“On the Waterfront, Cleopatra style.”
That’s Barbara Peters’ elevator pitch for Disappearance of a Scribe, the second Eye of Isis novel.
Gaius Aurelius Cotta, legate of Rome to the Court of Egypt and Alexandria, cousin to Gaius Julius Caesar himself, was very much at his leisure, sprawled comfortably in the room’s most substantial chair. He bore a superficial likeness to his cousin, with more hair. The real resemblance came from the fact that both were soldiers. Both men were at fighting weight, both never left home without a gladius strapped to one hip and a long knife to the other, and both studied a style of civilian dress that facilitated an ease of movement and the ability to hide any blood spilled during the day.
Of course, Cotta was made instantly identifiable by the scar on the left side of his forehead, inflicted by the downstroke of a sword held by an Arveni chieftain, a blow it was said had been meant for Caesar and that had been deliberately taken instead by Cotta. No attempt had been made to hide it, as Cotta had his hair clipped as close to his skull as Apollodorus did his. His tunic was knee length and belted beneath a toga draped over one shoulder and one arm in the approved Roman style. His sandals were serviceable. He wore a small signet ring on his right forefinger. Tetisheri couldn’t see the device on it from the door.
Bast was in residence in a chair opposite, delicately occupied with a thorough washing of her left front paw.
“Ah, lady,” Cotta said in Latin, rising to his feet and gazing with warm appreciation on her face. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me as I descend upon you without warning.” His gaze traveled her from head to toe and back again, the glint of admiration in his eyes plain. “I see that I find you in your usual excellent health.”
She inclined her head. “Aurelius Cotta.”
He took no notice of the frost on her greeting, but then he was adept at not noticing things he did not want to see. “Please, join me for a moment in this most pleasant room. Allow me to pour you some of this excellent fruit punch your servant brought to me here.”
She perched next to Bast, the straightness of her spine rivaling Nike’s own, and accepted a glass made of a thin, translucent alabaster that showed off the rich red of the juice to advantage.
“A cake? No? Ah well, you ladies are always looking after your figures. We soldiers require fuel and I must say these little cakes are a most delicious means of taking it on. You must prevail upon your cook to share the recipe with mine.”
Tetisheri sipped her juice and thought dark thoughts about Nike, and darker thoughts about Cotta, who dared to act as host in a home not his own.
Pre-order a copy of the signed first edition hardcover here. Barbara asks that you do it in advance so she can order enough books. That is a woman who hates running out of books.
Covid willing, I will launch the book in person at the store on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at 2pm. Hope to see you there!
Download the first novel in the series, Death of an Eye, here.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.