1/series. 1174 England. Adelia Aguilar, a full-fledged anatomist and doctor from Sicily, is sent (by mistake; everyone had expected a male) to medieval England at the request of King Henry II to defuse the grim situation in Cambridge, where Jews are accused of murdering four Christian children. Having imposed the rule of law throughout his new kingdom, Henry not only wants the laws to hold but sorely misses the revenue his Jews provide. As long as they're holed up in Cambridge's castle, there is no revenue. Adelia walks a fine line in the superstitious country: females cannot practice medicine lest they are accused of being a witch and burned. Click below for more...
There is no shortage of men eager to accuse, and a credulous populace ready to agree. Scapegoating was a popular sport in those days. Adelia practices through her manservant, Mansur, who claims to speak only Arabic, and Adelia is his helper and translator. When Sir Rowley Picot, once a crusader, learns the truth, Adelia waits to see what he will do. The answer surprises them both. As tension rises in the town, the murderer strikes again, close to Adelia and all she loves. Beautifully researched and written, this is a marvelous introduction to the series and the times. It's a 5.
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