Since she solved a particularly nasty case of child murder using her forensic skills, Adelia Aguilar is deemed too valuable to send back to the School of Medicine in Salerno where she was trained. Instead, King Henry II has decided to keep her in England. This is bad news for Adelia - in free-thinking Salerno, women doctors are accepted but in twelfth-century England they're unheard of and regarded as witches. Under suspicion, and with her illegitimate child, Adelia is forced to live and practise in the secrecy of Cambridgeshire's fenland. But at Henry's court, terrible things are happening. Out of jealousy, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is not only stirring up revolt against her husband, rumour has it that she has also poisoned Fair Rosamund Clifford - the King's favourite mistress.If Henry believes the stories, England will be torn apart as King battles Queen. In a race against time to prove that Eleanor is at least innocent of Rosamund's murder, Adelia is recruited by Rowley, her former lover and father of her child, to help avoid a civil war. It isn't easy. An assassin is on the loose and so is Queen Eleanor with a small army.
Adelia encounters both as, in the middle of a terrible medieval winter, she tries to pierce the physical and metaphorical maze that surrounds Rosamund's tower and the mystery of the dead woman who lies frozen inside it.
Shortlisted for CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2008.
Ariana Franklin was born in Devon and, like her father, became a journalist. Having invaded Wales dressed in combat uniform with the Royal Marines for one of their military exercises, accompanied the Queen on a royal visit, missed her own twenty-first birthday party because she had to cover a murder, she married, almost inevitably, another journalist. At this point she decided that staying married was a good idea so she abandoned her career in national newspapers and has settled down in the country to bring up two daughters, study medieval history and write. The Serpent's Tale is her second historical thriller.