Man, my reading passion has been reignited! It was such a delight to so thoroughly enjoy Charmed and Lethal. I took a day to embrace the shock of how it ended and then dove right into Dark Omens by Rosemary Rowe, which my eldest asked me to read eight months ago.
A perplexing new mystery for Libertus set against the backdrop of a Roman Britain in turmoil after the death of the Emperor…
Libertus accepts a contract to install a pavement for Genialis, a self-important citizen from a nearby town, in the Glevum house of the customer’s intended but unwilling and young bride, Silvia. However, the weather is exceptionally severe, and although the pavement is laid in time to receive the promised bonus, Genialis goes missing in the snow before payment can be made.
Meanwhile, at an important feast, the sacrifice is spoiled as an aged priest lets go of the sacrificial ram- and when news arrives that the emperor is dead, it seems that these dark omens are being realised. The subsequent discovery of not one, but two local mutilated corpses only adds to this. Who holds the answer to these mysteries? Libertus attempts to solve the puzzle of the deaths against the backdrop of a superstitious fear of auguries, and public riots following the confirmation of the Emperor’s death.
I am not sure what to make of my feelings of this novel, published in 2013. The first I must say is that I appreciated the foreward greatly. I have a hard time with historical fiction of late, especially when often they are not so historical. However, in this case a lot of the story elements have been very well researched and the author clearly made a great effort for accuracy.
I also didn’t realize until a bit further into the story that this was not the first book in the series, and the author obviously made a fine effort to make them independently readable. I appreciated the story, enjoyed it even, though I have really struggled with mysteries since I was a teenager because I always figure it out beforehand. When the mystery is gone, one is left with an annoyance that it takes the main character so long to see the answer, despite them having the same information before them.
Despite that, I did enjoy the world-building and the historically accurate portrayal of life in the Roman-held outposts of Britain at that time.
Would I read more of Libertus’s stories? Probably not. I found it exceedingly frustrating that there were repeated errors in the story that had nothing to do with the differences between American and British grammar rules. No, there were blatant spelling errors.
Also, the story was quite drawn out and doddered along, much like the main character. But if you enjoy cozy mysteries and/ or Roman-era settings then you may find Libertus and his Patron Marcus quite enjoyable. Take a look inside and see if Dark Omens is for you.
Until Next Time,