Monday, March 26, 2018

"The Bone Shroud" by Jean Rabe

Irem Madigan, a museum archivist from Chicago is visiting Rome to attend her brother Levant’s wedding. Levant has fallen in love with and is marrying an Archaeologist who is a good deal older than he is. Irem doesn’t approve of the age difference between Lev & Benito, but the love they share is quite evident to all around them.

Benito is on the verge of finding the resting place of Attila the Hun, a discovery that will make him famous. Seeing the interest this discovery generates in Irem, Benito invites her down to the dig site, sharing the discoveries he and his two assistants have made so far. They believe a funeral wrap (the bone shroud) to be an elaborate map leading to Attila's (and potentially other) grave sites.

There have already been several deaths associated with this find, and after seeing Benito in the midst of a questionable deal with a man who had appeared to be following them, someone tries to shoot Irem. She can only assume that the reason for the attempt on her life was her having just witnessed Benito making some sort of shady deal that she wasn’t supposed to have seen. Lev and Benito plan to take only their wedding day off, for Benito must finish his dig and find Attila’s grave before someone else deciphers the clues hidden in the bone shroud and finds the “Scourge of God” first, but what kind of man is her brother about to marry?

This was a fascinating story with a number twists in the plot. I don’t speak or read Italian, but I loved the way it was included in the text and speech patterns of the characters. After all, with the story taking place in Rome, Irem will regularly be faced with those speaking Italian, and who may or may not also speak English. It is the little touches like this that truly draw one into the story and hold a reader completely entranced.

This book was well written with very few typos. I don’t know if this will be a standalone novel or if it will be the first book in a new series, but either way I would highly recommend it. I very much enjoyed reading it and didn’t want to put it down to sleep at night. I didn’t even come close to figuring out what was really happening in many of the plot twists in this story, though I did enjoy trying to guess. If you like mysteries, you won’t want to miss this one.

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