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Grave Goods

(Mistress of the Art of Death #3)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  10,141 ratings  ·  846 reviews
Combining the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of medieval fiction, New York Times' bestselling author Ariana Franklin returns with the third title in the Mistress of the Art of Death series.

England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey—one of England's holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthur's sacred Isle of Avalon—has been burned alm
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 19th 2009 by Putnam Adult (first published 2009)
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Lucije 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)

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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,141 ratings  ·  846 reviews

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A richly detailed, almost indecently thrilling mystery... NYT Book Review; The attention to historical detail is flawless...Denver Post; Adelia is a fascinating creation... USA Today

What a great great historical series this is. Full of atmosphere, character, history, a sense, taste, smell and feel of the dark ages... in the times and presence of the characterful Henry II Plantagenet... and the independent and self-made, own minded wonderful Adelia, Mistress of the Art of Death. A whole set of
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really love this series that starts with "The Mistress of the Art of Death!". The story combines the history of Henry II with forensic medicine. My highest recommendation!

"England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey one of Englands holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthurs sacred Isle of Avalon has been burned almost to the ground. The arsonist remains at large, but the fire has uncovered something even more shocking: two hidden skeletons, a man and a woman. The skeletons
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Again a great story with a lot of historical facts thrown in.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
As this is series book #3, I am well into the larger tale now. And I truly enjoyed this one. The plot was better and the characters met within the motives and group cultures of loyalty adding much more to the story than they did in book #2. #2 had so much wanderings up and back that a lot of the continuity to whole story was lost. Not this time. Adelia is also far more mature, and seems much more melted to nature and womanhood than she was in the former books. Her self-identity changing. She's s ...more
This is a wonderful series. It takes place during medieval times but features a strong woman, well-educated and successful. The mystery itself is, to me, secondary to the portrayal of the time and the characters, especially the lead.

It's such a shame Franklin died so young! So many more books waiting to be written.
Hannah Sillars
Feb 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book horrified and offended me. In all honesty and fairness, you should know I'm writing this while waiting for lasagna to finish heating. Hunger may make me a more biting reviewer than usual.

There's lots of good in Ariana Franklin's writing. I so enjoyed "The Siege Winter" due to her vivid descriptions of medieval life, specifically of the castle siege, and the endearing cast of characters she created. That book suffered from the same faults as "Grave Goods," but I felt like I was being h
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
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two bodies are discouvered at Glastonbury abbey. Are they King Arthur and Queen Guinevere? Mistress of the dead Adelia Aguilar is called upon by King Henry II to investigate. Number 3 in the series about 12th century pathologist Adelia and her Saracen protector. A very interesting historical crimenovel in a very interesting period. I enjoy reading about Henri Plantagenet and his reforms of the law. Recommended! I Will read up on Henry Plantagenet soon.
Carolyn F.

As I'm working my way through these books and really enjoying them, it saddens me that the author has passed away. I love how the main character is finally putting ego aside - lady you made this situation what it is - and following her passion. Good story, loved the afterward by the author regarding where she found inspiration. Great series, great book, great narrator Kate Reading
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Again, really enjoyed this book, it's one of my fave historical series! Adelia is a great character, a woman with more modern sensibilities that don't seem forced into the Henry II era. The attention to detail and historical research is, as usual, stunning. The more accurate mythology about King Arthur was interesting to see, enough so that I did EXTRA research after I finished the book. I loved the sense of unease and threat that encompassed this book, you knew bad stuff was gonna go down, but ...more
Jamie Collins
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,
Gruesome title, but I enjoy entering the life of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, Henry II’s reluctant "mistress of the art of death”, who reads bones to determine how their owner came to grief. This is the third in the series and I’d felt something was missing in the second that had been there in the first, but this one was a good read again. Actually I listened to this one, narrated by Diana Bishop, and her accent was pleasant to listen to - and perhaps that added an extra element to my “ ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love this mystery series, which began with one of my favorite book titles, Mistress of the Art of Death. Intriguing characters plus excellent historical background and setting in the England of Henry II.
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
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Book Blurb
England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey—one of England's holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthur's sacred Isle of Avalon—has been burned almost to the ground. The arsonist remains at large, but the fire has uncovered something even more shocking: two hidden skeletons, a man and a woman. The skeletons' height and age send rumors flying- are the remains those of Arthur and Guinevere?

King Henry II hopes so. Struggling to put down a rebellion in Wales, whe
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who enjoy reading about England.
This is a great book which is part of an even greater series. Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin concerns graves found at Glastonbury Abbey which the monks of the Abbey stated were the graves of King Arthur and his wife, Guinevere. Glastonbury Abbey was at one time the richest abbey in England. Besides the setting of Glastonbury Abbey, what intrigued me was the name of the series. The series main character is a woman who has studied medicine and became a doctor when women were not allowed to be a do ...more
Flora Smith
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The saga continues...
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I liked this one even more than the first two - maybe familiarity with characters? Maybe subject matter? It certainly left me ready to read the 4th book - so glad I have it!
I liked the basic premise of this 3rd book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series but at times, Adelia's behaviour struck me as improbable. It has been a while since I read the first 2 books in this series so I don't remember if this was how she behaved earlier...

Kate Reading did a good narration.
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recentlyread
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
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tamora Pierce
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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'

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)