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About Zara Altair
Enter An Ancient World
Zara Altair combines mystery with a bit of adventure in the Argolicus Mysteries, based in southern Italy at the time of Ostrogoth rule.
Italians (Romans) and Goths live under one king while the Roman Empire is ruled from Constantinople. At times the cultures clash, but Argolicus uses his wit, sometimes with help from his tutor Nikolaos, to provide justice in a province far from the King’s court.
Zara Altair lives in Beaverton, Oregon. Her approach to writing is to present the puzzle and let Argolicus and Nikolaos find the solution encountering a bit of adventure and some humor in their search. Her stories are rich in historical detail based on years of research.
Zara is working on a historical novel Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic set in the same time period, once again, with Argolicus as the main character. To get on the reader list for Argolicus fans go here http://bit.ly/ArgolicusFans (copy and paste to your browser).
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Titles By Zara Altair
Italy, 512 CE. After the Romans before the Middle Ages, one patrician sets out to right wrongs.
This digital box set contains the first four Argolicus mysteries:
The Roman Heir: Argolicus begins a journey home to retire from politics. As a personal favor he delivers a book to a young scholar. But the young man’s father is murdered hours before and Argolicus is tasked to find the killer among the patricians in an unfamiliar town where he knows no one.
The Used Virgin: The governor holds a family friend prisoner. When Argolicus visits to investigate, he unearths a greedy plot to tarnish a good man’s name. To expose the plot, he must challenge the governor’s venal power to reveal a scheme.
The Vellum Scribe: When Argolicus’ uncle finds a dead body, it starts a chain of treacherous alliances based on greed and envy based on old friendships. But then an ambush attack produces a clue.
The Peach Widow: A simple request from his mother, sends Argolicus to settle a legal question in a family at odds. Perplexed by subterfuge and greed motivating each family member, he finds no clues until the farm dog starts to play.
What readers are saying:
★★★★★ 'A story well told. A ‘world’ worth settling into!'
★★★★★ 'Transport you to that ancient time, so you can meet their people and see their lives.'
★★★★★ 'Absolutely wonderful.'
★★★★★ 'A rich tapestry of interactions that serve to draw the reader deeper in..'
★★★★★ 'Highlights some of the most basic of emotions: anger, possession, hurt, sympathy, loss and guilt and, of course, greed..'
★★★★★ 'No telephones, no computers, no scientific method as we understand it, no mysterious villains with international organizations - and it works. .'
Mystery in history.
A corrupt governor. A young girl. An old man. Argolicus unravels the threads.
When a lifelong friend disappears, a peaceful retreat to the provinces turns into a challenge to the local governor for Argolicus.
A cruel slander originates from the venal governor. When Argolicus visits the governor, he discovers an unscrupulous plot destined to impoverish his friend. When his lifelong tutor overhears a comment, they set out to find their friend only to discover base cruelty and a secret plot.
A plot that challenges the King’s people, the roots of Roman civility, and his friend’s life.
Affronted, he pursues the thread. Little does he know that his investigation will pitch him in a fight with thugs and ultimately set him head-to-head with the governor.
If you like mysteries set in ancient Italy, get The Used Virgin today and solve the puzzle.
5 Stars “A rich tapestry of interactions that serve to draw the reader deeper in...”
“The feel of a time long passed as a mystery unfolds.”
Civil unrest and murder. Can a Roman patrician quell unrest and find a killer before politicians knife him in the back?
Italy, 512 C.E. Argolicus would rather bury his nose in a book. But, when he leaves his peaceful country villa to open his long-shuttered town home, he dives into town politics and meets a potential bride. He refuses to stand by when her family’s livelihood is threatened and her merchant father slain.
With the grain supply dwindling and Argolicus fighting incompetent officials, he uncovers a list of high-placed suspects and attracts the attention of a shadowy rival bent on his destruction. And as the citizenry grows increasingly desperate to put food on their plates, he’ll have to risk his reputation and life to hunt down the killer before violence erupts.
Can Argolicus find a hidden killer before he takes a knife in his back?
The Grain Merchant is the engaging fifth book in the Argolicus Mysteries historical mystery series. Fans of Ruth Downie, Steven Saylor, and Lindsey Davis, jump forward in time to meet your new detective. If you like intelligent heroes, picturesque Italian settings, and immersive ancient worlds, then you’ll love Zara Altair’s engrossing mystery.
Buy The Grain Merchant to explore the streets of antiquity today!
Complicated strands coming together into a final solution that is ingenious and satisfying.
Mystery in History
A Childhood Friend. An Overbearing Father. A Worldly Bishop.
Argolicus unravels the threads.
In ancient Italy where religion and politics mesh, patrician Argolicus can’t resist following clues when his friend is murdered.
When his childhood friend is brutally murdered, old wounds open as Argolicus’ friend’s powerful father forbids him to dig deeper. He finds himself trapped in old conflicts while new enemies try to stop him at any cost. As the tension builds, he pledges to find the killer.
But then, his mother makes a counter pledge that plunges him in a dilemma. A word given is trust, and now he’s caught in a double bind that drives him toward the killer. Tempers flare and everything seems hopeless until the vellum scribe shares his wisdom. With death threats looming, Argolicus has one chance to find the killer.
The Vellum Scribe is the fourth book in the Argolicus mysteries set in Ostrogoth Italy. If you like a puzzling mystery and rich historical detail, you’ll love The Vellum Scribe.
Buy The Vellum Scribe now to solve the puzzle today!
“A very rewarding read.”
Mystery in history.
A distressed widow. Greedy brothers. A huge farm dog. Argolicus unravels the threads.
When Argolicus counsels a grieving widow on the laws of inheritance, he finds the law will serve her cruelly. Her stepsons want her out and there is no recourse.
Then a field slave falls during peach harvest. Suspicions grow when Argolicus and Nikolaos learn more about the family and suspect that the death may not be from natural causes. As they question the family, they discover greed, and begin to distrust the stories they’ve been told.
Argolicus uses his sound judgment to get the brothers out of trouble and uses his reasoning to untangle the mystery of the widow’s estate.
The Peach Widow is one of the Argolicus Mysteries series where ancient Italian law collides with murder. If you like challenging mystery and rich historical detail you’ll love The Peach Widow. Buy now to discover the secret!
5 Stars "Leaves you wanting more!"
“The character of those times emerges on the page from the start...”
Mystery in History
A man’s secrets live after his death!
Delivering a book is just the beginning for Argolicus as he leaves Rome to retire. But when he arrives to give the book to a young scholar, his father has just been murdered.
With just days to find the killer before his ship leaves, and visiting an unfamiliar city, Argolicus must probe the politics of the dying town. But with every investigation he makes, the circle of possibilities grows. Success seems out of reach and he must disappoint the family, until a ruffian accosts him and pieces fall into place.
Fans of Ruth Downie, Steven Saylor, and Lindsey Davis, jump forward in time to meet your new detective. The Roman Heir is the first book in the Argolicus mysteries set in Ostrogoth Italy. If you like a puzzling mystery and rich historical detail, you’ll love The Roman Heir.
Buy The Roman Heir now to go back in time when murder wasn’t a crime!
Few books give a good sense of the times they are set. This one delivers!