells Henry II, who has ...more
Listened to the unabridged audio version. Kate Reading does a great job with the voices, especially the Welsh and country folk accents.
Not my favorite of the three. I guessed some major plot points early on but it was still good. I did enjoy the whole King Arthur's grave aspect as one of my favorite books from childhood was about that find (Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanor Jewett). The ending sets us up for a truly threatening turn of events in the next book. Can't wait.
After thoroughly enjoying the first in this series but being slightly disappointed in the second, this was a welcome return to form. Its hard to believe its set in the 12th century as it rattles along like any twentieth century thriller. Ostensibly about the attempt to identify two bodies left in an unmarked grave, it becomes so much more; a missing friend, fratricide, psychotic villains and lepers!

Franklin as always conjures up the atmosphere and scenery of the place and time wonderfully, her
Joyce Moore
I love medievals, so was delighted when my book club chose this, but it's not my kind of book. I did finish it, though, because the writing was good. It seemed contrived and I had trouble suspending disbelief, but I'm convinced it's just the genre I don't enjoy. Characters were well-developed, though, and I loved the setting. I found the heroine's casual relationship with K Henry a bit of a stretch.
Dec 29, 2011 erin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to erin by: goodreads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Right on the heels of The Serpent's Tale, I was lucky enough to read the third in the Mistress of the Art of Death series, Grave Goods.

Like with all the others, Adelia is a feisty, intelligent heroine, who is also hobbled by her gender (given that it's set during the reign of Henry II). This story takes place a few years after the second book does. This time, it's set around a mystery in Glastonbury. There's plenty of reference to Arthurian legend, as well as (of course) early medical science.

Relics of the Dead is the UK title, and Grave Goods is the US title for this 3rd book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series. I was confused at first, but thank goodness for Google!

You just can't go wrong with any book in this series. Historical fiction, adventure, suspense, and little romantic intrigue. Can't wait for the next book!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Where Serpents Sleep (Sebastian St. Cyr, #4)
  • Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia, #2)
  • Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #3)
  • Dragon's Lair (Justin de Quincy, #3)
  • The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3)
  • Anatomy of Murder (Crowther and Westerman, #2)
  • Petty Treason (Sarah Tolerance, #2)
  • An Unholy Alliance (Matthew Bartholomew, #2)
  • A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)
  • The Demon's Parchment (Crispin Guest, #3)
  • A Mortal Bane (Magdalene La Batarde, #1)
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.

The Death Maze (UK) is published as The Serpent's Tale in the US.
Relics of the Dead (UK) is published as Grave Goods in the US.
The Assassin'
More about Ariana Franklin...

Other Books in the Series

Mistress of the Art of Death (4 books)
  • Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, #1)
  • The Serpent's Tale (Mistress of the Art of Death, #2)
  • A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death, #4)
Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, #1) The Serpent's Tale (Mistress of the Art of Death, #2) A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death, #4) City of Shadows Winter Siege

Share This Book