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Rubies of the Viper by [Marks, Martha]
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Rubies of the Viper Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martha Marks earned her Ph.D. in Spanish literature and linguistics at Northwestern University and subsequently served on the faculties of Northwestern University and Kalamazoo College. She enjoyed studying and teaching the novels, plays, and poetry of great Spanish and Latin American authors, and she believes that Rubies of the Viper is a better novel because of her in-depth exposure to their work. Please visit Martha's website: marthamarks.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0979519349
  • Publication Date: December 27, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001VNCB34
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Rubies of the Viper is a genuine gem of a mystery set in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Claudius and Nero. It's full of exciting suspense and beautifully developed characters. Marks's rich portrayal of Roman life is delightful and gruesome in turns--just as a good Roman mystery ought to be. We get the grace, the violence and the perversion that was imperial society revealed through a spell-binding tale.

The heroine is a fictional woman named Theodosia Varro, who at the opening of the novel has inherited a vast fortune, including the beautiful villa where she spent her happy childhood--only she hasn't seen the villa in years because she's been stuck in poverty in the Subura, a Roman slum, banished there by a villainous brother. She isn't sad her brother was stabbed through the heart outside a brothel, but she doesn't want to suffer the same fate, and she suspects there's more to her brother's murder than the official line that it was a robbery, especially since he wasn't robbed.

Her brother's close friend Otho warns her to beware the slaves at the villa--they are probably out to murder her. But Theodosia has had an unusual life, and she discovers her slaves are more likely to be her friends than her killers. The sons of the best Roman families want to marry her, although Otho and Vespasian's son, Titus, are her favorite suitors. She's the richest catch around even if she had a Greek mother and displays some decidedly inappropriate behavior for a patrician lady. She's lonely with only slaves for company, but taking a husband means handing over her fortune and her freedom to a man. Does she want to? Otho keeps reminding her she isn't safe without a husband to protect her. And he certainly turns out to be right.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was about 10 percent into this novel before I realized it was a "Heaving breasts - Bodice Ripper - Bare chested hero tale" set in first century A.D. Roman empire.
Try as I might, I couldn't put it down. Parts are predictable and of course the heroine is in "love" with more than one loveable hero. Tragedy and injustice abound.
An enjoyable, fast, light read well grounded in ancient Roman culture, where class conflicts abound.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martha Marks hit a homerun with this novel. It incorporates everything that one could wish for in a novel. You simply can't put it down. Mystery, history, power, lust, love and every human emotion imaginable. The vivid descriptions of the people and locations were some of the best I've ever read. The movie directors should be knocking at Martha's door.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author avoids a major pitfall of historical novels, especially the ones about Ancient Rome or Greece: She doesn't make it sound like a history lesson. Her contemporary use of prose makes the story sound like it could have happened last year--which, in fact, it could. Though the background of the story is a murder mystery, the real narrative is about what goes on in the minds of the principal players, both slave and free. In the end we must wonder, who is truly free?

PS: I wanted to comment on the previous reviewer who saw this primarily as a romance novel. I am baffled by that opinion. There is romance in the novel, which is not sentimental or overly sexual. There is also a murder mystery and a story of social mores: in other words, the story works on more than one level. Some readers may not like the book, just as I don't care much for Henry James or William Faulkner. That doesn't mean they are bad writers--it's just a matter of taste.

PPS: As to the other reviewer who found the villain to be "over the top," I suggest reading some history. Otho really was like that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow! I decided to nibble just a couple of pages of RUBIES OF THE VIPER to decide what I wanted to read next after tacking some more responsible reading I needed to do. It seduced me with the first page and all hopes of responsibility went out the window. It is really, really good, and very visual -- much like watching Masterpiece Theatre. Set in first century Rome, it weaves fascinating historical details through the mystery without slowing its pace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martha Marks "Rubies of the Viper" is an outstanding murder mystery/romance set in the Roman Empire. Plot, characters, dialogue, and realistic depictions of the Roman legal system and slavery are all outstanding.

I understand Martha has plans for eventually writing two sequels - I shall certainly read them when they become available.Rubies of the Viper
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Format: Kindle Edition
It took only a few pages for me to realize that it would be very difficult for me (and other readers) to put it down. The descriptions of time, place, (ancient Rome) and of the many intriguing characters that one meets throughout the novel are so vivid that I often felt that I was watching a movie. " Rubies of the Viper" has enough mystery, suspense, and romance to fill several novels. In fact, after finishing it, I am convinced that it would make a terrific movie.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I order this book after seeing all the five star reviews. Now I see they are well deserved. Impossible to put this book down. Martha Marks has a fantastic writing style and makes you visualize ancient Rome at its worst and its best. I HIGHLY recommend this book. I too would like to see this made into a movie.
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