As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do What do Romans do exactly Lounge around eating grapes while slaves massage their feet Applaud the brutally violent blood shed and demise of nameless gladiators and innocent animals Orgies I ve seen the movies I know things Ancient Rome, no thank you.Romans of today still engage in excess lounging, massaging and applauding but the only bodily fluid being shed at the Colosseum is sweat from tourists waiting in line I have no current statistics on orgies.Enter the Rome created by E.M Swift Hook and Jane Jago In this Rome, daily life is similar to the ancients blood sport, murder, political power struggles and all that nonsense Yet there s a futurist feel a mix of 21st century attitude and technology of a time not yet seen.The city is Londinium, where the murder of an arena fighter results in a partnership between Dai Llewelyn and Julia Lucia Maxilla Dai is not a Roman citizen which in this world, means the world Julia is not only a citizen but she is the foster sister to the Tribune, Decimus Lucius Didero Translation her five foot frame is protected by two vicious dogs and a monster bodyguard Oh and Roman privileges Dai can only dream about Together they make a perfect team think Mulder and Scully determined to solve the case but their investigation is not welcome and their lives are at risk This whole lives at risk thing usually means fights and torture Oh yeah, epic fight scenes One with Dai and Julia back to back fucking up bad guys I literally did a fist pump The torture was cringe worthy as torture should be.The story is complex but at no point was I lost and me being lost is a daily event The three components flow in harmony Dai and Julia s budding romance, the murder investigation and the mind blowing world created by two gifted authors The writing is entertaining, the creativity is almost unbelievable and the story is all absorbing Are two minds really better than one When the minds belong to Swift Hook Jago, undoubtedly yes. I was assigned this book in the Review Group 168 An interesting idea exploring what may have happened if the Romans hadn t left.A number of elite athletes have been murdered The investigation is just beginning, but the body count is increasing Julia and Dai are investigating but will she be able to shake off her shady past I read a lot of crime murder mysteries but not so many with an historical element so this genre was new for me I really felt that this book needed to be longer as there just wasn t enough time for the story to really get going The romance that began to develop between the two main characters seemed to come out of nowhere because there wasn t enough backstory for readers to connect with either of the characters The book highlights the difficulties an investigation of this nature would have faced at the time due to the Roman dominance It also depicts the attitudes and treatment of different classes The historical detail was well researched and interesting The book itself is well written with just a few typos repeated words I appreciate that this is a series I think it would be worth reading another in the series to allow the story to develop Please note that for sensitive readers this book has a torture scene with a sexual element There are also obviously murders which are quite graphic but not extremely so There is some bad language. In The Run Up To The Games, Elite Athletes Are Being Murdered But When A Roman Dies The Authorities Take Notice And It Falls To Our Heroes To Discover Why And By Whom, Before The Killer Strikes Again Imagine A Britain Where Rome Never Left And A Reformed Empire Has Ruled For Two Millennia Technology Is A Bit Advanced In The Present Day And A Bit Different But People Are The Much The Same Meet Dai, A Briton And A Hard Working Investigator Trying To Solve A Brutal String Of Murders And Julia, A Roman Inquisitor, Sent To Pour Oil On Troublesome Provincial Waters When A Roman Citizen Joins The Body Count A quick and entertaining mystery, exploring What If Rome has never left Britain.I m a bit of a nut when it comes to ancient Rome and alternate histories Yeah, who would have thunk it.So I was really excited to get my hands on this new addition to the field I was not disappointed.What to ExpectImagine that Rome remains the centre of power over the millennia Diocletian established the tetrarchy but kept Rome as the center of power Constantinus never embraced Christianity The legions never left Britannia.So now we have a Roman centric world, with slightly futuristic technology, ruling over Europe.But this is all in the background, the world building The story itself is the story of a murder mystery, where Dai, a British officer of the vigiles non citizen police , is thrown together with Julia, a Roman inquisitor.What I likedThe characters are well developed, and the world only glimpsed in the novella offers a rich what if style background to the story This will appeal to all lovers of speculative fiction concerning ancient Rome, and murder mysteries with a touch of romance.What to be aware ofThis is a novella, a quick read Some of the events around the mystery are a bit rushed, and the world is presented as is , without going into the mechanics of Roman culture and rule, and the divergence of history from our own time line.SummaryA quick and entertaining read I am looking forward to seeing how Swift Hook and Jago develop the world further, delving into the richness of Roman culture and exploring how it evolved over the course of history I m curious to see how Dai and Julia build up their relationship, and what are they going to encounter in t heir next case.If you love ancient Rome, murder mysteries with a touch of romance, and some what if questions to ponder you should pick up your copy and start reading now Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia a story of Togas, Dagger, and Magic for lovers of Ancient Rome, Urban Fantasy, and Detective mysteries. This novella presents a very cool alternate timeline in which the Roman Empire still exists London as we know it doesn t exist, instead it s Londinium a city in which only Roman citizens are viewed as worthwhile and non citizens Saxons, Caledonians and other non Romans must scrape by Amidst this topsy turvy blend of history fantastic future, Saxon vigiles police officer Dai has a doozy of a murder mystery to solve Participants in the Londinium Games are being murdered But alongside these non Roman deaths are a few noble Roman citizens who up the ante significantly Dai s superiors assign a Roman Inquisitor to oversee his investigation That alone would be enough to annoy Dai, but when he meets the person assigned to take charge he getsor less than he bargained for Julia is small but mighty, a spitfire Roman who, contrary to her class and citizenship, treats Dai and most non citizens she encounters with a respect rarely afforded This was truly a delightful introduction to the world of Dai Julia It s a quick read with an intriguing mystery and plenty of hope to fill out future installments. I love books that cross genre, so it s no surprise that this I enjoyed this alternate history murder mystery despite the fact that neither alt history or mystery are my usual go to genres But I was familiar with Jago s work and I can definitely say I m a fan of that I hadn t previous read anything from Swift Hook, but the two authors did a fantastic job of blending their contributions seamlessly I never would have guessed there were two authors working together here This is great introduction to some great characters. Recap Dai and Julia must work together to solve a series of murders The twist, the book is set in modern day Roman times Julia is a Citizen, Dai is not.Review This is a co authored book and I was curious to see whether I could tell who wrote what bit I can t It s a fantastic blend of two very talented ladies who have written an excellent alternative history detective novella And it s so very readable, always a sign of good writing when you never stumble over phrasing or get jerked out of the narrative due to confusing plot points I really enjoyed this intro into a whole new world and I m excited that there are two further instalments in the Dai and Julia series to read at time of this review that is You don t have to be an expert on Roman history to enjoy the setting, you are comfortably shoe horned in and given enough to get on with Whilst not really a classic whodunnit, there s enough intrigue to keep you turning the pages, a love story to satisfy the emotional aspect plus an enjoyable bit of gore at the end. A thoroughly entertaining Roman murder mysteryRoman citizen Julia is tasked with solving a string of grizzly murders along with her humble low born assistant, Dai They walk the streets of modern Londinium, for in this cleverly conceived tale, the Roman Empire never collapsed and still controls contemporary Europe Computer technology mixes with Roman culture, as our intrepid detectives trail lead them to a finale of regional murder ball who needs cricket at the arena A splendid, humorous jaunt, with a great attention to Roman mixed with imagined detailrecommended. Kindle Unlimited They certainly got up to some hanky panky in the good old days of the Roman Empire Or should that be in the good new days of the Roman Empire What if it the Ancient world hadn t collapsed in the fifth century What if Attila the Hun and his minions had failed to drive the Romans out of western Europe, allowing them to rule uninterrupted for two thousand years, their patrician sandal clad foot placed firmly on the neck of the inferior Britons Dying to be Roman opens with someone, er, dying, and the body being discovered by our Celtic hero sleuth, named, er, Dai He looks pretty deceased to me, he mutters, observing the faceless corpse at the Augusta Arena, Londinium, Britannia Maxima A quick DNA check with his wrist worn identipad reveals the victim is Treno Bellicus, aka Big Belly , a star athlete in the upcoming Games The tone is set for this multi layered, tongue in cheek, fast paced detective romp through the cobbled alleyways and towering insulae of Londinium In this city where togas meet hi tech, and patrician matrons recline on couches or nip off in hovercabs to buy their designer stolas, an assassin is on the loose, despatching victims at the speed of light What s , most of them have at least three names Quintillas Publius Luca, Anna Belonia Flavia, Urbanus Hostilius Rufus which makes the body count seem even higher Clearly what is needed to thwart this bloodthirsty villain is a clever detective, or, better still, two of them Our sexy British Sherlock, he of the moody looks and bulging biceps, meets his match in the form of a miniature Roman Watson ette in leather trousers with a nerve whip tucked into her belt The hunt is on, and the dynamic duo race from crime scene to crime scene, assisted by two giant wolf hounds and a handy contubernium of praetorians, trying to figure out who is murdering not just the lowly natives who cares but also daring to knock off the cr me de la cr me of society, proper Romans from proper Rome The relationship between the two protagonists gradually develops from the instinctive mistrust between natives and colonisers to a mutual respect and growing attraction Dai learns that Julia is not all she seems, and that her passion for justice applies to everyone, not just the ruling class Julia learns that beneath his brooding exterior, Dai is intelligent and able to see beyond prejudices and stereotypes, a thinking woman s Ross Poldark But do they have a future together, this Romeo who has never seen Rome, and his Juliet, foster sister to the mighty Tribune Decimus himself Will Julia be able to put up with Dai s passion for chip buttys with garam sauce, most of which ends up on his tunic Will Dai be able to sit across the kitchen table without flinching as his beloved crunches on baby mice bones or nibbles a salad with wafer thin curls of delicate roast peacock flesh served on a bed of rocket and watercress But before they can sort out their romantic destiny, they have a killer to catch, and a lot of merda to shovel Readers looking for a cleverly written, mash up whodunnit with plenty to think about, laughs a minute, gore galore, two engaging lovers and a permanent sense of d j vu all over again will adore this book Bring on Dai and Julia Book 2 While I have an interest in mythology, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good, quick mystery regardless of their interests This was a fast, diverting read that kept me very interested in the procedural details as well as the characters Very clever execution of a unique alternate history concept.
E.M Swift Hook is the author of the Fortune s Fools dark space opera series and co author of the alternate history whodunits the Dai and Julia Mysteries.In the words that Robert Heinlein put into the mouth of Lazarus Long Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards Having tried a number of different careers, before settling in the
- Kindle Edition
- 62 pages
- Dying to be Roman
- E.M. Swift-Hook
- 14 March 2017 E.M. Swift-Hook