Winner of the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery of 2008, Nox Dormienda is critically-acclaimed author Kelli Stanley's debut novel and the first book in a new series and new genre: Roman Noir.
Set in first century AD Londinium (London), Nox Dormienda introduces Arcturus, private physician for the governor of Britannia as well as his reluctant sleuth.
Vibius Maecenas, spy for Emperor Domitian, lies on an underground altar ... his throat slit to the spinal chord. Arcturus has one week to find out who butchered him--and why--before Agricola and all of Britannia are plunged into civil war with Rome.
Nox Dormienda is the first book in the Roman Noir series that continues with The Curse-Maker, available wherever print and e-books are sold.
Praise for Nox Dormienda:
Bruce Alexander Award winner
Macavity Award finalist
" ... takes the reader on a colorful tour of this singular culture high and low, from jails and brothels to the corridors of power. First-timer Stanley is sure-footed and enthusiastic about history ... and crafts a satisfyingly intricate puzzle ..." -- Kirkus, May 15, 2008
"In Nox Dormienda, Kelli Stanley has created a startling new genre of mystery: the Roman noir. Written in a fresh and uncompromising voice, here is a novel as evocative of ancient times as it is masterful in crafting a mystery as entangled and ingenious as any modern story. I look forward to vanishing again into the world she has created. Don't miss your chance to do the same." -- James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Judas Strain
"From first page to finis, Nox Dormienda by Kelli Stanley is chock full of chills, thrills, and breath-taking adventure. Fueled by fascinating characters and rich details from Londinium in 83 A.D., this unforgettable tale brings the past eerily alive while leaving you hungering for the next book in what surely will be an exciting series. Stanley is a terrific writer." -- Gayle Lynds, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Last Spymaster
"Nox Dormienda (A Long Night for Sleeping) nigh cost me a night's sleep! The language is a sheer treasure ... from classical to sheer class and for a book that is so meticulously researched, it has a wild and wondrous sense of humour. What a series this is going to be! Imagine Ellis Peters re-written by Elmore Leonard and you'll have some notion of this gem of a novel--and it moves like a gladiator on speed." -- Ken Bruen, Barry and Shamus Award-winning author of Priest
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About the Author
Kelli Stanley is an award-winning author of crime fiction and noir (novels and short stories), including the critically-acclaimed Miranda Corbie series (CITY OF DRAGONS), set in 1940 San Francisco. She also writes a historical “Roman noir” series set in first century Roman Britain (THE CURSE-MAKER). Kelli earned a Master's Degree in Classics, loves jazz, old movies, battered fedoras, Art Deco and speakeasies. She credits Raymond Chandler, Ernest Hemingway, Cornell Woolrich, Dashiell Hammett and Thomas Hardy as some of her major influences. You can learn more about Kelli and the worlds she creates at http://www.kellistanley.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Nox Dormienda, Kelli Stanley brings Roman Britain in the first century A.D. to life with deft writing and deep knowledge of the times. The story follows half-Roman, half-Briton Arcturus, physician and informal investigator to the Roman governor Agricola, as he delves into the death of a shady merchant. The trail creeps through Londinium's seedy underbelly, shining a light in dark corners from the lowliest prostitute's crib to the highest seats of Roman power. The setting is crisply-drawn, the characters rich and engaging, and the mystery tight and enthralling, with Arcturus' wry humor and keen observations leading the way through this gritty page- turner. If you enjoy classic noir, or you enjoy your mystery with a classical setting, you won't be disappointed. It may be A Long Night for Sleeping, but don't plan on any sleep until you finish this gem.
In 83 AD Londinium, doctor Julius ¿Arcturus¿ Favonianus learns from widow Claudia ¿Gwyna¿ Catussa that his prime employer and friend Britannia Governor, Agricola is in trouble with Roman Emperor Domitian. Apparently the Emperor has sent fat avaricious Syrian Vibius Maecenas with papers demanding Agricola to resign. Gwyna further explains that the odious Syrian freeman is her sponsus.It was arranged by her dying father for her to marry the pig she will kill herself before she allows him to impregnate her. --- After she leaves, Arcturus sends his servant Bilicho to follow her. Not long after that, the Romans arrive to escort Arcturus to a hidden forbidden temple where Maecenas is dead looking like a ghastly imitation of Mithras slaying the bull. Arcturus with Bilicho to assist investigates the homicide that could lead to civil war between the Roman legion and the British even as he is attracted to the prime suspect Gwyna. --- Although the resolution is weak fans of ancient historical mysteries will enjoy this entertaining Britannia Noir as Arcturus escorts the audience to places not normally found in Roman Empire whodunits. Little things like a Roman name and a native name enhances a sense of time and place. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the soldiers take the lead character to the crime scene and never slows down as he investigates the homicide while fearing if he takes too long to resolve, hostilities will turn ugly. NOX DORMIENDA is an enjoyable first century amateur sleuth. --- Harriet Klausner
This entry is the first in a series. Arcturus, physician to Agricola-governor of Brittannia¿is asked to determine who and why a Syrian trader was murdered and draped over a secret shrine to Mithrus. The trader is clutching part of a message to Agricola from the Emperor¿is being fired or asked to stay on as governor? It seems almost everyone has a reason to kill the trader from the governer to native Briton. There are lots of red herrings but Arcturus identifies the murderer. Along the way he falls in love and decides to get married. Not a bad entry into the historical mystery genre. The author made an effort to get the details of the period right and includes a glossary of Latin words to help the reader.
Ms. Stanley signed a ARC for me at BEA in Los Angeles, so I'm lucky to have read it before it hits the stores. Simply put, this book will keep you up at night. Arctutus is a fascinating character. I don't want to spoil it, but fasten your seatbelt and hang on. Nox will take deep into a world you've never seen, or even knew exsited. Kudos, Ms. Stanley. I'm a fan for life!
...and they decide to write a novel together. If they did, this would certainly be the result. Kelli Stanley calls her book Roman Noir and she has definitely captured the Noir voice here. Arcturus has the perfect world-weary tone, slightly cynical but deep down wanting to believe in the very people he mistrusts. In the course of his investigation, he even crosses paths with a beautiful femme fatale who may or may not be aiding his investigation with her cryptic clues and seductive gazes. In Nox Dormienda (A Long Night for Sleeping), Arcturus investigates the murder of Vibius Maecenas, a Syrian merchant who was carrying a message for Agricola, Roman Governor of Britain and Arcturus' mentor. The mystery is well-paced and kept me guessing right up to the end. Kelli Stanley brings Roman London to life with her vivid descriptions of life at the time, and I enjoyed the liberal peppering of Latin phrases throughout.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the ARC of this book, and I echo the sentiments of writer Ken Bruen, who quoted 'it nigh cost me a night's sleep!'. The first Roman mystery I've read that is so immediate I didn't realize I was reading a historical. Raymond Chandler's my favorite writer, and this has a similar literary, visceral style. I'm psyched that this will be a series!