This is the first in a series of Roman mysteries, taking place during the reign of Antoninus Pius in 158 CE The detective is Marcus Flavius Severus, a judge The wife of a Roman senator has disappeared at the same time that a body is discovered on the steps of the Temple of Mars the Avenger It turns out these two knew each other while the senator and his family were in Ephesus The book starts with a letter from Severus to himself, and I thought the whole book would be in the first person, but there are only a few of these notes The mystery was fairly interesting, but Severus himself really isn t There s lots of descriptions of the city of Rome and what life is like there. Well plotted and executed book Satisfying readPlot is tight The author, an attorney, presents the reader with a number of ethical and philosophical questions along with the mystery Characters are likable. Mars The Avenger Is An Historical Mystery Set In The Year CE, During The Reign Of Antoninus Pius, A Period Often Called The Height Of The Roman Empire It Is Also A Daily Life In Ancient Rome And A Sojourn Into The World Of Roman Life, Criminal Law, Police And Courts Marcus Flavius Severus, A Judge In The Court Of The Prefect Of The City Of Rome, Investigates The Disappearance Of A Senator S Wife And The Finding Of The Body Of A Murdered Man Thrown On The Steps Of The Temple Of Mars The Avenger As The Investigation Unfolds, The Two Cases Become Connected To A Love Affair Seventeen Years Before In The Roman Orient The Investigation Leads Judge Severus And His Court And Police Aids Through The City And The Society Of Ancient Rome, Into A Slave Market, Wealthy Villas, Taverns, Tenement Apartment Houses And The Circus Maximus There Are Also Scenes In Roman Courts And The Book Is Accurate As To The Criminal Laws Of The Time, Including The Use Of Judicial Torture All Laws, Rescripts And Legal Procedures Are From Roman Law Sources The Novel Also Introduces A Perspicacious New Detective In The Person Of Roman Judge Marcus Flavius Severus 2.5 3 stars for storyline, 2 stars for the writing The writing was very bland for the most part, and included some sentences so bad they made me laugh, eg He embraced her and they exchanged lustful smiles and began running their hands all over each other on the way out Particularly at the start, the way he gave information about ancient Rome was far too info drop ish, and could have done with being written organically I bought this as a kindle ebook for around a dollar, and at that price, I would try the second to see if the writing improves Otherwise not going to bother. Rough justiceWhile I understand the reasoning that sorted the guilt, I can t justify the horrifying deaths of the slaves Thankfully, I don t have to make those decisions. This series is fun It is set in ancient Rome, and it is really interesting to travel around at that time. A legal procedural and ethical drama in Rome A short novel, an easy read yet it still provides a good sense of place and time. OK Roman mystery One of the themes running through this book deals with the value of philosophy The Romans liked philosophic discussions for their own sake There s not much mystery to this mystery I made it to the end so it isn t awful, but it isn t much good. Mars the Avenger is a pleasant read, even one with some heft to it in its ponderings on justice versus morality, but I assign it only three stars The author never weaves a world that the reader feels, sees, hears and tastes I personally like to be immersed in a world, not told about it On the first page an alarm sounded in me when the author speaks of the scent of a freshly scrubbed marble floor Marble has no scent, so any scent would come from what it was scrubbed with The author didn t mention what the scent was Although Running the Roman Home mentions only water used in washing marble floors and mentions no additives, if he needed a scent he could have mint leaves or thyme in the water That would at least clue the reader as to what the sensory experience was The novel is modeled in the Sherlock Holmes fashion of mystery in which the climatic scene is the solving of the murder through the acumen of the detective He notices something others don t As such the experience for the reader is an intellectual one, not a visceral one That method of structuring a who done it is widely used But I am not overly fond of that formula It was a pleasant read, but a bit thin in providing an experience for the reader And isn t that what it s all about To experience other lives, other worlds Isn t that why we take time from our lives to read fiction While I enjoyed the book s plot, the book suffers from some what wooden dialogue To my mind, the dialogue seemed a bit too formal and it is hard to imagine real people actually talking that way Although the book is primary a mystery, it provides a good background and a lot of nice speculation on Roman law and philosophy during the reign of the Good Emperors The protagonist, Judge M Flavius Severus, is a judge and an intellectual He thinks quite a bit about the relationship between ethical decisions and the law As happens in many stories in the Roman Mystery sub genere, slaves are suspected of murder which could potentially lead to a death sentence for all slaves in the household Despite my concerns about the dialogue, I liked the characters The story is not just built around the detection of the main character the third person narrator shows us the actions of Severus and all of his associates The contrast in characters is quite interesting I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see how the author develops.