Cover Image: A Dreadful Destiny

A Dreadful Destiny

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Well nothing is as jolly and as carefree on the way to the forum in this riveting and utterly compelling murder mystery set in Ancient Rome, a dark and sinister tale cleverly plotted and teeming with enough twists and turns to make your head spin more that once. Add to this wonderful fictional tapestry an absolute sense of impending doom that the author knows how to skillfully manipulate and you will have to face quite an unforgettable conclusion that will definitely leave you totally gobsmacked. Finally please take your time and learn how to really get acquainted with the few malevolent & obnoxious characters with lots of nasty intentions on their minds that poison this rollicking and truculent story and you will definitely have learned how to appreciate a thrillingly vicious Roman game of cat and mouse that deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever! 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Canongate/Severn House for this terrific ARC
Was this review helpful?
was very much taken by surprise by this latest in the series. The storyline was unexpected and the end, a shock. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Another good addition to this excellent historical mystery series. The descriptions of the Roman Britain and the society structures are always fascinating and I learned a lot about this part of the Roman Empire.
It was good to catch up with the characters, well developed as usual.
The mystery is full of twists and turns, solid, and kept me guessing.
Can't wait to read the next installment.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
Libertus is having a bad day. His wife’s foot has become septic she is in grave danger. His patron Marcus Septimus has asked for his help with a cousin of his wife who has run away from a marriage with a Roman senator. The day gets worse when the senator turns up taking over Marcus’s house.
A great look into the structure of Ancient Rome. The great divide between masters and slaves and friendship that can overcome differences. These characters will bring much emotion to his story with murder coming much to close to home. This is a strong story in the series which can be read as a stand along as the characters will draw you in from the first page.
I was given an arc of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The review for this book will appear in the November issue of the Historical Novels Review as well as on the Historical Novel Society website.
Was this review helpful?
This Author just gets better and better 

Marcus Septimus is in a quandary , a potential dangerous one for a widowed cousin of his wife has asked him
for help . She has been offered up as a bride to a powerful Roman Senator, Hortius Valens , a cruel man who she cannot refuse. If he does help her he will make a powerful enemy but if he does not help her he will offend non other than the Empress herself .
With the aid of Libertus he must navigate the politics of the times whilst also dealing with an ailing wife and the murder of one of his own slaves .
This has always been a series which draws the reader in , showing the realities of just who holds the power of life and death of the ordinary man in Roman culture and Britain............. but now Marcus and Libertus themselves might find that their own powers are not enough .
This is an excellent read which I found hard to put down - will there be more in the future ??

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Was this review helpful?
Thwarting A Powerful and Dangerous Senator

The novel opens with a patrician widow not wanting to marry the person her recently adopted brother, who now was the paterfamilias, has chosen. Her dead husband was killed supporting a contender to the emperor Septimius Severus so she was quite vulnerable politically and physically. The brother had chosen an older senator and strong supporter of Septimius Severus so her vulnerability would go away. Unfortunately, the widow despises that senator and refuses to marry him. She takes the only option and runs away to Marcus Aurelius whose wife is a distant relative. She desires that Marcus, a high ranking official in Roman Britain, to assume paterfamilias over her and reject the marriage to the senator. The story shifts to Glevum where Marcus and his patron, Libertus, live. Both the reluctant bride and the hopeful broom have arrived unknown to each other.

The main storyline is one of not solving a crime but how to keep Marcus and Libertus from saving the reluctant bride and not make an enemy of a powerful senator. There really are not twists and turns of a mystery. This novel is a thriller as to how Marcus and Libertus will achieve their goal and how they have to adopt to changing circumstances. The solution and many perils involve the interpretation of Roman law. I found this part of the novel quite interesting. There are two sub-threads concerning Libertus’s wife having a seriously infected foot wound, and Marcus’s on the verge of giving birth. Both enrichen the main storyline. My interest was locked into this novel and maintained it all the way to the end. This is my major criteria for a high star rating.

As for the richness of the main characters, I have read all previous 18 novels in this series, so I am quite familiar with all of the reoccurring characters. I believe that even with little or no previous experience, a reader will find Libertus a rich and multifaceted character. That is true of his wife also. The character of Marcus starts out his usual aloof patrician Roman, but the circumstances change him into a more considerate and truer friend to Libertus. This may not be evident to a first-time reader, but for me these aspects really enrichen my reading pleasure.

Language and intimate scenes are non-existent in this novel. No issues there. There is violence but it is described in the less edgy after the fact but it still portrays the brutality of the dark side of Roman slavery. I do not believe that these aspects will trouble most readers.

As with all of the author’s previous novels in this series, I found the main storyline quite believable and realistic. I just could not stop reading even late into the night. This novel does state three times that Roman senators have lictors to do their bidding in Rome. This puzzled me because senators do not have lictors. When I researched it, my suspicions were supported. Only officials with imperium had lectors. This is the first time I have seen such an error in this series. May be someone more informed than I could correct me.

As the novel approached the end, the flow sped up significantly to an ending I only can call a literary bomb — an ending that I knew something would happen, but not this. Even though there were not any loose ends at the end, I am sure that all readers will have one question at the end.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book even with the ending. I rate it with five stars. I do recommend reading it, but if you do not have much experience with this series, I would recommend reading some earlier novels before this one.

I received a free e-book version of this novel through NetGalley from Severn House. My review is based only by my own reading experience of this book. I wish to thank Severn House for the opportunity to read and review this novel early.
Was this review helpful?
All things must pass

It’s there in the title. It’s there at the start and end of almost every chapter. A foreshadowing of doom, a sense of prospective awfulness. And it’s borne out, in this, one of the very best Libertus novels I have read, and certainly the most moving.

There is nothing cosy about this tale. It boasts one of the most evil villains I have seen in the long series, a pathologically sadistic senator from Rome, who delights in the wanton wielding of his power and influence. Everyone he comes in contact with suffers, and this includes Libertus and his extended family.

The plot revolves around this man’s runaway bride, a Roman matrona, every bit as arrogant and acerbic as her pursuer. She appeals to Libertus’ wealthy patron, Marcus Septimus, for refuge and this puts him into significant difficulty with the powerful senator. Marcus then involves Libertus in an attempt to solve the dangerous situation.

Little turns out well, and although justice perhaps is served, there is much heartbreak along the way, an ending which must surely mark a swansong, and considerable life change for Libertus, Roman and Celt, solver of puzzles.
Was this review helpful?
#ADreadfulDestiny #NetGalley Thanks Severn House and Rosemary Rowe for this ARC. Now I am wondering if this is the last time I see Libertus, it sure WAS "A Dreadful Destiny"! I won't give spoilers but poor Gwella and the rest of the family.

I have always enjoyed the author's take on Roman Britain and this one was terrific up to maybe the last third and something happened. Fortunately Libertus will either end up bouncing back OR will he actually go back to his Celtic nobleman roots I WOULD like to hear more from him about the Celtic part of his life? Hopefully..
Was this review helpful?