Monday, 27 October 2008

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

The story takes place in Medieval Cambridge, where several children have been taken and brutally killed. The local Jews have been blamed and take refuge inside the towns castle.
King Henry calls on the King of Sicily to send one of his investigators to try and solve the mystery, along with a renowned doctor. Only this doctor is a woman and the Mistress of the Art of Death.
Together these two, along with her Saracen man servant and King Henry's 'fixer', uncover who the brutal killer is, but not before endangering all their lives

.A well researched and well written mystery.
Loved it.
I'm hoping for further novels.

TIMELINE by Michael Crichton

The story starts in the opening of the 21st century, when a man is found wandering in the Californian desert, totally disorientated. The couple who find the man take him to the hospital, where he dies.
But the doctor is puzzled after doing an MRI scan and we discover that the deam man, Traub, had been employed by ITC - a big company working on quantam physics.
In short, the company has been testing equipment to return people back into history.

We are then moved to a historical excavation in France, around the Dordogne River. The dig is being funded by ITC. When the Professor in charge is ordered back to the States for a meeting with the Company Chairman, the tale gets interesting, especially when the Professor makes a trip back in time and gets stranded. The place is where he has been working with a team of other archeologists. Other members of the team are then "asked" to to back and locate the Professor.

This was an interesting read - taking in the conflicts that were being waged at the time (1400's) and we are told how the Middle Ages were not a Dark part of history, but a time when many advancements were being made.

The students are an interesting mix of personalities and they have to cope with life as it was in that era.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Name of the Rose (Vintage Classics) by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose (Vintage Classics) by Umberto Eco

Amazon Synopsis:
'The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, "The Name of the Rose" is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages. '

I loved this novel.
I'd seen the film years ago, but it just doesn't do the book justice.
You learn so much about the middle ages and monastic society.
Brother William is a wonderful character too.

Monday, 20 October 2008


This is Book 2 in the sequence - Daughter of Tintagel

I had to wait a while for this book, as my local library did not have a copy.
And I like to read the books in order as well.

This story follows on with the tale of Morgan, who has been banished to Tintagel, after she tried to kill her brother, Arthur.
The nuns at Tintagel are to look after her and see to her education, but if she leaves Tintagel, she will be killed. This order is by Uther Pendragon, her stepfather.
We are brought into the story by Luned, a nun, and herself a bit of an outcast. Morgan is given into her care and shares Luned's small cell for nigh on 8 years.
Luned is not strong minded and cannot control the determined ways of Morgan, who gives the impression of being on a path to destruction.
Given the setting in Cornwall and the era, the old ways are still practised, though Christianity is evident.
Morgan's old nurse Gwennol Far Sight keeps in contact and introduces Morgan into the old ceremonies.
Luned must follow Morgan everywhere and witnesses the events, and also is dragged into one of them. The result being that she becomes pregnant (she is very ignorant of her body and does not know of this, until she gives birth).
By then she has lost the respect of the other nuns, and is sent away from the convent and makes her way to Bossiney, the former home of Morgan.
Gwnnol Far Sight then proceeds to instruct Lunel into the old ways.

The character of Morgan is one of uttr deviousness, and taking control of others.
Hatred of her family breeds these feelings.

The story concludes with Morgan being married and I am keen to read the next book in the series.