The Grove of the Caesars

Plot Summary

With Tiberius Manlius called away to the country, Albia takes charge at home where she receives a nasty imperial present that she cannot give away. Her tasks include looking after their building firm, where Tiberius is hoping for a nymphaeum contract in the Transtiberina. Can it be that people are warning her Don’t go to the Grove? The bridge across the Tiber is a rackety old thing, which leads to much more curious events than sending the innocent apprentice for a bucket of rainbow paint…

Distracting her with bundles of unearthed old scrolls by unreadable authors can’t keep our girl from noticing that the legendary gardens Caesar left in his will to the Roman people hold terrible secrets. Deaths occur. The untrustworthy Seventh Cohort of Vigiles has made no progress in two decades, and sending them Julius Karus – still keen to arrest the wrong suspect – won’t help. Albia owns the skills, she has the grit and the contacts, so whatever rustles in the dank undergrowth under the ancient plane trees will be dragged into the open – even if it involves an auction, a trireme fight, a pushy fountain contractor and dodgy booksellers (surely not!)

All that while Uncle Tullius hints that life may be about to change for ever…

Reviews

Davis knows the customs of ancient Rome extremely well, and she brings the daily life of the city alive for the reader. She describes the building industry, auction houses, and the scroll trade in great detail here, and I found what she says about scroll-sellers especially fascinating. Flavia is a strong protagonist, with her father’s dry wit and sarcasm. Historical Novel Society

The audacious Flavia Albia returns in her eighth adventure, once again feverishly traversing the Tiber in her never-ending quest for truth, justice, and the Roman way. This one ends with a surprising conclusion that will make fans adore Flavia even more, if that is possible. Booklist

The author’s trademark dry wit leavens the gruesomeness of the central plot. Davis convincingly sets a hunt for a serial killer in ancient Rome. Publishers Weekly