Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ghosts of Glevum by Rosemary Rowe

Book 6 of the Libertus series, and it threw me for another surprise! I really think that Rosemary Rowe got more confident after book 4 and started taking more risks. Book 5 and Book 6 have been more original in terms of the mystery and the situations that Libertus gets in.

In book 6, Libertus gets to explore the underside of society. When the guest of honor dies, Marcus, Libertus' patron, is accused as the murderer. When the charges are escalated to conspiracy against the Emperor, Libertus has to find the real culprits before everything is too late. Oh, and at the same time, he's being hunted down, so he can't investigate as normal.

So why is the book called The Ghosts of Glevum? Because Libertus is thrown together with a group of beggars, thieves and the lowest of the low. Those are the people that he has to pay for any scrap of information.

And I'm not sure if that makes me a callous person, but I had absolutely no sympathy for the ghosts of Glevum. I know that they have to eke out a living any way they can, but their opportunism and lack of charm makes it awfully hard for me to sympathise with them. In fact, it's only at the very end of the book that one of them (only one) does something that we can call "generous".

Mystery-wise, it's a bit disappointing. Since Libertus spends most of the book on the run from the law, there's very little investigating going around. In fact, I re-read the ending a few times, and I still don't understand how Libertus managed to piece it all together.

Overall, this is a pretty good story. It's an interesting look at the darker side of Roman Britain (remember, read the introduction so you know how much of it is accurate). Mystery-wise, it was meh, and I'm hoping the next book ramps up the investigating and the deducing again.

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