A Whispering of Spies: A Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain

Rosemary Rowe, Author
Rosemary Rowe. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8163-2
Open Ebook - 153 pages - 978-1-78010-271-9
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-1-84751-421-9
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-7278-9984-2
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Clever plot shifts and fully realized characters distinguish Rowe’s 13th second-century Roman Britain mystery featuring pavement-maker Libertus (after 2011’s The Vestal Vanishes). Libertus’s influential, if capricious, patron, Marcus Septimus Aurelius, asks for his help in ascertaining whether an invitation to dine should be accepted. The question arises because of the immense wealth of the meal’s host, Voluus, newly arrived in Glevum (modern-day Gloucester) from Gaul, where he was “personal attendant, bodyguard and on-the-spot torturer and executioner for the outgoing governor of Gaul.” Aurelius is concerned that the man’s riches far exceed what his salary would have been. If it turns out the gains were ill-gotten, Aurelius’s standing might suffer. What should be a relatively straightforward assignment becomes geometrically more complex after some of Voluus’s treasure is stolen in a violent attack that leaves four bodyguards dead with their mounts disemboweled—and Libertus a suspect. Rowe offers one of her most ingenious solutions. (Aug.)
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