Synopses & Reviews
The spring of 98 AD is a time of optimism in the turbulent frontier province of Britannia. Business is brisk at the mansio (inn) on the road to York that Aurelia Marcella runs with her twin brother Lucius. Then a wagon arrives bearing a local farmer with a grievous sword wound who is seeking treatment with the local Greek doctor. And Lucius appears at the mansio on a mission. When the farmer dies, the twins head for the coast to return the man to his family and to check out a shipwreck bearing valuable official cargo. A band of outlawed sea-raiders led by a Gaul are suspected of stealing it along with killing the farmer. It all adds up to the feuding that has erupted between the colonists and the natives. The natives claim the newcomers are stealing the best farmland, while the settlers accuse the locals of plotting rebellion against Rome. Both sides are using terrorist tactics: burning, kidnapping, and even murder. The trouble escalates and long-buried grudges are revived as counsellors, citizens, chiefs, and slaves mix in. But a subtle, personal agenda is at work as well--one or more of the combatants may have hired the Gauls to orchestrate the violence. This is the third novel in the Aurelia Marcella series.
Aurelia Marcella is the keeper of an inn in the province of Britannia in 98 AD. Along with her twin brother, Lucius, who is mostly absent on government business, Aurelia's position is an important one. A man who has been mortally wounded in a fight with sea-raiders alerts Aurelia to the problems being caused to farmers along the coast by the marauders. Before he dies, the man suggests that Aurelia and Lucius's sister, Alba, and her husband might be in danger. Alba used to work at the inn until she married and she and her husband bought property to farm. In the meantime, Lucius has returned to the area, apparently still on some secret government assignment. When word arrives of a Roman ship carrying valuable cargo that has run aground, he doesnit seem surprised. Aurelia goes with him to view the wreckage and also to visit with Alba and find out if they have been troubled by raiders. Alba's family and their neighbors report being pressured to sell their farms to an important Roman family who has recently settled in the area. They are intending to amass a large holding and speculation persists that perhaps the sea-raiders are in the pay of the land grabbers. First inspired by seeing the Roman remains at York, Jane Finnis, who lives on the East Yorkshire coast, immerses herself in local history. Aurelia Marcella has now appeared in three books; she is an independent and adventurous spirit who is very appealing to the reader. Along with her siblings and their extensive network of friends, employees and customers, Aurelia is brought vividly to life. Roman Britain may seem like the distant past, but human nature has changed very little from those days. Deceit, land grabbing, greed, andjealousy are nothing new. Yet love, family devotion, and loyalty are equally represented. It is fascinating to inhabit those days in the pages of this book.
Spring of 98 AD is a time of optimism in the turbulent frontier province of Britannia and business is brisk at Aurelia Marcella's inn on the road to York. Then a wagon arrives bearing a grievously wounded farmer seeking treatment. Before his death, he tells Aurelia his family is in grave danger. Alarmed, Aurelia sends for her twin brother Lucius, a government investigator, and together they head for the eastern coast. Could the band of piratical Gauls working the area be cover for something worse? Friction between native farmers and Roman settlers over farmland turns to open violence. Both sides resort to terrorist tactics. Underneath it all flows a current of subtle, personal agendas.... Jane Finnis and her husband Richard live near the East Yorkshire coast. She is the author of Get Out or Die and A Bitter Chill. www.janefinnis.com
In the spring of 98 AD, friction between native farmers and Roman settlers over farmland turns to open violence. Both sides resort to terrorist tactics. Underneath it all flows a current of subtle, personal agendas.