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A Roman Ransom (Libertus Mystery Series) Hardcover – April 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.)
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Review

“Libertus' eighth case nicely balances historical authenticity and a solid whodunit.” -- Kirkus Reviews

A considerable achievement. -- The Times

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Product Details

  • Series: Libertus Mystery Series
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; First Edition edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755327411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755327416
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,505,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ilmk on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After the trite last offering from Rowe she has bounced back with a kidnapping and series of ransom demands that proves her ability to produce a classic Romano-British whodunit. Opening with Libertus recovering from his potential deathbed we find him cracking open an ill eyelid to find his anxious patron, Marcus Septimus, hovering over him having contracted one of Britain's finest medicus', Philades, to nurse him back to health. This case of largesse on his patron's part is not without cost, however, as his encouraged recovery is in order to help Marcus find out who has kidnapped his wife, Julia, and baby son, Marcellinus.

The immediate appearance of a ransom note and the disappearance of Myrna, the wet-nurse has our aged sleuth lobbed into a carrier and hot-footed to Marcus' villa in order to manage the ensuing events.

However, en route, they are stopped and Marcellinus is returned to Libertus as everyone's attention is elsewhere. This fortunate event is turned on its head as the medicus' Philades, turns nasty on Libertus and accuses him as having a hand in the kidnapping, reeling off one persuasive argument after another to Marcus to convince him that Libertus has a case to answer.

After Gwellia also disappears and Myrna is found murdered the circumstantial evidence on Libertus begins to stack up. He is given two days to clear his name and spends much of it interviewing the personal slaves of Julia ascertaining a classic case of people seeing what they expect to see.

Having unraveled a tale of family intrigue and swapped babies, shaky inheritances and callous murder he eventually saves Julia, uncovers a medical tale of slavery and paranoia and restores his patron's faith in him.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Al-Amri VINE VOICE on July 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The blurb says second to Saylor but I like these better than Saylor. I would say second to Lindsey Davis instead. That said, these are books that I buy as hardbacks since I don't want to wait a year for the paperback. History lessons have never been so enjoyable!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the latest from the Libertus stable and once again features the remarkable talents of the 'Pavement' maker.

Libertus is on his sick bed recovering from a bout of fever that has laid him low for several days. He drowsily wakes to the imposing figure of his patron, Marcus Septimus, who at no little expense to himself has organised for Libertus to have the luxury of a physician.

Libertus finally grasps through his weakness and bouts of delirium that Marcus's young son and wife Julia have disappeared from the villa leaving no trace of their whereabouts. Marcus is the senior magistrate in Britannia and a wealthy man to boot and soon a ransom note demanding money is received.

Libertus is well aware that if Marcus gives in to the demands of the kidnappers his reputation for being fair and unmoved by bribery will be severely damaged.

Before he has even made a chance to make some sort of recovery Libertus has made an enemy, who strives to embroil him in the plot to take Julia and the child. Can Libertus help his patron and also extricate himself from the false accusations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cherrie on August 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love old Rome? Then this series is for you! Well written with great characters. The mystery part keeps the reader in suspense. Can't wait for the next book!
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