84 A. D. -- Aquae Sulis, Roman Province of Britannia (today- Bath, England): Sacred springs are calming. At least, that is the common understanding. As Arcturus, physician to the Provincial governor, delivers his disturbed wife to the site, the spring does, indeed, seem to have brought serenity to its current bather. He floats serene. And, unhappily, dead. Arcturus is snagged into another investigation... one that will take him into Roman burial grounds, buried aqueducts, and after buried minerals. Will he wind up buried, as well?
Sounds like a wild ride! Billed as a 'noir' (think Sam Spade, and that cursed Falcon...), but set in ancient Roman-occupied Britain. With Arcturus, our detective, poking into every dark corner, every Imperial shadow cast across the Roman Empire. Instructive- in an enjoyable way.
(For another perspective on this province and period, try Ruth Downie's Medicus series. A second medical opinion...)
The Curse-Maker followsKelli Stanley's first Imperial Rome noir, Nox Dormienda, where we originally ran across Arcturus. Stanley has also opened some windows onto San Francisco in the 1940's... and has won critical attention from historical fiction fans. What do you think?
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