Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Germanicus Mosaic by Rosemary Rowe

The first book in the series, The Germanicus Mosaic, follows Libertus, a freed slave, as he's tasked by his patron to solve a murder mystery.

Libertus had previously worked on a floor for a retired Centurion named Germanicus. However, shortly after he finishes the work, Germanicus is found murdered. Initial suspiscions fall on one of Germanicus's slaves, who was known to be close to the master and could imitate people well. However, when that slave turns up dead, and Libertus is attacked while investigating, it's clear that the simplest solution is not always the correct on.

In fact, the ending of the book contained a surprise twist. It made sense when I re-read it (I found a lot of the clues Libertus talked about), which is something that I really enjoy. This is the sort of book that you can read more than once, in order to pick up on the little clues that you missed. Sort of like an Agatha Christie mystery, but set in Rome-occupied Britain.

Since this is the first book, the subplot involving Libertus and his long-lost wife isn't that strong. All we know is that he is searching for her. The emphasis on this book is on the mystery.

As a first book, this does a nice job of setting the surrounding and characters for us. The relationship between Libertus and his patron Marcus (who doesn't pay him because it would be an 'insult'), and Libertus and his slave Junio are established here, and will be developed more in the later books.

All in all, this is a great start to the series. I really enjoyed it, even if it wasn't the first book of this series that I read :p

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