This is the first one of Ariana Franklin’s MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH series that I’ve read, and I must say I enjoyed it even though there was one horrendous incident in the novel, in which the screams of the victim were hauntingly portrayed. (The nastiness and brutishness of the Middle Ages was well-portrayed and believable.) I agreed with other readers, however, that the author should NOT have dismissed Eleanor of Aquitaine as someone who was not her husband’s intellectual equal. I can imagine Henry saying that about her, but I didn’t think that Franklin should let her authorial opinions intrude at this point. Especially as she is probably wrong.

The book was enjoyable until the end. What a lazy way to end a novel! It was extremely annoying because it was so obviously a marketing pitch for the next one. Apart from the cheap ending, I enjoyed the novel. Four stars for an entertaining novel, 1 star for the lazy ending making this 3 stars.

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