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The Secundus Papyrus Paperback – November 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Noyer is a novelist with an artist's eye for color and a scholar's passion for accuracy and detail. -- Dr. Ronald Modras, St. Louis University

Well written, serious, and excellently researched...Noyer bring[s] characters and their environment to life and build[s] up a satisfying suspense. -- Roman History Books and more --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

A Roman empress, a doctor and his trainee wife, an ambitious senator, a scheming abbot, an old Judean rabbi...these are the prime movers in this gripping mystery set in 5th century Ravenna, Italy. When a group including Getorius and Arcadia are invited to visit the newly built mausoleum of Galla Placidia, they discover an ancient papyrus with explosive contents that would have huge and devastating repercussions on the Empire if it were made public. Could the papyrus possibly be genuine? Who hid it in the mausoleum and why? When are they planning to reveal its contents? How is it connected to the symbol of a rooster that keeps appearing? One by one, those who were present when the papyrus was discovered begin to die under mysterious circumstances. Getorius and his wife must must get to the bottom of the mystery before the plot is unleashed, and before they might be its final victims. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935597868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935597865
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,615,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An artist and writer, Albert Noyer was born in Switzerland but raised in Detroit, Michigan. After Army service, he pursued degrees in art, art edu-cation, and teaching humanities, at Wayne State University. He subsequently worked as a commercial artist, taught art in a Detroit Public Schools tech-nical/vocational program, and art history at a private college. Noyer retired to New Mexico with his wife, Jennifer, where he exhibits watercolor paint-ings and woodcut prints in galleries and regional exhibits. His artwork has been featured New Mexico Magazine and the Mature Life in New Mexico supplement of Albuquerque's Sunday Journal. He is a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, SouthWest Writers, Sisters in Crime, Croak & Dagger, and New Mexico Veteran's Art.
Noyer first published A.D. fifth century novels, the Getorius and Arcadia Mysteries, set in an era now seen as critical in creating the political, religious,and cultural institutions that survive into modern times.The Secundus Papyrusand The Cybelene Conspiracy are Amazon Encore publications; Death at Pergamum is on Kindle, with Unholy Sepulcher forthcoming (March 2014).Published by Plain View Press, his contemporary Fr. Jake Mysteries, The Ghosts of Glorieta and One for the Money, Two for the Sluice, are set in Mich-igan and New Mexico. Alberix the Celt is the retelling in two volumes of Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, but from the viewpoint of a Celtic youth caught up in the Romanization of the country now called France (April 2014).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Bruno Manz on December 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a historical novel playing in the mid-fifth century at Ravenna, the West Roman capital at the time. It was an era of extraordinary upheaval. The Vandals had conquered most of the Roman possessions in North Africa. In 439 AD they conquered Carthage, and in 455 AD they sacked Rome. If this were not enough, the Christian faith, which had been declared state religion roughly a century earlier was still far from being the established religion of Europe.
The novel begins showing Emperor Valentian III hunting with two Hunnic bodyguards at the outskirts of Ravenna. He was pursuing a boar he had just wounded, but the animal had escaped across a stream. The loss gave the emperor pause for a monologue about the three persons who were making his life difficult, his mother, his wife, and the commander of the West Roman army, all of whom the reader will meet as the story unfolds. While the emperor was still indulging in self-pity, his horse suddenly shied. In the icy waters of the stream bobbed the naked body of a man, striking a grotesque pose with his arms stretched out as if he were crucified. Valentian recognized the man from his tonsured head. "It's that Hibernian monk who comes to the palace library", he cried. With that begins a novel that is as suspenseful as any who-done-it and yet as fascinating as history can be.
There is a host of characters, but if anybody knows how to breathe life into them, it's the novelist. There are Getorius, a physician, and his beautiful wife Arcadia who have been charged with the investigation of the monk's death. The Empress Mother of Valentian invites them and several others to have a look at her newly finished mausoleum. While strolling through the cruciform building, one of them discovers a mysterious papyrus hidden in a wall-niche.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Renate Vanegas on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Mr. Noyer has written a terrific and intriquing novel. If you ever fantasized of what life was like in mid-5th Century Southern Europe, then this book is a must read. The adventures of a surgeon and his medicine-studying wife, plus all the other interesting characters of the town of Ravenna, in Italy, make up a tightly woven tale of murder, deceit, greed and power. There is always the suspense of what's coming next and the surprises that follow, which kept me reading without wanting to put down the book. A real page turner.

Wonderful details describe (with clarity) the day-to-day existence of people during this era, shortly before the demise of the Roman Empire. The food and drink consumed, the importance people placed on their cultural and religious beliefs, and how the surgeon and his wife treated diseases with herbs, potions and by other more drastic means.

The drawings, in the front of the book, and the identification of its characters by name and title, and the characters recalling periodically of what has happened, gives the reader a feeling of not having missed anything. This book is an enjoyable piece of literature.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Wolverine Bibliophile on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sorry to break with the other reviewers, but I was somewhat underwhelmed with the book. There is a balance that every fiction writer must strike between character development and pace. Noyer does not succeed well at either. His main characters, Getorius and Arcadia, are not developed fully enough to cause the reader to identify positively with either; both of them (Getorius especially) seem rather weak. Yet he also throws in numerous extraneous details and characters (some of whom are introduced and then quickly killed off) and various items that add nothing to the story and cause it to drag unnecessarily. Too much of the mystery is simply left unexplained, and too many characters get bumped off with little or no explanation of who or how. To top it off, the (presumed) murderer is not apprehended in the end, and, as was stated by another reviewer, the conclusion is very flat and unsatisfying. Some of the historical details are interesting, but he makes an embarrassing (and completely unnecessary) flub in having a character (who presumably speaks in Latin) make a pun about "son" and "sun" - the words are not even remotely similar in Latin (filius and sol). I'd recommend that Mr. Noyer spend some time learning how to write more realistic dialogue, develop his characters (especially the main characters) more thoroughly, and generally work on his style a bit before releasing his next work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Fairport on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Few American novels are set in the late Western Roman Empire, so I have been interested in Noyer's work. He has done considerable research to make the 5th century come alive, although there appear to be some anachronisms. I enjoyed the descriptions of daily life in Ravenna.

But, there seemed to be no real ending to the story, no resolution to the mystery. Perhaps Noyer meant for his work to imitate life in this respect--not everything being neatly tied up. Or, perhaps, there are answers in "The Cybelene Conspiracy," which I have just begun to read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Partial review by Carolyn Carlson / Albuquerque Journal,12-1-03. Novelist Albert Noyer takes the reader on a vivid yet historical journey through Getorius and Arcadia, two very believable protagonists. A mysterious monk charged with protecting a powerful secret is found dead near his hut. 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 Emperor Valentinian III. While on an impromptu tour of Placidia's new mausoleum, an ancient papyrus is discovered in a booby-trapped niche. Getorius and Arcadia know the contents of the papyrus could have a...devastating effect on not only the empire but the future of mankind.
Building suspense, Noyer leads the reader to a surprise ending. [He] 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 [and] has an almost musical yet tight style of writing. This is the first volume of a planned trilogy.
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