Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Britannia, AD 118
First Sentence: He had not expected to be afraid.
This novel is the second in Downe's Roman Empire series featuring Roman Army doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso.
Our main character is a medicus for the Roman Army. Tilla is his slave, and his house keeper, and his lover.
They have an interesting relationship.
Ruso is occasionally self important what with being a doctor and a Roman citizen. Tilla is very independent, for a slave. She is not afraid of speaking her mind. Ruso probably would improve their relationship if he actually listened to what she says.
Tilla and Ruso are in northern Britain near Hadrian's wall. Ruso is there to fulfill his military duties. It happens that Tilla has family living near the fort.
There has been a murder at the fort. Someone has killed and decapitated a Roman soldier. The soldier had been a trader in embezzled army supplies. The Romans believe that the murderer is one of the local natives. The natives believe the death was caused by a "stag man" conjured up by a curse that was put on the victim.
Unfortunately, Ruso has been asked to investigate. While he is doing so, Tilla is off reconnecting with her kin. I turns out that the murder is somehow connected with Tilla's family.
Will Ruso and Tilla, working independently, uncover the clues that will solve the crime?"
I enjoyed this book. For me it was an easy read. The author has employed lots of short chapters. There are 92 in all. This makes the book perfect for fitting some reading into a busy schedule.