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Scorpion Rising
Claudia Seferius Series #13

by Marilyn Todd

      Claudia is off on her travels again for her twelfth adventure, complete as usual with Drusilla and Marcus to keep her company. Her destination this time is Aquitania, at the behest of a man whose shipment of grapes has been mysteriously spirited away by pirates. Her task is to discover who killed twelve-year-old Clytie, a young priestess-in-training for the nature sect known as the Hundred Handed. These priestesses communicate in sign language and keep male sex slaves to father their children. Meanwhile, a local rebel leader known as the Scorpion is planning a revolt, and Claudia is going to be right in the middle of it all.

This series gives readers a look at what else was going on in the Roman Empire, and this time it is southwestern Franceís turn to go under the microscope. There is a lot to enjoy in this fast paced tale, set in a bizarre closed society where women rule, but all is not exactly idyllic. There is plenty of humor too, and as usual this is a fairly cozy story. However, despite the laughs, readers get some idea of the yawning chasm between the ancient world and modern times. The Druids are keen to get their human sacrifices back again, and the priestesses have their own ways of disposing of transgressors. This is a series that has been called anachronistic, but I think there is quite a bit of research underpinning all this, and there is more of a real whiff of the first century AD than might at first meet the eye, under the larger-than-life plot and characters. Iíve read whodunits with more teasing plots, but this is a real page-turner that kept me up eagerly reading. A series to treasure, I continue to think.

The Book

Severn House
March 2006
Historical Crime - 1st century AD, France
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006