Publishers Weekly, 2010-10-25 When tax collector Julius Asper goes missing, physician Gaius Petreius Ruso, who'd rather get medical work, reluctantly investigates in Downie's superb fourth historical set in second-century Roman Britain (after Persona Non Grata). Since Asper's brother and assistant, Julius Bericus, has also disappeared, some suspect the two men have run off with the emperor's tax money, but Ruso considers it more likely that robbers attacked the brothers on the road from the provincial town of Veralamium to Londinium. When the body of a man who fits Asper's description turns up in a Londinium alley, Ruso has a murder case on his hands, and must journey to Veralamium for answers. Downie excels in bringing the ancient world to life as well as making the attitudes and customs of its inhabitants accessible to a modern audience. She also succeeds at leavening the whodunit plot with flashes of humor, many stemming from her hero's British wife, Tilla. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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