Well, the Fall semester has started and all of my classes are online! What does this mean? Well, I have a fair amount of free time on my hands, in between checking the online system, directing student discussions, and taking care of grading. Ideally, I will use at least some of this time wisely on projects I have been meaning to do – like new silk banners.
Of course I’m still reading!
I just finished (today, in fact) The Ides of April, by Lindsey Davis. I’ve read Ms. Davis’s work for quite some time as she has a long series of books set in 1st century AD Rome, set around the adventures of an “informer” – basically a Roman private investigator. Now it seems that she has sent Falco to his retirement (he seems to have taken over his father’s auction business) and the business of investigating crimes on the Aventine Hill is being taken up by his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia. It’s been a while since the last book and we find that Flavia is nearly 30 and widowed, living in Falco’s old apartment on Fountain Court. The author’s style is as familiar as always, though now we have the different perspective of a young woman in what is largely a male-dominated society. Flavia is no pushover, though, and is able to make her way more or less in the absence of her father. I’ll look forward to the next book as I have with this author in the past!
Departing from the ancient world, I picked up The Deep Zone, by James M. Tabor. This is a thoroughly modern mystery/adventure set in the world of microbiology, killer microbes, and cave exploration. Microbiologist Hallie Leland, fired from her job at a semi-secret government laboratory, is called back to help combat a new outbreak of a terribly lethal bacteria among American soldiers in Afghanistan. The story is a fast-paced chase to recover more of a potential cure from a mysterious cave in Mexico, in lands hotly contested by the Mexican army and the narco traffickers of the area. There’s plenty of danger, a little romance potential, and plenty of betrayal and surprise to keep this one going. Tabor has a second novel out featuring the same characters, so I’ll be picking that one up from the library soon.
Finally, I started this round with Simon Scarrow’s third “Eagle” novel, When the Eagle Hunts. Centurion Macro and his Optio Cato are still part of the Roman army invading Britain in the winter of AD44. Struggling to survive and tasked to recover the kidnapped wife and children of their commanding general, Macro and Cato set off into the British wilderness with a pair of local guides – a prince of one of the numerous tribes and a young lady named Boudica whom Macro had been romancing somewhat before the adventure starts. Is this the famed Boudica who will lead an uprising against the Roman invaders? We’ll have to read further to find out! Once again, these books are a fun and easy read – good, basic adventure!