Arcturus—legionary physician and sometime investigator for Agricola, the governor of Britannia—has seen enough of war. But the half-native, half-Roman reluctant soldier faces another battle for his beloved wife’s soul …
It’s the fall of 837 a.u.c. (84 AD), and Gwyna—Arcturus’ headstrong and beautiful wife—is distant, troubled, disconnected. Agricola insists that Arcturus take her to Aquae Sulis (Bath), a fashionable health resort in the west of Britannia, where the hot springs and healthful atmosphere are sure to rejuvenate her.
Instead, they find the corpse of a curse-writer floating in the sacred spring of the goddess Sulis.
The town council asks Arcturus to investigate. He agrees at Gwyna’s request—it’s the first time she’s shown a spark of life since he came home from the North. Together they discover that Rufus Bibax, the murdered curse-writer, enjoyed a peculiar gift. For a price, you could put a curse on a thief, an ex-lover, a business partner or the horse you wanted to make lose … and Bibax’s curses always came true.
Murder piles on murder. A lowly priest who cleans the mud from the water pipes. A necromancer who can raise the dead. Evil has taken root in the Goddess’ city, something that has corrupted any goodness from her waters. Something wicked beneath the reflection of the blue, bubbling spring …
From a haunted silver mine in the hills above Aquae Sulis, to the underground tunnels of the enormous buildings built for the sick and dying that flock to the town, they encounter a city that festers with corruption, more hellish than health-spa, running on magic water and faith in cure-alls, populated by social-climbing boors, quacks, and nephews with rich, sickly aunts. A resort more dangerous than the war Arcturus left behind.
Now he must fight again—to save his marriage … and their lives.
THE CURSE-MAKER is a sequel to the award-winning NOX DORMIENDA, the first book of the Roman Noir series created by Kelli Stanley (CITY OF DRAGONS). Wedding impeccably-researched history to prose and themes reminiscent of classic hard-boiled writers, THE CURSE-MAKER is a thrilling and suspenseful journey to a dark corner of Roman Britain you’ve never seen before.
a fonte puro, pura defluit aqua …
Don’t go near the water.