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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Hardcover)Originally released in the USA in 2003 as "Get out or Die" "Shadows in the Night is book one in the Aurelia Marcella Mysteries
The story is told as a recounting of events / a report to the Roman Governor, which in a way gives away Aurelia survival, but lets face it, who kills the hero / heroine in book 1!
In all honesty i struggled with the style of the book to begin with, so much so that by about page 100 i nearly put it down, and then it suddenly made sense to me, the characters transformed from that 1 dimension paper thin effect that they had had to that point. Suddenly they popped off the page, and i found myself being drawn back to Roman Britain.
I had the bad guy pegged from about page 155, but every now and again the author did have me question myself, she plays the threads of the scheme out very well to keep the majority of readers guessing to the end. I'm going to be very interested to see where Jane Finnis takes Aurelia next in the second Aurelia Marcella mystery, this book was strong enough by the end to make me want to read the next but i will be looking for some growth in the characters and the dialogue which occasionally had a stilted quality.
I feel that the Machiavellian XXXX (name removed as its a spoiler) will return to bring more of his madness and mayhem to the lives of the family at Oak tree inn. This can only be a good thing, he brought a refreshing edge to the story which had the habit of getting a comfortable at times, this coupled with my biggest gripe of Aurelia's bad habit of going all alpha female again nearly destroyed the book for me. I get what the author was saying and if you want to write about about how women are just as good as men at things great, but if you set a book in Roman Britain you need to accept that it wasn't accepted back then and so some of the things she did would not have happened, would have been shut down by the male dominated society immediately. (its either historical fiction or alternate history, you have to choose).
So should you the casual observer buy this book?
Do you like a Mystery? (Yes: buy the book)
Do you like Roman books (Yes: its worth a read, its a first book and has some of the failings of that but also some great ideas and promise)
This book is Caroline Lawrence for grown ups, although i think teenagers who like a good roman mystery would enjoy this also. Think Caroline Lawrence, Ruth Dowie, Lindsey Davies,
Jane Finnis may have been around for some time, but she is new here and i think has potential to build a solid reputation.
BRITANNIA, 91 AD: A raw, frontier province lying at the northern edge of the Roman Empire. Its fifty years since the legions invaded, but the land still simmers with tension, especially in the north. But in the Oak Tree Inn on the road to Eburacum, both Roman and Briton are welcome. Innkeeper Aurelia Marcella fled the devastation of Pompeii to build a new life here, and though her roots are Roman, her heart belongs to Britannia. Then a messenger is brutally decapitated outside her Inn, a crude message scrawled on his body: ALL ROMANS WILL BE KILLED. GET OUT OR DIE. An act of rebellion, or something more sinister, something more personal? Amid shadows and deception, Aurelia will have to face the possibility that someone she knows and trusts her and her family dead...
5.0 out of 5 stars What a discovery!,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)Dear Ms. Finnis,
What a lovely thing, discovering a new author with a great tale to tell, and a beautiful way of telling it. There is very little written about that time of the Roman presence in Britain, and as a big fan of all things Time Team, it was wonderful to see the world they dig out in the fields of England come to live with such a well written, breath-catching, clever story. I also enjoyed the second book of the series, and purchased the other two. Can't wait to read them and please don't stop!
This is a great "historical crime" little gem. Reads beautifully, keeps you entertained and interested until the very last page, quite unpredictable and fun. Luckily, there are more of them out there. Enjoy reading, it's a pleasure.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Roman Mystery,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)I've been searching for a quality Roman historical mystery for some time - I've finally found it. An engrossing tale, an exciting adventure and a clever mystery. Highly recommended.
For the full review, see classicmystery.wordpress.com
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)I am a big fan of Lindsey Davis' Falco stories and this is a similar format. Good story, well written, nice character development. The only reason it's a four star rating rather than a five is that I predicted the 'baddy' quite early on in the story although there was a bit of a twist that surprised me. I have already downloaded the next in the series.
4.0 out of 5 stars compulsive,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)I enjoyed this book. It hit me as being refreshing and engaging. Its style struck a note of Falco with its jaunty vernacular conversational narrative. Humourous. The characters are likeable and engage you from the off. Thats an essential skill to keep readers involved. I have the next 3 all ready downloaded.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good contribution to roman historical fiction,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)I really liked this book. The characters and setting were interesting and the time when the Romans were settled in Britain but not entirely secure in their relationship with the natives. The language was quite modern in places but not in an obtrusive or annoying way.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadows in the Night,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)Good plot, good use of humour and introduces characters I want to read more about- so much so that I bought others in the series. Set in Roman Britain, in an area I'm familiar with, there's a good opening that keeps you wanting to read on. Well recommended
5.0 out of 5 stars Romans Go Home!,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)I was introduced to Jane Finnis and Aurelia Marcella via the website of another author of Roman mysteries who is a favourite of mine, R. S Downie (author of the Medicus books). Intrigued, I sampled this book and before I had finished it, I bought the other 3 books written in this series so far!
Aurelia Marcella is an innkeeper from a Roman family who runs a tavern near Eboracum (the city we know as York). At the start of what seems to be a normal day, she comes across a badly wounded man and thus begins her involvement in a mystery which intrigues the reader as much a it does Aurelia.
The author captures the feel of the times, the characters and the plotlines are believable and the period atmosphere is realistic without being intrusive.
If you haven't read any Roman mysteries, try this one. If you have, and like them, I think you will like this one too. I know I am glad I followed R S Downie's recommendation!
4.0 out of 5 stars Roman Britain novel,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Hardcover)Good atmosphere and very descriptive of the era. Just the right amount of romance and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Excelant
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and Death it certainly is,
This review is from: Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) (Kindle Edition)This was a new author to me. I've read many historical novels but not many about Roman Britain so this seemed a good place to start. The first chapter I was getting used to the writing style but then found it an absorbing read and galloped my way through.
The story is told through the report being submitted by Aurelia, the owner of a Roman "pub" near York. A lot of detail is intertwined with the story showing what life was like in 1st century Britain and this adds to the interest.
A nearly dead man is found outside the "Oak Tree" with threats of death to all Romans. Two other corpses are found also with threats. The death-count increases and a pro-British group is laying claim to the campaign. Who will be killed next and must the Romans leave or can they find and stop the killers?
I look forward to the next book in the series
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Shadows in the Night: 1 (An Aurelia Marcella Mystery) by Jane Finnis