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All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Bell, an internationally published biblical scholar, writes historical mystery fiction for fun. His present book is more than fun.
Our sleuth is the Roman epistolist and administrator Pliny the Younger, backed up by Tacitus the historian, both at the beginnings of their careers, on the road home from their first political posts. For safety, Pliny and Tacitus join a larger group of travelers, who, it turns out, have come together not entirely by coincidence. Cornutus, traveling with a crowd of domestic help, catches our attention immediately by threatening to strike a clumsy slave. Nobody would notice if Chryseis weren't young, beautiful and blonde. When Cornutus is found dead in his bed in a Smyrna inn, with the heart cut out of his chest, everyone's mind goes back to that incident on the road.
Bell treats us to a complex confection of intrigue served up with blood-red herrings and social questions, in an authentic ambiance of Roman imperial politics. Modern sensibilities are catered to by young Pliny's doubts about the ethics of public executions and slave ownership--doubts that the historcial Pliny expresses in his oeuvre--set against the fact that in his time, no major culture in the world had yet questioned either institution seriously. For this purpose, Bell includes a pair of Christians among the travellers, a Christian household where Chryseis finds a hiding place, and a mass execution scene in Smyrna's amphitheater.
Bell's success with this story comes partly from knowledge of his topic, and partly from storytelling choices and engaging characters.
All that having been said,if you are a young Christian, say about 19, and have no knowledge of the period, this could be a valuable starting point for a more serious investigation into the early history of your faith. If so, I give you all best wishes for a happy journey.
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