Laurie's Reviews > A Murderous Procession

A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin
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Sep 05, 10

Read in September, 2010

In this fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series of medieval mysteries, King Henry II of England commands Adelia to accompany his ten year old daughter, Princess Joanna, on her trip to Sicily to marry it’s king, William II. He trusts both her medical knowledge and her skill at mysteries to keep his daughter safe from harm. At first elated to be returning to the country where she was raised, her elation turns to despair when Henry tells her that he will be keeping her daughter Allie in England to insure Adelia’s return. At best, the trip will take months and Adelia has no wish to be separated from her daughter for so long. There is no denying a king his wishes, however, and Allie and her nurse Glytha are left in care of Queen Eleanor. But Joanna is not the only treasure to be kept safe on this journey; Henry is secretly sending the sword Excalibur to William. Not just valuable for its jewels, it represents England and the possessor would have a strong rallying point. Given how Henry’s sons kept trying to take the throne from him, that even could be fatal for him. And what no one realizes is that also on this trip is Adelia’s sworn enemy, one who wishes her both disgraced and dead.

Odd, unpleasant events begin to happen before the group even sets out. At first they seem like accidents, but things get more suspicious. And as the group starts to think of the events as deliberate, they also find that the only one with known motive is Adelia… and they could have only been done by witchcraft. With the Inquisition just getting started, this could lead to a very bad end for Adelia- and it almost does. No one- except nature- makes an attempt on Joanna’s life, but Adelia is in constant peril right up to the end.

This novel is darker in tone than the first three. Europe is falling under the Inquisition and the Christian Crusaders are trying to elimate Moslims. Even Sicily, where Adelia was raised and educated, is falling to prejudice. Women will no longer be allowed to be doctors. Mixed marriages will no longer be allowed. This is as horrifying to Adelia as her own flesh and blood enemy is, and it’s something that she cannot cure. Franklin backs up her mystery stories with solid historical research.The action in the book never lets up, and the cliffhanger ending leaves us screaming “No, no, no!!!” and hoping that book five comes out very soon.
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