Roman Ransom

Overview

Glevum, AD 188. Lying in his sick bed, weak and disoriented, Libertus is strictly forbidden visitors. But when Marcus Septimus forces his way in, desperate to speak to the pavement-maker, Libertus knows that something is seriously wrong. Marcus's beloved wife Julia and their baby son have disappeared without a trace. And now a ransom note has arrived: unless Marcus uses his power to release a certain political prisoner, he will never see his family alive again. Libertus is well aware of Marcus's dilemma—give in ...

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A Roman Ransom

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Overview

Glevum, AD 188. Lying in his sick bed, weak and disoriented, Libertus is strictly forbidden visitors. But when Marcus Septimus forces his way in, desperate to speak to the pavement-maker, Libertus knows that something is seriously wrong. Marcus's beloved wife Julia and their baby son have disappeared without a trace. And now a ransom note has arrived: unless Marcus uses his power to release a certain political prisoner, he will never see his family alive again. Libertus is well aware of Marcus's dilemma—give in to the kidnappers and sacrifice his reputation for being fair and unmoved by bribery, or stand firm and provoke unimaginable consequences. But Libertus has also made a powerful enemy. How can he help his patron—and himself—this time?

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Editorial Reviews

The Times
A considerable achievement.
Publishers Weekly
Eight books into British author Rowe's acclaimed mystery series set in second-century Roman Britain (Enemies of the Empire, etc.), her period detail, plotting and characterization are as strong as ever. A string of suspicious coincidences make Libertus, a former slave turned mosaic maker and sleuth, the prime suspect in the kidnapping of the wife and son of his patron and protector, Marcus Aurelius Septimus. Struggling with illness, Libertus must also defy the accusations of a crafty Greek physician, who has gained Septimus's confidence, to track down the criminals and save two lives. Though not well known in the U.S., Rowe more than holds her own with the two leading authors of ancient Roman historicals, Lindsey Davis (the Marcus Didius Falco series) and John Maddox Roberts (the SPQR series). (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Libertus, the pavement maker and de facto detective for Marcus Septimus, the Roman governor of Britain, is ill. But Marcus needs his help in finding his kidnapped wife and young son. Despite the medication that leaves him somewhat befuddled, Libertus brings his analytical prowess to bear on the case. The result is a riveting tale of suspense. In her eighth book of the series (after The Chariots of Calyx), Rowe (the maiden name of author Rosemary Aitken) knows her Roman history; her foreword explains Roman child-rearing practices along with the descriptions of citizenship and slavery and the role of women in that ancient society. A nice choice for patrons who like Lindsay Davis and other authors of Roman mysteries. Rowe lives in Gloucestershire and Cornwall. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An ancient freeman sleuth helps his patron catch a cold-blooded kidnapper. Roman Britain, a.d. 188. Libertus, pavement-maker and narrator, wakes in a sickbed with vague memories of violent dreams and a long illness. Before he can get his bearings, his patron Marcus Aurelius Septimus, a tribune, bursts anxiously into his room, asking for help. Septimus' wife Julia and toddler Marcellinus are missing, and there's an ominous ransom note. It demands not money, but the return of an unknown individual named Lallius Tiberius, presumably from jail. Though she's not mentioned in the note, wet nurse Myrna is also nowhere to be found. To speed Libertus' recovery, Septimus has brought esteemed physician Philades, but he and Libertus almost immediately begin ruffling each other's feathers. Wracking his brain, Philades remembers a Lallius Tiberius who was the son of a wealthy military officer and recommends that Septimus storm his residence. Instead, Septimus conquers his misgivings and accedes to the kidnappers' demand. Shortly thereafter, a basket is delivered to Libertus' doorstep. Inside is Marcellinus, dirty but otherwise no worse for wear. A note accompanying the basket asks this time for a considerable sum. The plot thickens further when Myrna is found murdered, Libertus' wife Gwellia turns up missing and Philades angrily accuses Libertus of being behind the plot. Libertus' eighth case (The Chariots of Calyx, 2005, etc.) nicely balances historical authenticity and a solid whodunit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780755327416
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Series: Libertus Mystery Series , #8
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Rowe is the pseudonym of an author who has successfully published novels in another genre. Born in Cornwall, she lived for twenty years in New Zealand. A highly qualified academic, she has written more than a dozen bestselling text-books as Rosemary Aitken.
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