John Maddox Roberts is the pseudonym of Mark Ramsay, author of numerous works of science fiction and fantasy, in addition to his successful historical SPQR mystery series. He lives in New Mexico with his wife.
Anyone who is a fan of Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor or David Wishart will love the SPQR series of books by the author. Once again we have an addition to the ever growing number of amateur detectives patrolling the streets of ancient Rome, solving mysteries and crimes. Not all at the same time, I may add, in fact not even in the same centuries. Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, a high-born bad boy, is the offering of the author and he is just as interesting, likeable and believable as the leading characters from the author's contemporaries.
The city of Rome is at its lowest ebb for many years. The streets of the city are filled with violence and the vicious gangs are preying on high and low born alike. When a lowly ex-slave is found garrotted and a foreign merchant is disembowelled in the Suburbs district of the city it would normally be of little consequence and quickly forgotten or pushed aside by the powers that be.
But Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, the commander of the local vigils station has other ideas and is determined to investigate the matter. Coming from high born stock Metellus has some contacts who may be able to help in the matter, but as he digs deeper he uncovers a festering sore of bribes, threats and corruption, right up to the highest levels of Roman government.
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