A Dreadful Destiny

Rosemary Rowe. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8991-1
Political tensions are high in Rowe’s exceptional 19th mystery set in Roman Britain (after 2019’s A Prisoner of Privilege) after the assassination of Emperor Pertinax in 194 CE and the succession of Septimus Severus, whose wife is a powerful force in ruling the empire. Anonymous denunciations of public officials as traitors to Septimus are rampant in Glevum (today’s Gloucester), where Libertus, a Celtic nobleman who has become a Roman citizen, serves on the city council. Against this fraught background, Libertus and his patron, Marcus, are put in a tight spot after Druscilla Livia appears in Glevum. Claiming to be a relative of the empress, Druscilla seeks help in avoiding marriage to a sadistic but influential senator, who has followed his runaway fiancée from Rome to Glevum. Several murders follow, providing considerable challenges for Libertus in his pursuit of justice. Rowe’s mastery of the period, including the Roman laws governing marriage, enable her to provide a vivid backdrop, and the riveting plot delivers more than one emotional gut punch. Readers who miss Steven Saylor’s Gordianus whodunits will be pleased. Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary (U.K.). (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/05/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-78029-817-7
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