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Dennis DrabelleBen Pastor's The Water Thief is one of those books that undermine the categories of fiction. It has all the earmarks of a mystery: a disputed death in the past, present-day murders (the book's "present," that is: the 4th century), an investigating hero and a surprise villain. But Pastor has taken such pains to conjure up Italy and Egypt back then, to take the temperature of the Roman Empire, to depict local officials coping with the challenges posed by the spread of Christianity, that the result is far richer than the traditional whodunit.
— The Washington Post