The close associates of a dead insurgent leader start meeting grizzly deaths.
Doubts arise as to whether the insurgent himself is really dead. His diminishing band of companions proclaim not. Bizarrely they believe he came back from the dead.
Disgraced secret policeman Cassius Gallio knows this is impossible. He was in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus – he saw the radical agitator die before his eyes. True, the body was stolen from a tomb but the guards were inexperienced and open to offers. Still he suffered for the embarrassing outcome – busted back down to uniform and posted to the wilds of Moldova.
Now, though with one phone call he’s on a plane back to Jerusalem – the case is reopened, and with it the chance to save himself and possibly the Roman Empire as well.
Even from that short description it’s obvious that Richard Beard’s book is different. A Roman Empire with phones? And planes? The Twelve Apostles as part of a murder mystery? Roman Imperial FBI with Glock pistols?
The premise is intriguing and the setting and background as creative as it is mind-bending and unsettling.
Plotwise the story is a little weak but the concept and context is so inventive that you keep reading to learn more of this odd and unique story world, and of course to find out what happens to the characters in this strange parallel universe.
Not a book that you might ever re-read but one that has enough elements of interest to hold the reader the first time around, and when the end is reached it’s hard not to find satisfaction freighted with relief.