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Marcus Corvinu Books In Order

Publication Order of Marcus Corvinus Books

Ovid (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Germanicus (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sejanus (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lydian Baker (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Old Bones (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Rites (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
White Murder (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Vote for Murder (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Parthian Shot (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Food for the Fishes (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In at the Death (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Illegally Dead (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bodies Politic (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Cuase for Concern (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Solid Citizens (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Finished Business (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Trade Secrets (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Foreign Bodies (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Some of the people in the literary world may say that detective fiction is a genre that was beaten to death. There is no viable variation on a theme which has not been done yet. It refers to the characters, as well as the setting of the novel. The principle is more or less the same, with slight cosmetic changes. Nevertheless, once in a while, one may come across detective fiction that would even interest harsh critics of the genre. Consider for a moment ancient Rome. Many will think of togas, chariots, gladiators and emperors. Some may imagine sword and sandal epic spectacle. Still, there will not be many people who will think of detectives. Rome and detective seem as two terms than have nothing in common. That may be true if you have not heard of David Wishart. This Scottish author conceived the world in which the hero meets gladiators and murder mysteries just the same. The world is ancient Rome as he sees it and the hero is Marcus Corvinus, a detective.

“Marcus Corvinus Series” was first published in 1996. It focuses on Marcus Valerios Messala Corvinus (or just Corvinus as he is into the whole brevity thing). Meet Corvinus- a Roman of a blue blood, who had a chance to spend his life working in a lucrative cursus honorum, a type of administrative job in ancient Rome. This was not Corvinus’ cup of tea, to put it mildly. He is a man of outdoors, who is fascinated by mysteries. Corvinus is rough and takes no nonsense. If there had been cigarettes in ancient Rome, his hand would always be holding one. Corvinus is a family man, too- he married beautiful Rufia Perilla, whom he met when she hired him to find the ashes of her stepfather. He was not popular with emperor Tiberius, who exiled him. And the name of Perilla’s stepfather? Ovid, no more, no less. Corvinus took the difficult job of finding the famous poet’s remains, and met his charming wife in the process. Ever since then, Corvinus is involved in a series of strangest mysteries, murders, secret conspiracies and shocking alliances. In a way, he resembles famous movie character Forrest Gump, as he tends to be at the center of many important events surrounded by many influential people. Corvinus is related to Ovid, he is hired by empress Livia, he explores remains of Tiberius’ reign etc.

“Germanicus” is the second part of the “Marcus Corvinus Series”. It was published in 1997, and keeps track of Corvinus, now established detective, as he gets a grip on the new cringing case. Corvinus is summoned by Livia, the widow of the late emperor Augustus, in order to discover what became of her grandson, Germanicus. He was a great warrior and led numerous campaigns in Germania, thus earning his name. He had been considered as an ideal example of a Roman ever since. However, Germanicus died under unclarified circumstances while he was in the campaign in Asia. The official explanation was that he became a victim of a mysterious disease, nonetheless, there is a vast number of those who believe that there was some funny business regarding his death. Now, it is upon the protagonist of the novel to solve the mystery once and for all. Corvinus is no fool- he knows who Livia is and what her reputation is like. The empress was involved in several curious deaths of Roman noblemen. It is needless to say that Corvinus is not too happy to be put in charge of this case, but his love for mystery will certainly prove as a deciding factor. Nevertheless, Corvinus will find himself in the middle of deceit, and intrigues conceived by the big players and he may have bitten more than he can chew. Is there going to be a closure regarding Germanicus’ death? Is Corvinus able to defeat the adversities coming from the court?

“The Lydian Baker” is the third installment of the “Marcus Corvinus Series”. It hit bookshelves in 1998. Once again, Corvinus is hired by a member of his family. This time, his stepfather Priscus sends a letter with an interesting suggestion. Namely, the gold statue that was a gift to the Oracle of Delphi was thought to be long forgotten. Nevertheless, it emerged on the black market and there is a long list of those who would like to get a hold on that statue. One of those people is Priscus, as he sends his son to retrieve the Lydian Baker. However, things are not destined to go smoothly. A series of murders happens, as the impatience is too big, and the statue is too valuable to some to share it. First, the seller dies, and soon after the expert that confirmed the authenticity of the statue succumbs to dangerous wounds. Once again, Marcus finds himself in the ludicrous whirlwind of crime as he tries to retrieve the Lydian Baker and get out alive. It may seem as the hazard of the job to some, but Corvinus finds a way to enjoy in all of this. His quips give him strength as much as his sword.

“Marcus Corvinus Series” is another example of how historical detective fiction may be one of the unexplored fields of the genre. There is some appeal in visiting the ancient Rome, the world we all know very good, from the perspective of a private eye. And there is another dimension that adds to the reading experience- plot is based on the real people and real events. Thus, you will find yourself reading about the plotting empress Livia, who seems too far-fetched to be true, but then again, she is real person., just like Germanicus. Ovid is a real poet and having his stepdaughter marry the protagonist of the series is another interesting touch. Same goes for say “The Lydian Baker”, which was a real statue, wanted by many and possessed by few. To read Wishart’s series and not be amazed by the accuracy in the depiction of the time is rather an arduous task. A detective in ancient Rome? You had better believe it.

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