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Search the Seven Hills: The Quirinal Affair

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  159 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
In ancient Rome, a poor philosopher races to rescue his kidnapped lover before she is abused by the sinister Christian cult

The son of a wealthy Roman family, Marcus gave up the prestige and riches that were his birthright to devote himself to philosophy. His noble mind attracted Tullia, a Senator’s daughter whose father wanted her to have nothing to do with the penniless
ebook, 309 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published 1983)
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When I first started reading SF/F, Barbara Hambly quickly became one of my favorite authors, and her Windrose Chronicles in particular I reread every year. So I was excited to find that she'd also written a mystery set in Ancient Rome. I love Rome! Awesome! But... it didn't really work for me.

The book has a great premise and setup: Here in the time of Trajan, Marcus Silanus, a noble young philosopher-in-training, is not so secretly in love with Tullia, who is betrothed to a rich Syrian merchant.
I've been looking for this book for ages - it is one of the few by Hambly that I hadn't read - so was very excited to see that it was now available as an ebook on the Kindle. However I just couldn't really warm to it. The first thing that threw me out of the book was the romance between Marcus and Tullia who is abducted - it just didn't come across for me. Secondly they were supposed to be childhood playmates but there was a six year age gap which again didn't work for me. Thirdly I just didn't ...more
Hambly shows that she has a broader range than Fantasy. This historical novel pokes about in the complex religious/political world of ancient Rome.
Well... I love this author and her historical mysteries, but this seems like a very early effort, and it's not a patch on either Lindsey Davis or Steven Saylor. The descriptions of the early Roman Christians... eh.
I found it kinda slow starting, and in fact read several books between starting this and finishing it. But eventually I got far enough that the inherent readability of Barbara Hambly kicked in.

I will say that at first I thought it was a more recent book with a subtext about the current state of religious intolerance in America, but, no, it's from 1983.

Ok, but not exactly my cup of tea.
Dec 29, 2014 D. rated it it was amazing
Reread this book after more than 20 years and I think I liked it even more. Fascinating view of this time in history.
Mar 31, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
decent historical mystery/suspense
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

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