Dunne, Jan 2004, 23.95, 288 pp.
In the City of Rome, Decius Caecilius Metellus assumed the aedilship. This office has no perks, is very expensive for the incumbent, and is very necessary if a citizen wants to rise high in the political system. The aedile has to make sure the sewers and drains are in working order, make sure the building contractors are kept honest, and inspect the brothels, the one bonus in the job.
When a new building suddenly collapses, killing over two hundred and fifty people and slaves, Decius is on the job acting as a modern day arson investigator. He sees that Lucius Folius and his wife, wealthy merchants in the building trade, were killed with their necks snapped. The slaves were cruelly whipped and bore deep scars as tight runaway collars on their necks. Holes were bored into the foundation of the building causing it to collapse. Further detecting shows that Folius was involved in the collapse of other buildings. Decius concludes that a conspiracy of highly placed politicians was involved in the scam with him. Decius is determined to bring all the perpetrators to justice even if it means putting his own life on the line.
John Maddox Roberts places his heroic protagonist in the last years of the Roman Republic where crime, corruption and violence are at an all time high level. Decius, politically astute and delightfully devious, uses unique methods to see that justice prevails. The author has meticulously researched Roman history making readers feel like they are actually events that are happening now.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner