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Get Out Or Die (2005)

Get Out or Die (2005)

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3.49 of 5 Votes: 5
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1590581954 (ISBN13: 9781590581957)
poisoned pen press

About book Get Out Or Die (2005)

Back we go to ancient days of the Roman Empire. It’s a heady time when the reach of the Legions of Rome cover the known world. The setting is Britain where the quarrelsome tribes of the island have been largely subjugated. But now there appears to be an unusual level of unrest in the land. Author Jane Finnis takes the interesting approach to this historical novel by placing us in the hands of a Roman colonist, a woman who has come to Britain to establish a life, and a successful one at that, managing an inn in the new province.Her name is Arellia Marcella and the time is 91 A.D. She cannot, of course, own the property, but her brother seems to be constantly off on adventures of his own around the island so she and her half-sister Albia are there to make a go of things. They are admirable characters, possessing large measures of good sense, a flair for adventure of their own and the will and ability to interact with the male members of the town council and their own slaves, servants and passing travelers in positive and interesting ways.Finnis draws the reader quickly into the story and charms us with the two young women who are the center of this novel. Her matter-of-fact use of language and circumstance keeps us inside the story. A mysterious traveler is found beaten and nearly dead outside the gates of the establishment. The more Arellia and Albia learn about him, the more questions are raised. A string of vicious murders now occurs in the province and it appears a leader calling himself the Shadow of Death is trying to rouse the native tribes in a revolt against Roman authority. Finnis does a nice job of balancing sympathy for the rebels against the understandable concerns of the authorities who are all Latin citizens of Rome.The Shadow of Death has apparently decreed death for all Romans. They are repeatedly warned to leave Britain or die. The death of travelers on the roads naturally reduces travel and causes economic concern for Arellia.The pace of the book works well, welded as it is to the time and the limitations of travel. The writing is excellent and the characters are interesting. Late plot twists are carefully handled and surprises are there to be savored. One hopes for further adventures of this young, vibrant inn-keeper in ancient Britain.

This is the first in a series (currently three books) of mysteries, set in Roman Britain, featuring Aurelia Marcella. At this time 91AD Britain is a recently conquered country – around 43 AD, discounting Julius Cesar’s brief encounter. Aurelia runs an Inn just outside Eburacum (York). This makes the region one of the outcrops of the Roman Empire.I don’t like the title – it is used in the book but it doesn’t feel right. I haven’t been able to think up a much better one either. The story is good. The British are trying to remove the Romans by using guerrilla tactics. (leaving messages like Get out or Die). This consists of murdering travellers at night and carrying out attacks on pay convoys. There is no satisfactory reason why Aurelia’s inn is targeted, and it does appear to have been singled out. The novel is written in the first person from Aurelia’s point of view so attention is going to be focused on her property above that of others.The book reads well and is engrossing. I felt there were a few week points which let it down a little. I’d worked out who had done it and why early on and felt a little annoyed when then they dismissed this suspect. I won’t say too much about it, although I felt it was week on this point I do tend to get these things very early on. More importantly I enjoyed reading this book. Aside from the too easy ignoring of a suspect the writing is good and well paced. There were a few phrases which I particualry liked: Aurelia describes things as having taken a few heartbeats. In those days the concept of a second, or even a minute, would not have existed.

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I didn't quite like this one and I can't put my finger on why, exactly. It took place in Roman Britain so that sounded good, in theory, but in practice...It was in first person, which I don't care for normally, if it's done right I'm okay with it, but that wasn't the case here. It's fairly long, page-wise, but it still somehow felt rushed, like we were skimming over things in a hurry to get to the ending. Or maybe that was just me. I did want to know who the villain was, so I did find myself quickly reading through it to get to the end and the reveal. They had a handful of suspects and every time they decided it was one person something would happened that would make them decide it wasn't them after all and they kept repeating that cycle til it seemed like everyone had been suspected at least twice.If I could give half stars I'd rate it 1.5, but it was free, so that's worth another half a star there. If the others in this series come up for free I'd download them, but otherwise, not so much.

Typical historical mystery set in 1st century Roman Britain.If it is to compare it to Agatha Christie, it is less then a Miss Marple mystery and more like a Tommy & Tuppence adventure, only not so good. Enjoyable reading, that convinced me to buy the other 2 books in the series, but when you can guess who the vilain is in the first third of the novel, you have a problem. There were a few almost good red herrings, but not good enough.The Roman atmosphere feels a bit rushed (yes, I know, Lindsay Davis and Steven Saylor spoiled me), but I can live with that. If you are a newcomer to the genre, start with Lindsay Davis or Ruth Downie."Get Out or Die" is good without being brilliant.

#1 in the Aurelia Marcella historical mystery series set in A.D. 91 in Roman Britannia. Aurelia runs the local mansio (inn) with her sister and with their brother Lucius' permission--he is technically the owner, but as an army spy, is away "on business" most of the time. When a series of local attacks occur, with Roman travelers being killed and left with a badge that says "Get Out or Die!" Aurelia feels threatened to her core, especially as one of the victims is left for dead in her courtyard! But Quintus is another spy, like her brother, although he is loathe to tell her much at first. They all decide that the best way to return their small village to safety is to catch "The Shadow of Death" who is organizing the attacks is to catch him. The list of suspects includes some of Aurelia's friends and the town leaders, and although I knew right away who it was, it took Aurelia and company ages to figure it out. I did quite enjoy the book--the settings and characters were very well drawn, the writing style was easy to read, and I learned plenty of new things about that era. However, I did find the book a bit draggy in the midsection especially and it seemed like they hashed over the suspects' motives, means and opportunities to commit the various crimes over and over again to the point where it became repetitive--which is the only reason I didn't give it top marks. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book in series and hope that the editor had a bit more a judicious hand with the draggy bits

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