Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping
Londinium, 84 AD. The dregs of Saturnalia are slumped over in the clinic, begging for relief as Arcturus, 33-year-old physician to the Governor of Britannia, dispenses cures to local citizens as well. He’s about ready for a cup of falernian when a beautiful woman delivers a message and then vanishes: a Syrian spy, Vibius Maecenus, is traveling to Londinium carrying orders from the Emperor that will harm his Governor. She knows; she’s the Syrian’s unwilling betrothed. Still reeling from her beauty and the shock of her message, Arcturus is summoned urgently to examine a dead body in the Roman mithraeum. It’s the Syrian, ritually murdered, with the document stolen.
Realizing that civil accord is at stake, Arcturus is pressured to solve the case now. His hybrid heritage gives him access to all strands of society, even back to the “old beliefs” of his youth, where the clues may lie. He’s heartbroken that the beautiful Gwyna cannot be ruled out.
Arcturus is a unique protagonist: a private eye in a toga, wisecracking monologues to boot. This era with its smells, sounds and the language comes alive in the noir world of Nox Dormienda. I look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.