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In Finnis's spirited if at times overly complicated third Roman historical to feature innkeeper Aurelia Marcella, who runs the Oak Tree mansio in the wilds of occupied Britannia (after 2005's A Bitter Chill), sea raiders believed to be led by a barbarian, Voltacos, have been attacking people along the coast. Aurelia's twin brother, Lucius, a government agent, arrives to investigate the possibility that these raiders are gold-seeking marauders from Gaul. Meanwhile, greedy Roman landowner Ostorius Magnus and his unsavory nephew have been squeezing tribesmen off their lands. A shipwreck sets off rumors of buried treasure when the vessel's strongbox is found to contain a severed head rather than the expected plunder. During their long quest, Aurelia and Lucius spot Voltacos's men mysteriously digging a trench. Various murders further muddy the case. Some readers may have trouble keeping track of the many characters, but all will cheer the upbeat ending. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.