Book Review: The Dead Virgins by Kevin Ashman

Description

Completely re-edited and formatted August 31st 2012.

India Sommers is a librarian and a talented historian, so when a stranger asks her opinion on an ancient but obviously fake coin, she thinks no more about it. That is, until he is murdered outside the very library she works in.

It soon becomes apparent that there is far more to this situation than meets the eye and she is quickly recruited by Brandon Walker, a special service intelligence officer, investigating the disappearance of a very special young girl.

As the facts unravel, they realise that an ancient artefact linked to the cult of the Vestal Virgins from ancient Rome, may hold the key to her whereabouts and Brandon draws on India’s vast historical knowledge to unravel clues that date right back through history to the time of the great flood.

Slowly, the full horror and mind blowing truth of what they have discovered becomes clear and they become involved in a race against time in a horrific and shocking finale.

Review

This epic piece of historical fiction weaves modern day with Rome 64 AD. We follow the fate of Rubria, a child chosen to be a Vestal Virgin serving the Great Mother Goddess, Vesta. Meanwhile present day abductions and killings of young girls escalates in the Prime Minister’s niece, 10 year old Camille, being abducted and a link to Roman artefacts.

Intriguing and suspenseful though this book is I found it informative and enlightening about Roman culture. If you enjoy historical fiction about the ancient Romans then this book is right up your street. I found the book so steeped with the history of Rome though that we lost urgency in finding the poor abducted 10 year old Camille. Apart form a few typos I also found the bickering between India and Brendan quite irritating and I found myself longing for the more mature and in depth SAS character of Ben Hope from the Scott Mariani books. Librarian and part time Lecturer of History India behaves like a petulant 18 year old and slips into a vernacular you wouldn’t associate with someone who is an academic expert at anything. Having an SAS man being managed by his mum who sends fish and chips with a taxi driver just took the sparkle off any sophistication or action of his role. Both India and Brendan needed maturity to anchor their personalities. Oddly Rubria, Rose and Dragus were well written.

You can’t fault the work and research that has gone into this suspenseful historic thriller, I hope we see India and Brendan maturing through the series though.

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