A Murderous Procession
The stellar Mistress of the Art of Death series continues! Adelia Aguilar, Salerno-trained physician who has been well-nigh kidnapped by King Henry II, sees her chance to return home. She finds out that she is being sent with the king’s daughter Joanna, who is to wed the King of Sicily. However, Adelia’s hopes for escaping from the king’s clutches evaporate when she learns that her young daughter will be remaining in England to ensure Adelia’s return. What Adelia doesn’t realize is that a deranged and deadly enemy is on her trail, and will be joining the party traveling to Sicily. Also going are Rowley, Adelia’s lover (also known as the Bishop of St. Albans), Mansur, and young Ulf, who has been entrusted with a concealed Excalibur, being sent as a gift to the King of Sicily. The journey allows us to make the brief acquaintance of King Henry’s sons, Henry and Richard the Lionheart. It is a particularly brief glimpse of Henry the Young King, as he would far rather be off participating in tournaments than doing his duty accompanying his sister on the voyage.
The author very gracefully incorporates her knowledge of the period into a riveting and suspenseful story. Readers will learn about early surgery, the mounting backlash against the Cathars, and the increasing tensions in Sicily that threaten its once famous tolerance. I advise readers new to Adelia to begin with her first adventure, Mistress of the Art of Death. While A Murderous Procession can stand alone, readers who have the background of the previous three volumes will best appreciate the continuing strands of the story. I rarely reread books, since there are so many I’ve yet to enjoy for the first time. However, this series is one I am already planning to start again from the beginning.
Early Medieval (to 1337)
The Assassin's Prayer