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Ariana Franklin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Makepeace Hedley Books

A Catch of Consequence (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Taking Liberties (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sparks Fly Upward (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Mistress of the Art of Death Books

Mistress of the Art of Death (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Serpent's Tale / Death Maze (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Relics of the Dead / Grave Goods (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Murderous Procession / The Assassin's Prayer (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death and the Maiden (With: Samantha Norman) (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Fitzempress' Law (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
King Of The Last Days (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Morning Gift (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Daughter of Lir (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pirate Queen (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Vizard Mask (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shores Of Darkness (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Royal (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
City of Shadows (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Siege Winter (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Stately Ghosts of England (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Road From Singapore (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Terrible Beauty (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ariana Franklin is a British author best known for the ‘Mistress of the Art of Death’ novels. Ariana Franklin is actually Diana Norman, a journalist that was born in 1933 and who passed away in 2011. Diana created the Ariana Franklin pseudonym to write and publish historical fiction.


Ariana Franklin was born Mary Diana Narracot in London where she spent her earliest years before the blitz forced the family to run away to Devon. Initially, the family lived with her uncle, who was a minister in Churchill’s Cabinet. As a result, not only was Ariana well versed in the goings on of the war but her life was one of privilege, with plenty of helpers around the house to make sure Ariana had everything she wanted.

Life in Devon with her maternal grandparents wasn’t nearly as privileged, though the town of Torquay in Devonshire had its charms. With the economy being what it was at the time, Ariana Franklin saw little purpose in pursuing her education and left school in her teens to make money.

Ariana was greatly influenced by her father who was a journalist with the Times. Her keen intelligence made up for the absence of a formal education and by the time Ariana was seventeen, she had landed a job at a local newspaper in London.

From there, the author only continued to climb the ladder of success, eventually becoming a reporter on Fleet Street at the tender age of twenty. Life as a reporter wasn’t all roses and picnics. Ariana Franklin had to make sacrifices, and she made them gladly.

The author had a lot going for her, not only her intelligence but the striking looks she brought to the table. By 1957, Ariana had married a fellow journalist by the names of Barry Norman.

When the author’s two daughters were born, Ariana saw fit to put her career as a journalist aside. The decision wasn’t only driven by her desire to care for her family. Ariana saw an opportunity write fiction.

From the very beginning, Ariana showed a passion for historical fiction. FItzempress’ Law’, Ariana Franklin’s first book, published in 1980, delved into the reign of Henry II. Subsequent novels continued to pull back the curtain of eras spanning the 12th all the way to the 18th century.

Ariana Franklin’s success as a writer was imputed to her ability to perform meticulous research, guarantee historical accuracy and play with intricate plots. The author’s books also included plenty of humor and intrigue, and they did not feel nearly as verbose as many of the historical fiction novels on the market at that time.

It is worth noting that, while Diana Norman’s first book came out in 1980, she used the ‘Ariana Franklin’ pseudonym for the first time in 2006 when she wrote ‘City of Shadows’.

Ariana likes to dip her toe into the stories of centuries gone by because they are ripe with so much intrigue and excitement. Ariana always takes care to maintain perfect accuracy when it comes to the dialogue of her characters and the way they dress.

Ariana admitted in interviews that one of the more irritating challenges she encountered was trying to make her characters sound contemporary to one another without using slang. Ariana believed that her efforts in this were not wasted because they added authenticity to her stories.

After all, the people in her stories were contemporary to one another, so they had to sound contemporary. Many a reader will admit to being amazed by Ariana’s ability to blend historical and fictional characters, this along with raveling and unraveling complex plots.

Ariana Franklin’s work was influenced by the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, not to mention Tolstoy.

Ariana Franklin is a recipient of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and a Dagger in the Library Award from the British Crime Writer’s Association.

+Mistress of the Art of Death

When children are murdered in Medieval Cambridge in England, all eyes turn to the local Jewish Community. The belief that begins to permeate is that the Jews have taken to sacrificing Christian kids in their pagan rites.

The tensions are such that rioting mobs begin to emerge, determined to avenge the dead children as they see fit. The situation is so grave that the King steps in and hides the Jews away in a castle.

One wouldn’t expect King Henry II to be a friend to the Jews, and he is not. Henry is playing a longer game. He deemed the Jews worthy of his protection because his treasuries would go bankrupt if their merchants stopped paying their taxes.

Henry needs the Jews to be found innocent of the claims being thrust their way. So he calls upon the King of Sicily who has access to the so-called Masters of the Art of Death, an early version of the modern medical examiner.

To help his cousin, the King of Sicily reaches out to the University of Salerno and locates a young protégé by the names of Adelia and the companions that assist her in her work. Adelia quickly determines that the crimes blamed on the Jews could be the work of a serial killer.

Adelia must work quickly but she must also operate stealthily, lest she attracts accusations of witchcraft.

The first book in the ‘Mistress of the Art of Death’ series introduces Adelia to readers, a woman that is clearly several centuries ahead of her time because she refuses to be cowed by the ridiculous and gender specific restrictions of her society.

+The Serpent’s Tale

When the mistress of King Henry II dies, Eleanor of Aquitaine is singled out as the prime suspect, probably because of her position as Henry’s estranged queen. Henry is certain that Eleanor wants to overthrow him. However, Henry cannot act without knowing for certain that Eleanor is guilty. Otherwise, he risks sparking a civil war.

So he forces Adelia out of her retirement in the countryside and away from her infant daughter. With the King’s fixer by her side, Adelia travels to the murder victim’s home, a sinister looking place with a curious history.

Adelia wants to make Henry happy and go home. But the arrival of Queen Eleanor complicates matters. Eleanor takes Adelia and her people captive and holds them in a nunnery through winter, watching as the bodies begin to pile up. Adelia knows that finding the killer could keep England from being engulfed by war.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ariana Franklin

One Response to “Ariana Franklin”

  1. Stace: 3 years ago

    I wish I had millions to do a TV series on Ariana Franklin’s (Mary D Narracot or Diana Norman’s) books!! (Samantha’s too.) Franklin was the absolute BEST!!! I love, love,love her books, her humor, her good teachings (I received),. She is my all time favorite!! Miss her, but never met her really! Thank you internet people or company for the info!


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