You have to read an ordinary book sometimes to enjoy the good ones. This one is as pedestrian as you can get with a touch of name dropping. Historical name dropping. The intrigue is set in Vespasian's time where a prince of Palmyra is this brilliant, charming, widowed of course he suffers so prettily, clever lawyer and investigator for the emperor. The author just keeps dropping name's into the story that just makes you go, stop already, I got it, you did your research, you read Pline, you read Cicero, you read about the theater of that period. Stop it and tell me a story. It was a very frustrating book and the series only lasted for 2 books. I will not go and hunt for the second one. I am not that much of a masochist.