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December AD 192 The oldest bonds are the hardest severed.
When Fabio’s aunt Lucretia flexes her match-making muscles, he seeks escape from a marriage to shy, bored Adriane. Luckily, his friend Petros needs help investigating a possible rebellion in Vademlutra. All Fabio has to do is pretend to be poor and keep his wits about him. Certain there’s nothing to investigate, Fabio settles down for a week in the tavern until a lost young woman in the woods captivates him. Where is she from and why is she so keen to die?
Unaware of Fabio’s whereabouts, Lucretia has her own reasons for being in Vademlutra. Hoping to enjoy a little flirting and a lot of money-making, she’s about to meet her match on both fronts and must scheme more than ever if she has any chance of keeping what’s rightfully hers.
As the town is cut off by snow, Dun the erstwhile grave-robber becomes convinced that diversifying was a bad idea. But it takes an unexpected death to reveal a decades-old web of deceit and manipulation which threatens to engulf the whole town and make Adriane find enough courage to become involved.
Who is behind the rebellion? And if they have blood on their hands, who is the next victim?
As Roman Saturnalia passes and the darker traditions of winter solstice approach, Fabio, Petros, Adriane and Dun must put aside their differences and work together to save not only another life but the whole town from Roman retribution.