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Partial review/Carolyn Carlson/Albuquerque Journal/11-30-03. [When} a mysterious monk charged with protecting a powerful secret is found dead, novelist Albert Noyer takes the reader on a vivid fictional yet historical journey through Getorius and Arcadia, two very believable protagonists. Getorius, a physician and Arcadia, his beautiful wife and medical apprentice...are summoned to determine the monk's cause of death. Shortly after, the couple along with several other colorful characters, are invited to the palace of Galla Placidia, Empress Mother of Valentinian III, the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. While on an impromptu tour of Placidia's new mausoleum, an ancient papyrus is discovered in a booby-trapped niche. One by one those present at the discovery of the papyrus begin to die. Getorius and Arcadia know the contents of the papyrus could have a huge and devastating effect on not only the empire but on the future of mankind as well. Building suspense, Noyer leads the reader to a surprise ending [and] uses a detailed knowledge of the Romans to entice the reader with descriptive passages on the religions, politics, food, medicine and day-to-day life of the time. Noyer adds maps and glossaries, making it easy to keep up with the many characters. Noyer has an almost musical yet tight style of writing. This is the first volume of a planned trilogy.