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10 thoughts on “Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping

  1. Sineala Sineala says:

    It s Roman Britain Agricola is governor, and our hero Arcturus is his half Roman half British physician, who solves mysteries on the side A rich man shows up in Londinium and a beautiful woman incidentally the man s fiancee shows up at Arcturus door to tell him that the man is a spy And then the spy himself turns up dead in the local mithraeum, and a mystery has begun.I liked this well enough But I ought to have loved it Agricola against the druids Mithraism Camulodunum and I It s Roman Britain Agricola is governor, and our hero Arcturus is his half Roman half British physician, who solves mysteries on the side A rich man shows up in Londinium and a beautiful woman incidentally the man s fiancee shows up at Arcturus door to tell him that the man is a spy And then the spy himself turns up dead in the local mithraeum, and a mystery has begun.I liked this well enough But I ought to have loved it Agricola against the druids Mithraism Camulodunum and I m not really sure why I didn t I just couldn t find it in me to care about the characters Arcturus heritage could have been interesting, but it seemed like nothing was really done with it And the writing itself had, for me, some exposition problems namely, an overuse of Latin words where the English would do perfectly well Like, okay, there s nothing wrong with, say frumentarius, because that has no succinct English equivalent grain supplier, I guess , but there s really nothing special about eques or pugio such that you couldn t just say horseman or dagger Also I was under the impression that frumentarii were assigned to legions by the Castra Peregrinorum directly in Rome and as such were not likely to be part of regular army contubernia, but this may have only been true in later days when Hadrian started using them as his spies And it threw me that Arcturus was using AUC dating rather than consular But generally speaking the research in this one is really, really solid and I m probably wrong about the frumentarii anyway


  2. Linda Bulger Linda Bulger says:

    What does a Classics scholar do for fun Author Kelli Stanley has a Classics education and an astonishingly wide range of interests and achievements It s our good luck that one of her interests is noir fiction, or in this case the roman noir, a nice little pun describing her wonderful new novel Nox Dormienda A Long Night for Sleeping An Arcturus Mystery The book is set in 83 A.D Londinium, a trading center in the Roman province of Brittania under the governorship of Agricola Agricola is What does a Classics scholar do for fun Author Kelli Stanley has a Classics education and an astonishingly wide range of interests and achievements It s our good luck that one of her interests is noir fiction, or in this case the roman noir, a nice little pun describing her wonderful new novel Nox Dormienda A Long Night for Sleeping An Arcturus Mystery The book is set in 83 A.D Londinium, a trading center in the Roman province of Brittania under the governorship of Agricola Agricola is a little too successful and popular, and that s not good news for Domitian, the Roman emperor Domitian sends a spy to watch Agricola, the spy is murdered, and Agricola s doctor Arcturus has just seven days to discover who murdered the spy to avert a serious civil war.Stanley s knowledge of the Roman age gives NOX DORMIENDA an unexpected sense of immediacy, and her other love noir fiction brings a gritty, Sam Spade realism to the first person story of Arcturus Besides hardboiled dialogue, there is insider s scuttlebutt from two centuries ago For example, speaking of Domitian, Arcturus says, I d met the Emperor just once Even then he waspedant than scholar And he never laughed Vespasian was a garrulous old sod who never minded a good joke, even at his own expense But his slight, bald, correct to the letter son believed in his own sanctity too much He wasn t much of a god, still less of a man The book finishes with an informative author s note Stanley begins, I m going to try to keep this what it claims to be a note, rather than a thesis There is also a glossary and list of references in the back And if that s not enough, you may want to check out Kelli Stanley s website, where I spent part of this rainy afternoon.Stanley plansbooks in the Arcturus series, which is a very good thing Bene


  3. Dana Dana says:

    I love noir and I love historical fiction Nox Dormienda captures both elements in a seamless blend of classic noir with ancient Rome in a well written, suspenseful and funny mystery novel I can t wait for the next in the series


  4. Gigi Gigi says:

    This is my kind of noir A historic mystery with sympathetic characters, a fast paced plot, and witty dialogue.


  5. Mary Mary says:

    The morning staggered by, still looking for a party Saturnalia was officially over two days ago unofficially there were still cockfights and dice throws,wine soaked quickies and the odor of vomit filling every alley Welcome to Kelli Stanley s world of Roman noir I have enjoyed detectives in togas for a number of years particularly a late Roman Republican sleuth named Gordianus the Finder penned from the imagination of Steven Saylor But I am not familiar with the private eyes tha The morning staggered by, still looking for a party Saturnalia was officially over two days ago unofficially there were still cockfights and dice throws,wine soaked quickies and the odor of vomit filling every alley Welcome to Kelli Stanley s world of Roman noir I have enjoyed detectives in togas for a number of years particularly a late Roman Republican sleuth named Gordianus the Finder penned from the imagination of Steven Saylor But I am not familiar with the private eyes that populate the books by Stanley s favorite author Raymond Chandler Perhaps the closest I have come to this genre is reading James Lee Burke s Dave Robicheaux novels Likewise, I have not shared my son s passion for noir genre films, although Bogart s Casablanca deserves its reputation as a classic So I wasn t quite sure what to expect when Stanley sent me a copy of her book Nox Dormienda , the first of a planned series of mystery novels featuring a crime solving medicus in Agricola s Roman Britain promoted as a new genre, Roman noir For a child of the 50s and 60s raised on a diet of traditional historical epics, I found the snappy tough noir style dialogue jarring at first as I struggled to lose myself in the gritty reality of life in early Londonium I felt like I had bought a ticket to see Gladiator but made a wrong turn inside the cineplex and stumbled into Tarrentino s Pulp Fiction But as the novel progressed and I got to know the interesting cast of characters, especially the quirky half Roman, half Britain medicus who could be gently caressing a puppy one minute and groping in the abdomen of a nearly eviscerated legionary the next, I succumbed to this author s efforts to conjure up a unique view of ancient Rome and began to enjoy the bumpy ride as Stanley s protagonist tugged me through Londonium s back streets, down into a mithraeum, up the back stairs of a seedy brothel, then into the provincial governor s palace where a weary Agricola, one of Domitian s most successful and honored generals, brooded over rumors of his pending dismissal as he realized his old soldier s boots may not be the best footwear to navigate the tightrope of imperial politics I think what I enjoyed most was becoming an invisible member of the raucous household of Julius Alpinus Classicianus Favonianus that s Arcturus to you natives or Ardur to any rheumy eyed Trinovantean females whose members so eagerly attempted to assist the Dominus in his investigations.As a member of the senatorial class, Arcturus does not lead the hand to mouth solo existence of Lindsey Davis Didius Falco His extended family includes a cook, Venutius, who tries to win Arcturus over with cullinery experiments that often go awry, Draco, a hulking bodyguard with a legendary appetite who must be barely out of his teens as he s still growing out of his tunics, a steward, Brutius, who tries to keep Arcturus adoring public at bay, Coire, a slave girl who would like to perform in the bedroom but is relegated to the examination room, and a love struck freedman, Bilicho, who serves as assistant surgeon gumshoe As the story progresses, the seductive Gywnna, daughter of an aging Trinovantean auxiliary commander moves in along with her 10 year old brother Hefin Then, Bilicho drags home Stricta, his Egyptian girlfriend and one time prostitute who also happens to be a witness to the murder Arcturus is attempting to solve Add to this a faithful and much loved dog, Pyxis, her puppies, a cat, and a smattering of chickens and you definitely experience the urbanity of Roman life.The only plot development that struck a sour note with me was introduction of an insane Christian legionary Stanley seemed compelled to offer insanity as an excuse for his dichotomous behavior Early Christians were not necessarily the pious, submissive victims of The Robe , though The violence of a soldier s profession would not have been viewed as incongruous with Christian teachings This attitutde is clearly demonstrated several centuries later by the first so called Christian emperor Constantine Further, a soldier who zealously berated his bunkmates for their embrace of other relgions of the period, like Mithrascism, would be doubtful in the inclusive polytheism of Roman culture Acting like a near zombie, chanting religious mantras with eyes glazed over, would have netted a man a quiet but violent fate in some back alley The Roman army was still a well oiled machine at this time and its members would not have tolerated such gum in the works for very long That is not to say that there weren t any Christian legionaries I just don t think the behavior exhibited by this character was needed to validate that portion of the plot Inevidentably, people who have read my review of Ruth Downie s Medicus will ask me how I would compare the two, since both not only feature a Roman medicus as primary protagonist but both set the stage for action in Roman Britain, albeit different time periods Downie s Ruso is a regular army medicus recently transferred to the XX Legion in the remote port of Deva now Chester He is starting over after a ruinous divorce from a socialite wife that has left him almost penniless His father has also died leaving a mountain of unpaid bills to Ruso and his brother struggling to scratch a living from a small farm in Gaul Ruso s sense of dignitas drives him to not only attempt to reverse his family s financial misfortunes by writing a medical treatise, but to become a reluctant sleuth when a serial killer surfaces in the seedier part of town and no one else seems to view the lives of the unfortunate prostitute victims as worth the trouble Ruso is a healer first and foremost and only consequentially an investigator Arcturus, on the other hand, seems to eagerly embrace the opportunity to discover who done it , welcoming the diversion from the humdrum of the normal practice of the governor s medicus Both men, though, seem to be equally gifted with the healing arts Ruso s world is also decidedly different that than of Arcturus and, with the exception of Ruso serendipitously saving the life of the emperor Trajan in an earthquake, did not include encounters with the famous But that is not to say that Ruso did not interact with equally intriguing characters Downie s dilapidated military outpost teemed with vibrantly drawn people thriving in the cauldron of a remote Roman frontier where two cultures attempted to co exist Arcturus Londonium is nearly as primitive, since it is decades earlier But, Arcturus lineage from a native mother married to a Roman centurion provides Arcturus with an internal conflict in which his two halves attempt to co exist in a single body So, I would say both novels offer a unique perspective on the Roman experience in Britain and I look forward to the next installment in both of these series.One last note I truly appreciate the writing device Kelli Stanley uses to acquaint the reader with common latin references Each time she uses a latin word, she places it in italics and includes it in a gloassary at the end of the book Since I have read a number of novels and nonfiction works about the Roman Empire, I was familiar with many of the terms without looking them up However, I welcomed the opportunity to expand my latin vocabulary I was particularly pleased to learn that posca was a cheap alcoholic drink made from vinegar and herbs I had to smile when I read that since it made me think of the personality of Julius Caesar s wannabe strategist slave, Posca, in the HBO miniseries, Rome I think a blend of vinegar and herbs aptly described him


  6. Joan Joan says:

    Well plotted and well written The noir style took a little getting used to for me Stanley s main character is a medicus and she uses a lot of humor so her books are similar to Ruth Downie s Medicus series but the premise is a little different.


  7. Carey Carey says:

    This new mystery series is set in Roman occupied Britain The governor, Agricola, has subdued the Britons and built a fragile peace after the terrible destruction of the Druids sacred isle of Mona and the defeat of Boudicca But the balance is precarious, the Romans and the natives barely tolerate each other.Arcturus is caught with a foot in both worlds His mother was a Briton but his father and step father were both Roman He has managed to become a successful physician, officially he is Agri This new mystery series is set in Roman occupied Britain The governor, Agricola, has subdued the Britons and built a fragile peace after the terrible destruction of the Druids sacred isle of Mona and the defeat of Boudicca But the balance is precarious, the Romans and the natives barely tolerate each other.Arcturus is caught with a foot in both worlds His mother was a Briton but his father and step father were both Roman He has managed to become a successful physician, officially he is Agricola s physician, but he manages to hover in the middle He feels the tug of divided loyalties.One night, after a busy day treating patients, a beautiful woman comes to see him Her name is Gwyna and she claims that the Governor is in danger Arcturus has a knack for solving problems and a bit of a reputation for it, too Perhaps because of his knowledge of both nationalities, he is able to win trust on both sides He is a little distracted, though, by Gwyna, and the other interesting members of his household are both a hindrance and a help.Before you know it a murder has taken place, and then another The Romans blame the native community, particularly one young Druid who is conveniently in their path Can Arcturus unravel the mystery in time to find the real killer, save the young man and avoid the civil war that is sure to erupt if the Romans execute the wrong man This mystery novel is full of well developed characters and has an intriguing plot The setting of Roman Britain is so masterfully crafted that it is obvious the author has immersed herself in it You can feel the mud and the dreary rain and see the gray mist that covers the Londinium of the time I loved the inclusion of the excellent glossary in the back which included every Latin and Celtic word used in the book.In her author s note, Ms Stanley explains that she is a fan of Noir films and the classic private eye stories of Raymond Chandler That is certainly apparent in this engrossing mystery Some of the snappy language was hilarious and the whole time I was reading it I kept seeing Humphrey Bogart in his overcoat make that a toga and hearing Dick Tracy in my ear It was a vivid, exciting, hard boiled mystery with a bit of fun thrown in I hope I will be able to review the next book in the series, Maledictus I have to know what happens to Arcturus the rest of the lively characters that live in Ms Stanley s world of Roman Noir


  8. Heather Heather says:

    With so many mystery novels to choose from, it s rare to find a fresh voice But Arcturus is just that in Nox Dormienda translated a long night for sleeping A history lover and writer myself, I was interested in seeing how author Kelli Stanley handled the Roman era of the first century C.E I was impressed Stanley writes with confidence, obvious knowledge, and a dry humor that kept me engrossed and smiling throughout The world of Roman noir is skillfully created, and even at times when I s With so many mystery novels to choose from, it s rare to find a fresh voice But Arcturus is just that in Nox Dormienda translated a long night for sleeping A history lover and writer myself, I was interested in seeing how author Kelli Stanley handled the Roman era of the first century C.E I was impressed Stanley writes with confidence, obvious knowledge, and a dry humor that kept me engrossed and smiling throughout The world of Roman noir is skillfully created, and even at times when I set the book down, no matter which chapter, the next time I picked it up the world was there in its full richness I didn t have to remind myself of where I was Stanley is a master at using the senses to her advantage in creating living, breathing scenes She never misses a beat, her writing is tight, and her plot well constructed It s plain to see why this novel won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery award.Arcturus is a trusted doctor to the governor, Agricola But he does muchthan doctoring Due to his confidential relationship with the governor, Arcturus is soon swept up in solving the mystery of the violent death of a Syrian man This man was delivering an important letter to the governor from the emperor The letter contains information that begs a reply without a reply, civil war threatens But the letter is missing, the money is missing, and the Syrian s fianc e is left unattached As Arcturus heeds the governor s request to find the murderer, he uncovers a murder plotcomplex than he could ever imagine Everyone in his household is put in danger, including the woman who has finally unthawed his heart He has seven days seven days to find a murderer, protect his governor, and prevent a civil war.I m looking forward to Stanley s next installment of the Arcturus series, Cursed Also, her upcoming book City of Dragons February 2010


  9. T.C. Anderson T.C. Anderson says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I m sure this new fangled genre of so called roman noir requires a certain audience to attract interest and keep it, but I was not a part of that audience.The only way I could possibly tell you what the book is about is by reading the back cover, and even then, it isn t completely clear The invention of a brand new genre of literature is great and all, but if you can t back it up with some good can t put it down, balls to the walls reading, it s not going to do much good.So, here s what I got I m sure this new fangled genre of so called roman noir requires a certain audience to attract interest and keep it, but I was not a part of that audience.The only way I could possibly tell you what the book is about is by reading the back cover, and even then, it isn t completely clear The invention of a brand new genre of literature is great and all, but if you can t back it up with some good can t put it down, balls to the walls reading, it s not going to do much good.So, here s what I got from my 94 pages of reading this Agricola governor dude has gotten himself into a coliseum full of poop and is now being called to resign by this spy, whose married to a chick that Agricola s friend and doctor fancies Okay, first off, I didn t know they had spies back then, and two, it s already a bit too The Bold and the Beautiful for me But oh, wait The spy ends up dead Woo hop Gladiator brawls for all Not exactly This lovelorn doctor guy suddenly becomes Sherlock Holmes Jr and takes it upon himself to find out who murdered this spy Sure, it may help clear the governor s name if he does that, but I thought governors and emperors and all them were pretty powerful people on their own Can t they just have their accusers buried in a pyramid or something I wasn t thoroughly impressed with what I read, but that is one person s opinion If this sounds like your type of reading, hitch a chariot and go for it


  10. Vicki Cline Vicki Cline says:

    I didn t really care for this one, and didn t even finish it I guess it s the noir tone that got to me I also don t like the Falco series and David Wishart s Corvinus series irritates me a bit They all seem too modern in tone to me I love Steven Saylor and John Maddox Roberts, and like Rosemary Rowe and Ruth Downie quite a bit They all seem to write in an appropriate Roman manner.ETA I tried this one a second time and it grabbed methis time so I finished it Agricola is involved an I didn t really care for this one, and didn t even finish it I guess it s the noir tone that got to me I also don t like the Falco series and David Wishart s Corvinus series irritates me a bit They all seem too modern in tone to me I love Steven Saylor and John Maddox Roberts, and like Rosemary Rowe and Ruth Downie quite a bit They all seem to write in an appropriate Roman manner.ETA I tried this one a second time and it grabbed methis time so I finished it Agricola is involved and he s always interesting Also there s a good bit about Mithraism The romantic stuff is a bit too pronounced for my taste, but chacun a son gout


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Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping Arcturus the half Roman doctor and occasional problem solver has seen much in his thirty three years He is Agricola s doctor and friend And Agricola is the governor of Britannia On a frozen December afternoon, he learns the governor is in trouble The Emperor Domitian has sent a spy to Britannia a spy carrying papers demanding Agricola s resignation It doesn t make Arcturus any warmer to know that the spy, Vibius Maecenas, is betrothed to the woman who brings him the story The woman Gwyna is as unforgettable as her information When Arcturus sends his freedman Bilicho to follow her, he finds himself, hours later, in an underground temple, staring at a shapeless hulk on top of the altar It s the trussed body of Maecenas, with a gaping hole in place of a throat If Arcturus doesn t find out who murdered him and why, Domitian might think the governor is responsible The dead Maecenas will ignite a civil war, one hot enough to thaw the ice in frozen Britannia

  • Hardcover
  • 323 pages
  • Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping
  • Kelli Stanley
  • English
  • 16 May 2018
  • 1594146667

About the Author: Kelli Stanley

An award winning author of crime fiction, Kelli Stanley s first novel in the Miranda Corbie series, CITY OF DRAGONS, was met with overwhelming critical acclaim It won the Macavity Award Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Shamus Award CITY OF SECRETS, her second novel in the series, won the Golden Nugget Award for best mystery set in California CITY OF GHOSTS the long awaited third Miranda Corbie book will be published August 5th, 2014.Stanley also writes a highly praised series set in Roman Britain, the latest of which is THE CURSE MAKER Her debut novel, NOX DORMIENDA, won the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery of 2008.She makes her home in Dashiell Hammett s San Francisco, earned a Master s Degree in Classics, and loves jazz, old movies, fedoras, Art Deco and speakeasies.Forinformation about Kelli s books, please visit her website at CITY OF GHOSTS June, 1940.Art Spies Murder.For Miranda Corbie, private investigator and erstwhile escort, there are debts to be paid and memories long suppressed and willfully forgotten to be resurrected.Enter the U.S State Department and the man who helped her get her license A man she owes And playing along may get her a ticket to Blitz bombed England, if she survives Through sordid back alleys and art gallery halls, from drag dress nightclubs to a Nazi costume ball, Miranda s journey into fear takes her on the famed City of San Francisco streamliner and a ticket to Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World where she finds herself framed for a murder she never anticipated.Miranda must learn the difference between reality and illusion, from despair to deceit and factual to fake, as she tries to get her life back and navigates a CITY OF GHOSTS.Miranda s back And noir will never be the same.