Traveling to Alexandria in 48 b.c. in hope of curing his Egyptian wife’s illness, Gordianus the Finder learns once more that “these days, no place is safer than any other.”
Just as the Roman ship is about to make port in Bethesda’s native land so that she can bathe in the healing waters of the Nile, it’s surrounded by a fleet commandeered by Pompey the Great, who swore in A Mist of Prophecies (2002) to see Gordianus dead. Though Pompey’s wife Cornelia offers the aging investigator a vial of poison to protect him from her husband’s torture, his troubles are only beginning. He’ll witness the bloody aftermath of Pompey’s own landfall and the vanishing of Bethesda from a temple of Isis. Later, the arrival of Julius Caesar, who plans to impose a Roman peace on Egypt by choosing its ruler from between feuding siblings Ptolemy and Cleopatra, will put Gordianus and Meto, the adopted son he’d disowned for his uncritical loyalty to the First Consul, on the spot when an amphora of wine intended for Caesar and Cleopatra is poisoned, and the evidence seems to point conclusively to Meto. To exonerate him, Gordianus will have to extricate himself from high-tension political rivalries and do what he does best: discover the truth.
Expert mystery-mongering closely woven into a pageant featuring the most star-studded cast imaginable. Fans of the historical mystery couldn’t do better.