Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Headline
Release Date: January 2004
ISBN: 0755305167
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime [187AD Gloucester, UK]
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

The Ghosts of Glevum
By Rosemary Rowe

      Now, cozily ensconced on his own little roundhouse and with two slaves and his wife returned to him, life seems sweet to Libertus. He is even a minor guest at his patron’s smart banquet to welcome the two temporary replacements for the departed Pertinax. When one of these guests is found murdered in the vomitorium, Marcus is hauled off to prison on a charge of treason. Not long after the finger points at Libertus, so he too has to take to his heels, where he encounters the shadowy underworld of the Ghosts of Glevum. With his newfound “friends” and a veneer of invisibility, he must discover the true murderer--before it is too late.

      Libertus takes a walk on the wild side in this sixth adventure, and as ever, this is an entertaining mixture of fact and fiction. Rowe paints a believable picture of late 2nd century Roman Britain as a fusion of harsh realism with many touches of the homely and a sprinkling of wit. This is a dangerous place where those in power wielded it absolutely and a slave--or anybody unfortunate enough to lose their livelihood or be otherwise undesirable--had no rights. Libertus makes a good narrator as he takes the reader through his exploits, giving his own view on things, on the edge of society but still a citizen. The whodunit part of the story takes a backseat much of the time as Libertus tells of the terrible but grimly fascinating world of the Ghosts, but when the detective work starts, it is still a puzzler and it certainly kept me guessing. I still maintain that the best thing about Rowe’s work, intriguing plots notwithstanding, is her uncompromising depiction of Roman Britain.