In a network of lines that enlace

20-something Londoner with a tendency toward book ranting.

Strong main character, good plot but disappointing ending

Mistress of the Art of Death  - Ariana Franklin

This was my second historical novel, and one again I picked on recommendation. Once again, I was impressed. The story centers on Adelia, a ‘doctor of death’ on a mission from the King of Sicily to uncover a murderer in Cambridge.


The idea of the novel is brilliant; Adelia is the ultimate outsider, being a foreigner, woman and pathologist who becomes the only person able to catch the killer. The way the author writes her methods of working, and the emotions she experiences are fantastic; truly drawing you into the time and her role within it.


The ending was somewhat of a let-down. The novel descended into a romance, which would have worked better if it had been developed into the plot slowly. It all seemed to happen at once, leaving it with the cliché ‘women who couldn’t love who finds a man and marries’ ending. This manages to undo some of the strong, female character building that made the novel so brilliant. However, the majority of the work is good enough that despite the clumsy and frustrating ending, it was worth the read. I am not sure though if I will be reading anymore in the series.

Currently reading

Dangerous Women
George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois
Progress: 201/800 pages