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Murder In Absentia (Felix the Fox) (Volume 1) Paperback – October 1, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
-- Jonathan Maas, author of City of Gods - Hellenica
"Mehr is a master alchemist, blending the real and surreal on a captivating flight of fantasy."
-- Cynthia Celmer
"Mehr's imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike. In Egretia, magic is real and potentially deadly. While rival incantatores have been banned from calling up competing winds to speed ferries across the bay -- they've drowned too many innocent sailors -- the powers of magic appear to have fallen into malevolent hands. Failed incantator Felix the Fox is investigating a mysterious death in a growing atmosphere of menace. I cant help thinking the idea of Death by Magic might be closer to the mindset of some of the ancient world than our modern rationality."
-- Ruth Downie, Author of the Medicus Roman mysteries series
"YESSS! Harry Dresden in a toga. A bit lighter on the magic usage, but every bit as colorful and intriguing!"
-- Leslie Conzatti, Erin Sky, and other fans
"This book gave me a 'book-hangover' - I could not get my head out of the world of Felix for days after finishing it! I hope that there will be more stories coming, of Felix's past and future. I like authors that create real human characters!"
-- R.M., Israel
"Finished Murder In Absentia twice now. A truly remarkable story which draws you in and makes it so you never want to leave."
-- Fuchsia Carter, UK
"For a history buff like me, it was the perfect blend of historical trivia and good old-fashioned murder mystery. A sheer delight to read."
-- W. Klijn, Australia
"This book gave me a 'book-headache' - I could not get my head out of the world of Felix for a few days after finishing it!"
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Top customer reviews
"Murder in Absentia" takes the tropes of the fantasy genre and combines them with the detective novel, set in a world that's based on Ancient Rome. The Roman-esque setting is fully realized, reminding me in its detail and verisimilitude of Deborah Davitt's Valkyrie books, Ben Kane's Eagles of Rome historical adventure books, and, most of all, Steven Saylor's excellent Roma Sub Rosa series. The difference is that "Murder in Absentia" is set in an actual fantasy world that only resembles the Roman Empire, rather than in Rome itself. Readers looking for some kind of exact, historically accurate recreation will be disappointed; for readers who enjoy something with that "Roman flavor," it's all great fun, and provides much entertainment if you want to figure out which of the characters are "Greek," which are "Egyptian," and so on.
The plot is also great fun, with not one but TWO conspiracies, the main one only being revealed at the very end, not to mention pirates, mages, sibyls, etc. etc. The characters are fairly stock standard, and I may have rolled my eyes a tiny bit when Felix ended up in bed with yet another sexually available/aggressive woman, while experiencing romantic tension with the haughty and virginal maiden in need of rescue due to her own impetuousness, but for fans of the fantasy, detective, and adventure genres, this book provides plenty of thrills and excitement, with an unexpected twist at the end.
Murder In Absentia is on one level a private detective murder mystery with the main character hired to investigate a suspicious death. What makes this one different is, rather than the side streets of Los Angeles, the mystery takes place (mostly) in the city of Egretia, a fictional city combining elements of ancient Rome and a complex system of magic.
Felix is, for the most part, a decent man; unwilling to expose a client’s details if he can avoid it, yet willing to lie, cheat and use the little magic he knows to extract information. He also has his wounds, some of which resurface during the course of his investigations. Some of these are explained in full, some are given sufficient detail but still left vague enough in parts to allow for the reader to make their own impressions as to what happened.
The city itself is well researched and well detailed. Latin words and names are frequently used but they are rarely confusing; there is usually enough background information to understand what is being referred to.The locations and people are described in such a way as to leave the reader unable to differentiate between what is historically accurate and what is the author’s invention. The place feels real.
Very occasionally, it does feel like some details are being unnecessarily dwelt on but these are rare and some sections seem to drag but these are rare. Overall, it’s a very strong novel, with an intriguing central mystery and a main character that can definitely support more appearances.
Oh, and I was amused to see one of the characters named Aulus Paulinus and pleased to see from the notes that it was a deliberate reference.
Imagine a place called Egretia which is quite like ancient Imperial Rome. Now imagine an important politician’s son has been found dead in his bed. The youth’s body reveals his death was of a questionable nature. In fact, there is evidence that arcane magic of the darkest order brought about the young man’s demise. Not wanting to have this event investigated through normal means (because the scandal could ruin his career) the man reaches out to one Felix, known as “The Fox”. Felix was an Incantatore – minimally trained magic user who left the study when his own family issues arose.
With all the skill of a modern-day crime scene investigator and a little bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in, Felix follows leads, journeys to mystical places and studies forbidden manuscripts. He fights pirates and sorcerers as well as a few common street thugs and wrestles with the charms of beautiful women as he solves the crime.
Author Assaph Mehr masterfully blends well researched historical Roman culture in a fantasy setting with mystery, magic, action and suspense. Murder in Absentia is winner of several Indie Author awards. The title description says Felix the Fox Book 1. I am eagerly waiting for Book 2.
Masterfully told in a way that blends magic and the mundane, the story centers on a Roman (ish) era mystery, the solving of which relies on equal parts magic and intellect. There is, as alluded to already, magic, but there are also fantastic beasts, mystery, pirates, gladiators, witches, gods and goddesses, and even just a little bit of sex! (think twice about reading it to the kiddos you parents out there) In all, a great read and worth the minimal bucks.
Guy Donovan, author of “The Dragon’s Treasure” series.
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