review by Maryom
Aurelia Marcella is the innkeeper at the Oak Tree Mansio on the main Roman road, 15 miles outside Eburacum. It's 50 years since the Romans invaded Britannia and things are normally peaceful and quiet - until a series of murders changes all that. All the victims were travelling on the Roman roads and a message left with the bodies saying ALL ROMANS WILL BE KILLED GET OUT OR DIE. It seems that a rebellion may be growing, led by the mysterious masked figure - the Shadow of Death.
The story is told in the first person as a supposedly official report from Aurelia to the Governor of Britannia. It must be the strangest report he's ever read -it's gossipy and chatty and full of asides! Perhaps because of this I found it really hard to get into this story and by the time I had, I'd guessed the bad guy and was just waiting for events to be wound up.
It gives an insight into Roman settlers in Britain, trying to make a living on the outer edge of the Empire, and the Britons acquiring Roman ways and manners, but in this first book of a series many are only 2 dimensional characters - I expect they'll re-appear and be more 'fleshed out' in later stories.
Maryom's review - 3 stars
Publisher - Head Of Zeus
Genre - historical fiction
Buy Shadows in the Night: 1 (Life and Death in Roman Britain)