Vita Brevis: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Our eponymous hero and his wife find themselves in Rome, the overcrowded capital of the empire, thanks to the efforts of Ruso’s former Legion superior and now patron, Accius. And things weren’t working out as they thought they might for anyone.
When Ruso and Tilla are finally able to move into suitable accommodation and taking over a medical practice, they are drawn into the kind of intrigue that is commonplace in Imperial Rome, but for which they are completely unprepared. As the intrigue expands to incorporate jealousy, aspiration, and money, murder soon follows. Against his will, Ruso finds himself in the midst of suspicion, mistrust and potential danger.
Thankfully things work out in the end but not before danger and violence become part of the general thrust of daily life.
This is another wonderful narrative by Ruth Downie, again incorporating general historicity with a well-developed group of characters and an engaging storyline that captures the reader’s attention from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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