The Year of the Snake by M.J. Trow, Maryanne Coleman

Sometimes, a snake is just a snake. And sometimes…

First-century Rome.

Senator Gaius Lucius Nerva is taken ill at a dinner party and dies a few days later. His heartbroken wife, Flavia, is told it was a natural death. Calidus, Nerva’s recently freed slave, suspects otherwise.

As he embarks upon the funeral ceremonies, Calidus becomes more and more convinced that his master was murdered and begins an investigation, seeking out everyone who had attended the dinner party.

His enquiries lead him to rub shoulders with the ‘great and good’ of Rome; senators, soldiers, even the ruthless and mercurial Emperor Nero. And his former lover, Julia Eusabia, who seems intent on rekindling their romance and luring him away from his wife and daughter.

Calidus’ quest is by no means easy or safe as he encounters the darkest and most dangerous people in Rome. But he knows he must keep searching for the person responsible, to bring justice to the master he had loved.


My review

Sometimes a snake is not just an animal …

A good old whodunnit, who does not like that? I was really looking forward to reading this. I have to admit, history is not my cup of tea, but I promised myself to keep an open mind.

It started certainly well. There was already a corpse on the first page, but soon after I felt more like I was reading a history book. There was not enough balance between the murder investigation and the rest.

Was it a bad book? No, not at all. If you like ancient Rome combined with some suspense, you would feel like a fish to water.
I was pleasantly surprised by the revelation at the end and the humour. Unfortunately, I felt more like a fish out of water. 3 stars.

Thank you, M.J. Trow, Maryanne Coleman and Endeavour Media


About the authors

M.J. Trow

M. J. Trow is a full-time teacher of history who has been doubling as a crime writer for seventeen years. Originally from Rhonda in South Wales he now lives on the Isle of Wight. His interests include collecting militaria, film, the supernatural and true crime. Maxwell’s Match is his 24th crime novel.

Maryanne Coleman

Maryanne Coleman is the pen name of Carol Trow, wife of M J Trow and mother of Tali Trow. Her own books are fantasy, two so far in a projected trilogy – Goblin Market and Pandemonium – with a third (working title Saturnalia) in the pipeline. As well as writing her own fantasy novels, she co-writes the Marlowe series with her husband – somehow, they never argue and scarily enough when proofing they can never remember who wrote what, which must be a good sign. They have recently completed the first of a series, featuring Victorian detectives Grand and Batchelor – this was a change of pace from the Tudor Marlowes and the timelessness of fantasy, with the gritty back streets of Victorian London and the muddy lanes of Washington DC being the background for this exciting new series.