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Monday, 24 August 2009

Ariana Franklin

Ariana Franklin's Relics of the Dead is the third in her series about Adelia an early version of a forensic scientist set in the 12th century. In this episode Adelia is summoned by Henry II to try and identify whether two skeletons unearthed in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey are King Arthur and his queen. Needless to state the the task is far from easy and whatever her final verdict is there will be repercussions.

The Fens near Cambridge are getting too hot to hold Adelia so she welcomes the new commission especially when she is able to renew her friendship with Lady Emma Wolvercote and her small son and the Bishop of St Albans the father of her own small daughter. Adelia travels in the direction of Glastonbury with Emma and her entourage until she is diverted to meet King Henry in Wales. They agree to meet up later but Emma disappears and Adelia fears for her safety. So as well as identifying skeletons she has to try and locate her friend.

This is every bit as exciting as the two previous books with excellent characterisation and brilliant dialogue. This author is often criticised because she has people speak in modern English - minus 21st century references - but as she explains in her comprehensive note at the end of the book it would be impossible to write the dialogue in Old English, or Latin or Norman French which would have been the languages in use at the time. I have no problem with this and to me it brings the whole era to life as I can relate to the characters more easily. I enjoyed this story and it is good to see historical fiction set in unusual eras.

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