The Water Thief by Ben Pastor

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



In 304 c.e. Aelius Spartianus, officer and historian at the court of Diocletian in Dalmatia, is writing the biographies of past Roman rulers, including Hadrian, who has been dead for nearly 175 years. Aelius's particular charge is to investigate the unsolved mystery of the drowning death in the Nile of Hadrian's favorite, young Antinous.
Soon his duty turns twofold: the hunt for Antinous's grave, supposed to conceal proof of a conspiracy against Rome, and the murder of a wealthy army supplier and his servant. The mystery thickens as deaths multiply; scholarly work turns into a race against time and into a confrontation with risk, lies, and half-truths at the hands of priests, authorities, and former colleagues. While the trials against Christians (later known as the Great Persecution) inflame Egypt, Aelius gathers clues in odd places until his road leads inescapably to Rome.
Joined in his search by a blind retired soldier who is well experienced in counterespionage, Aelius scavenges for evidence in a world capital in decline. From Rome his breathless trail takes him to Hadrian's country estate, which is now acres and acres of monumental ruins in the wilderness. In the haunted stillness of roofless halls and overgrown gardens, Aelius deciphers the great plan of the villa, an astronomical chart confirming how the danger against Rome is clear and imminent. But who is behind it all? How deadly close is danger? In order to save the state and himself, Aelius must solve not only the puzzle of Antinous's drowning, but also the murders that have marred his path.
Internationally renowned and critically acclaimed author Ben Pastor brings her thematic skill to bear in this new historical mystery. International Praise for the Works of Ben Pastor
"History blends with absolute perfection to personal story, and the novel is like an orchestral score, with pages of rare evocative power. It is narrative one reads with admiration and even devotion."
---La Stampa Turrolibri on Kaputt Mundi
"The mystery plot develops within a perfectly wrought historical milieu. . . . A novel of great emotional impact."
---Il Giorno on The Horseman's Song
"Along with Margaret Doody and Elizabeth George, Ben Pastor is considered one of the strongest female voices of today's mystery writing. Her investigative tales show a breathless rhythm, a perfect blend of action thriller and authorial narrative."
---La Repubblica on The Dead in the Square
"Pastor's plot is well crafted, her prose sharp."
---Publishers Weekly on Lumen

About Ben Pastor

See more books from this Author
Ben Pastor was born in Rome, but her career as a college teacher and writer requires that she divide her time between the United States and Italy, where she is now doing research. Author of the internationally acclaimed Martin Bora war mysteries, she begins with Aelius Spartianus a new series of thrilling tales. In addition to the United States, her novels are published in Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Published February 6, 2007 by Minotaur Books. 368 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Water Thief

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

To crack this ice-cold case, Aelius journeys to Egypt, where he encounters old friends, old enemies and an old conspiracy that has lost none of its power to unsettle the Empire.

| Read Full Review of The Water Thief

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

304, the historian Aelius Spartianus steps into a conspiracy spanning centuries in Pastor's satisfyingly convoluted historical, which ranges from Egypt to the villas and back alleys of imperial Rome.

| Read Full Review of The Water Thief

Ben Pastor's THE WATER THIEF is set in AD 304 and features historian Aelius Spartianus, a former Roman soldier and current historian to Diocletian.

| Read Full Review of The Water Thief

Reader Rating for The Water Thief

An aggregated and normalized score based on 11 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review