Welcome to Egretia, a fantastical land created by the imagination of author Assaph Mehr, based on his love for all things which bespoke of ancient Rome including the Asterix comics. His love and his passion for Rome was so evident in the prose that he could show me the harsh and vivid tapestry of those times including the magic and the gods.
Enter Felix, an investigator extraordinaire who had some magical talents remaining from his days of learning. The story had him being called to investigate the unusual occurrences happening in the Insulae, the flats of Lucius Valerius whose tenants were either dead or driven away by the dark curses. This book had him finding the reasons, the perpetrator, and the final courtroom drama.
The plot was intricate enough in some ways to keep me gripped into the story, especially in the latter half. Though set in Egretia, it had the stamp of ancient Rome, where magic and scriptures, lead tablets and incantations, potions and sacrifices, all abounded and tied in together to make this story a potent mystical read.
Felix, as the main character, was intelligent yet highly passionate, he was clear in matters of magic yet befuddled in matters of heart, his plans were good on paper, yet had its own twists when in action. Therein lay his charms. He was quite a foxy character. The other characters played their parts, especially the ladies. They had their wills and the ways and quite a clever mind to weave their ploys in the scenes.
The book took me 4 days to finish and my niggles came with it. The story had a lot of Latin words interspersed within the prose. For a person who hardly knew some words, it took me repeated readings to get the gist of the words. I found the flow of the story breaking in my mind, and I couldn’t see this book like a movie. And I found the book a bit wordy especially when the tension in the plot ought to be maintained.
But those were my own limitations of the language, the book had a Sherlock – Perry Mason flavor to it along with magic and ancient Gods, which made it quite an enjoyable read. I kept imagining the plot written in modern English, and I thought that it would make a fantastic story with global appeal.
I received a copy from the author, and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
My rating : 4 stars
About the Author
Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.
Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and – this being Australia – assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he’s writing – he seems to do his best writing after midnight.
Author Contact Details
A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.
Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.
In Numina continues to explore the fantasy world of Egretia. It borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
Publication date : 1st September, 2018
Publisher : Purple Toga Publications
In Numina on Amazon
Murder In Absentia (book 1 of the series) on Amazon
Historical Fantastical Thriller