Caveat Emptor: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie

By Ruth Downie

In her fourth novel, Ruth Downie brings to lifestyles the corruption and treachery of Roman-occupied Britain, because it closes in on her winsome best guy. Gaius Petreius Ruso and his new spouse Tilla have moved to the city of Verulamium, the place a tax guy named Julius Asper has long gone lacking, besides handsome profit. because the research deepens, and regardless of our hero's most sensible efforts to get himself fired, he and his bride locate themselves trapped on the center of an more and more treacherous conspiracy regarding robbery, forgery, buried treasure, and the legacy of Boudica, the insurgent queen.

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Sample text

He could not understand why Camma was convinced the Council was behind her husband’s disappearance, nor why they in turn seemed to suspect him and his brother of running off with the money. Tax collection was a form of licensed theft anyway. It was hard to see what Asper might gain by becoming a real criminal when he could sit comfortably where he was, charging over the odds and growing legally rich on a fat percentage of the receipts. It was the only reason for anyone to take on such an unpopular role in the first place.

I’ve never met an investigator before,” the youth confessed. ” The squint reappeared. ” “I was with the Legion as a medical officer,” said Ruso, wondering what an investigator should look like. “Ah,” said the youth, nodding slowly. “Very clever. ” “I’m not a spy,” Ruso explained. “To tell you the truth, I’m not really—” He stopped. ” Ruso hesitated. Assuming she survived, Camma would be expecting him to look for her husband. ” Firmus’s eyebrows rose. ” Ruso cleared his throat. ” “Excellent. ” Ruso scratched one ear with his forefinger.

Pyramus’s breath was warm on his ear. ” Firmus opened his mouth to say yes, then realized what a fool he would look if she proved to be harmless. He gestured the slave back to his place. Perhaps, beyond the boundaries of Londinium, this was what all the Britons looked like. He squinted at the sweat-stained folds of her tunic and hoped the guards had at least checked her for weapons. ” she repeated. Of course not, he wanted to say. Do you really think Rome would send a shortsighted seventeen year old to look after all the money in Britannia?

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