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Libertus is in Londinium, at the invitation of the Roman Governor, when news arrives of the brutal murder of Caius Monnius, the city's chief corn-officer. Still reeling from the shock of catching sight of the wife he lost to slavery 20 years earlier, only to lose her again, the ever-inquisitive Libertus is, for once, uninterested in unmasking the murderer. But when the Roman Governor asks you to investigate, you can't say no. The dead man's mother is convinced that the truth behind the killing lies with Fortunatus, a celebrated charioteer with whom Monnius' wife was having an affair. But with the discovery of a second corpse, it soon becomes clear that this case is more complex--and more sinister--than anyone ever expected. Historical fiction set in 2nd century Roman Britain
In Roman Britain, AD 189, every slave knows his lot in life depends solely upon the morals, or lack thereof, of his master. Fortunately for one young Glevum slave, Junio, his owner believes heartily in rewarding years of loyalty and service. Libertus, a former slave turned pavement-maker, is to grant Junio his freedom in an elaborate ceremony at the Basilica Law Court. And what better moment than the manumission to announce the boy's engagement to be married? But the young couple's happiness is threatened by a terrible omen: the gruesome discovery of a corpse, hastily concealed in a shallow grave. Who is it? And, more importantly, who would go to any lengths to cover up their heinous crime? Determined to solve the mystery before the impending nuptials, Junio joins his mentor Libertus in trying to piece together an elaborate mosaic of murder.
Glevum, AD 188. Lying in his sick bed, weak and disoriented, Libertus is strictly forbidden visitors. But when Marcus Septimus forces his way in, desperate to speak to the pavement-maker, Libertus knows that something is seriously wrong. Marcus's beloved wife Julia and their baby son have disappeared without a trace. And now a ransom note has arrived: unless Marcus uses his power to release a certain political prisoner, he will never see his family alive again. Libertus is well aware of Marcus's dilemma, give in to the kidnappers and sacrifice his reputation for being fair and unmoved by bribery, or stand firm and provoke unimaginable consequences. But Libertus has also made a powerful enemy. How can he help his patron, and himself, this time?
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