In Roman Britain, Libertus gets a visit to his mosaic workshop from Genialis, a citizen from a nearby village, who wants a rush job for his betrothed’s threshold. Preoccupied with the festival’s sacrifice, Genialis is less than enthusiastic about his bride, who turns out to be his brother’s recent widow. When an old priest bungles the sacrifice, a terrible blizzard blows in, and news of the Emperor’s death reaches Britain, townspeople begin to fear dark omens are coming true. And then Genialis goes missing.
As Libertus searches for Genialis, a mutilated body is found in a snow bank and riots in town due to the Emperor’s death begin to threaten public safety. Then a second body is found, and Libertus comes to realize that both good men and bad are capable of evil deeds.
I found Dark Omens to be a well-researched mystery, and I particularly appreciated the detailed foreword which helped me put the time and place in historical context. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, and the author tied the separate threads together in a satisfying ending.