Macavity Award (Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery Award) Finalist
" ... takes the reader on a colorful tour of this singular culture high and low, from jails and brothels to the corridors of power. First-timer Stanley is sure-footed and enthusiastic about history ... and crafts a satisfyingly intricate puzzle ..." -- Kirkus, May 15, 2008
"From first page to finis, NOX DORMIENDA by Kelli Stanley is chock full of chills, thrills, and breath-taking adventure. Fueled by fascinating characters and rich details from Londinium in 83 A.D., this unforgettable tale brings the past eerily alive while leaving you hungering for the next book in what surely will be an exciting series. Stanley is a terrific writer." -- Gayle Lynds, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Last Spymaster
"In NOX DORMIENDA, Kelli Stanley has created a startling new genre of mystery: the Roman noir. Written in a fresh and uncompromising voice, here is a novel as evocative of ancient times as it is masterful in crafting a mystery as entangled and ingenious as any modern story. I look forward to vanishing again into the world she has created. Don't miss your chance to do the same." -- James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Judas Strain
"NOX DORMIENDA (A LONG NIGHT FOR SLEEPING) nigh cost me a night's sleep! A Roman noir ... and with a depth of scholarship that should be off-putting but works beautifully. The language is a sheer treasure ... from classical to sheer class and for a book that is so meticulously researched, it has a wild and wondrous sense of humour. What a series this is going to be! Imagine Ellis Peters re-written by Elmore Leonard and you'll have some notion of this gem of a novel--and it moves like a gladiator on speed." -- Ken Bruen, Barry and Shamus Award-winning author of Priest
... the author, with her background in classics and archaeology, has a good sense of time and place. The staccato movement of the narrative is very reminiscent of the hard-boiled detective genre she is trying to reinvent as "Roman noir" ... -- Library Journal, July 15, 2008
The Roman conquest of Britain continues to interest writers, and Stanley has come up with a different angle, focusing on Arcturus, a half-British, half-Roman doctor who is the physician of Agricola, the provincial governor. A Syrian spy, widely believed to be carrying a message terminating Agricola's tenure, is found dead. But where is the message? And why was he carrying all this money? There's lots of action, with threads involving Arcturus' servant, the spy's reluctant fiancee, a badly run brothel and the secret lives of those who follow the "old" (Druidic) religion. There's also plenty of blood, cruelty and political machination in this well-done story that will keep the reader guessing for many chapters. -- Roberta Alexander, Contra Costa Times/San Jose Mercury News, July 13, 2008
From the Inside Flap
Arcturus--the half-native, half-Roman doctor and occasional problem-solver--has seen much in his thirty-three years. He's risen--despite not playing the politics game. He is Agricola's doctor. And Agricola's friend. And Agricola is the governor of Britannia.
Now, on a frozen December afternoon, he learns the governor is in trouble. The Emperor Domitian has sent a spy to Britannia--a spy carrying papers demanding Agricola's resignation. It doesn't make Arcturus any warmer to know that the spy, a Syrian named Vibius Maecenas, is betrothed to the woman who brings him the story. The woman--Gwyna--is as unforgettable as her information.
When Arcturus sends his freedman Bilicho to follow her, he finds himself, hours later, in an underground temple, staring at a shapeless hulk on top the altar. It's the trussed, dead body of Maecenas, with a gaping hole in place of a throat.
If Arcturus doesn't find out who murdered him and why, Domitian might think the governor is responsible. The fat, dead Syrian will ignite a civil war, one hot enough to thaw the ice in frozen Britannia.
He has seven days to unravel fact from story, truth from rumor, and motive from murder. He must walk a carnival landscape of fear and uncertainty, strewn with sadistic pimps, drunken whores, well-bred politicians and four more deaths.
Nox Dormienda is a nightmare vision of Roman Britain, a lightning-paced historical mystery that blends hardboiled prose and impeccably researched historical background. It is the first novel of a new series and a new genre of mystery fiction: it is Roman Noir.