Aurelia Marcella is the keeper of an inn in the province of Britannia in 98 AD. Along with her twin brother, Lucius, who is mostly absent on government business, Aurelia's position is an important one. A man who has been mortally wounded in a fight with sea-raiders alerts Aurelia to the problems being caused to farmers along the coast by the marauders. Before he dies, the man suggests that Aurelia and Lucius's sister, Alba, and her husband might be in danger. Alba used to work at the inn until she married and she and her husband bought property to farm. In the meantime, Lucius has returned to the area, apparently still on some secret government assignment. When word arrives of a Roman ship carrying valuable cargo that has run aground, he doesnit seem surprised. Aurelia goes with him to view the wreckage and also to visit with Alba and find out if they have been troubled by raiders. Alba's family and their neighbors report being pressured to sell their farms to an important Roman family who has recently settled in the area. They are intending to amass a large holding and speculation persists that perhaps the sea-raiders are in the pay of the land grabbers. First inspired by seeing the Roman remains at York, Jane Finnis, who lives on the East Yorkshire coast, immerses herself in local history. Aurelia Marcella has now appeared in three books; she is an independent and adventurous spirit who is very appealing to the reader. Along with her siblings and their extensive network of friends, employees and customers, Aurelia is brought vividly to life. Roman Britain may seem like the distant past, but human nature has changed very little from those days. Deceit, land grabbing, greed, andjealousy are nothing new. Yet love, family devotion, and loyalty are equally represented. It is fascinating to inhabit those days in the pages of this book.
He lay sprawled in the farm cart, as still as a statue. His flushed face and the bloodstains on his cloak grew lurid in the red sunset. He looked half dead, and I said to myself, I doubt if he'll live to see the dawn.... - from Buried Too Deep.