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Despite endorsements from Gayle Lynds, James Rollins and Ken Bruen, Stanley's debut offers little new that fans of ancient historicals-in particular, the detective series set in Roman Britain of Rosemary Rowe and Ruth Downie-haven't seen before. Julius Alpinus Classicanus Favonianus (aka Arcturus), a doctor whose mixed ancestry gives him insight into both the Romans and the Britons, serves Britannia's governor, Agricola, in first-century London. When a Syrian, Vibius Maecenas, is found with a slit throat in a temple, Arcturus is under intense pressure to solve the case. Maecenas was a messenger from Roman emperor Domitian bearing news threatening Agricola's position. In the end, Arcturus relies on a trick rather than any detecting skills to expose the killer. Readers should be prepared for a routine plot and prose ("They loved one another. Somewhat unusual. Love always is"). (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.