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Rubies of the Viper

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  244 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
When her brother is murdered in first-century Rome, Theodosia Varro inherits the family estate, going from poverty and isolation to great wealth and a prestigious position in society. Unfortunately, she lives in a time and a place that deny women of her class the very things she most desires: personal freedom and self-determination. Only by identifying her brother's killer ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 (first published March 14th 2009)
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Robert Davidson
Jan 08, 2011 Robert Davidson rated it it was amazing
Whether it is due to a natural talent of the author or is the result of hours of re-working, honing & polishing, The Rubies of the Viper, peopled with highly believable scenes and characters, presents an excellent read and several hours of pure escapist enjoyment. Theodosia, the protagonist, forms an immediate rapport with the reader as we share her innermost thoughts, reactions and confidences as she seeks to unmask her brother’s killer, to avoid a similar fate, during a period of the early ...more
Alice Yeh
Jan 04, 2012 Alice Yeh rated it it was ok
In a Rome shortly set to fall under the infamous Nero's rule, Theodosia Varro has come into an fortuitous inheritance. All is not as it seems, however, as her good luck came at the cost of her half-brother's murder. Caught up in social intrigue and the struggles of a wealthy woman without any real male support, she soon learns the true value of life and freedom.

The story starts out with an interesting, if improbable, premise: a man is murdered, and somehow his estranged half-sister is able to ta
Judith Starkston
Rubies of the Viper is a genuine gem of a mystery set in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Claudius and Nero. It’s full of exciting suspense and beautifully developed characters. Marks’s rich portrayal of Roman life is delightful and gruesome in turns—just as a good Roman mystery ought to be. We get the grace, the violence and the perversion that was imperial society revealed through a spell-binding tale.

The heroine is a fictional woman named Theodosia Varro, who at the opening of the nove
Jul 03, 2012 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle
This isn't awful. It just ... isn't very good. But I finished it, despite growing irritation, so it gets two stars for that.

All the way through, I kept thinking that Marks should have set it in 18th-century Europe. The story would have worked perfectly there. It was just implausible in various different ways for imperial Rome. And even the author seems to forget what era she's set it in sometimes. At one point:
Alexander walked to the window, where he watched the rain hit the panes.

Come on ... ev
Aug 02, 2012 Loretta rated it it was amazing
This proved to be an unputdownable book. Some critics have said it seems improbable that a young Roman woman would inherit a rich estate but nothing whatsoever is improbable in life. There are countless cases of documented historical happenings where strange things occur out of the prevailing norm. The point of an exciting story is that it tells us something new, different and thought-provoking. This story is told in rich detail and knowledge of the period, the characters, both historically real ...more
M. Locke
Jan 06, 2011 M. Locke rated it it was amazing
Rubies of the Viper is a fast-paced, suspenseful and romantic historical novel by Martha Marks, and a totally satisfying read. Set primarily in Rome at the time of Emperor Nero, Rubies of the Viper tells the story of Theodosia, a young single woman without family to guide or protect her when she suddenly inherits her family fortune at the death of her half-brother. The mystery surrounding that brother’s death, the confusion of competing suitors, the secrets surrounding her own background, the ma ...more
Wendy Bertsch
Jan 03, 2011 Wendy Bertsch rated it really liked it
In 53 AD, the property of wealthy Roman women was controlled by their husbands . . . fathers . . . brothers. They had no independence at all. But what might happen if the surviving member of a patrician family was an unmarried female, and half Greek as well? This book is about such a young woman.

The strong-willed, impetuous Theodosia creates many of her own problems, but she faces them with courage and resilience, and I had to admire her spunk.

Full of action, plot twists and romance, it gripped
M. Myers
Apr 13, 2012 M. Myers rated it it was amazing
Wow! I decided to nibble just a couple of pages of RUBIES OF THE VIPERto decide what I wanted to read next after tacking some more responsible reading I need to do. It seduced me with the first page and all hopes of responsibility went out the window. It is really, really good, and very visual -- much like watching Masterpiece Theatre. Set in first century Rome, it weaves fascinating historical details through the mystery without slowing its pace.
Sep 19, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-mystery
It's pretty hard to pull of the first century. To give it the suspense treatment? Nigh on impossible. Marks pulls it off with Rubies of the Viper. She makes the decadence and despair among patrician and slaves of Rome disconcertingly and deliciously familiar.
I'm actually reviewing this for the second time, and I'm doing this for two reasons. The first is, after taking some time to think about what I wrote, I knew what I had written was not only harsh but just plain rude, and to Ms. Marks, I apologize for that. It wasn't really a review but more or less me just venting. The second reason is, I was so focused on all the negatives I barely mentioned any positives.

I still don't like some of the decisions Theodosia makes, my biggest annoyance being her d
Jan 25, 2015 Anna rated it did not like it
I remember reading this last summer when I was in France. I had not been allowed to bring any books as the previous year I had packed seven books and it made the suitcase so heavy that the case broke and the tomes came crashing down, right onto my father's foot. My mother told me to bring my Kindle instead to avoid the previous calamity, so I did.
I downloaded this book with, admittedly, high expectations.
So, let me set the scene for you.
Boiling hot weather which burnt your skin so painfully that
Feb 09, 2017 Megan-Elise rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
The prose in the book is quite well written, but then the main character opens her mouth and it all goes out the window. The main character is obnoxious and vain in a way I don't think the author intended her to be.
The plot is interesting enough, but not enough to save the book from the main character.

I stopped reading this book halfway through just because it wasn't able to keep me engaged, and then forced myself to finish it. I'm not convinced that was a good idea.
Jul 12, 2013 Leann rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book is much better than its cover, which doesn't look very professional. (Yes, I judge books by covers. Can't help it.) The writing, from a technical perspective, is one of the better I've read in any free Kindle downlod, and I enjoyed the historic detail the author wove into the story, even if at other times it felt like some things wouldn't have happened that way in that time. The relationship portions of the book were handled much better than the mystery elements, which I didn't find to ...more
Sep 08, 2013 Donna rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating book! From page one I was hooked, the cast of characters were amazing and seem to grow right off the pages. I was so drawn into the plot and into Theodosia's life, her loss felt like mine and when things blew up near the end I felt like I was sitting next to her in just as much pain. As things progressed and she saw Stefan and Alexander again near the end the explosion of emotions was unbelievable. Of course the hatred for Otho that ran through out most of the book kept thing ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
The characters in Rubies achieve the rare status of being "real," easy to imagine fully, and sympathetic.

Characters are the core of a story for me. If the author doesn't get that part right, the rest just doesn't matter, which is why I have such a problem with so many movies these days, that give all their attention to action at the expense of character development. If you don't really care what happens to a character, what good is all that exciting action?

Rubies goes on to achieve a believable
Nov 09, 2013 liirogue rated it it was ok
I've got mixed feelings about this one. Parts of it were really interesting, and other parts seem to drag on forever. I found myself frustrated with the main character, Theodesia. I don't feel like I ever really got her know her, other than as a naive, easily-manipulated young woman. I don't see the appeal she presented to the other characters in the novel.

I actually wish this story had been told from Alexander's viewpoint. There is a relatively brief section in the last half of the book that is
Dec 19, 2011 Kelsey rated it really liked it
A good read. I enjoyed the plot and the characters, although at times I was frustrated with the main character, Theodosia, and her inability to see the bigger picture (I kept having to remember she was only 19 at the start of the book). I also enjoyed the author's notes on the history at the end as well.

*My original review said the book was 1000 pages, as it was on my E-book. Apparently in paperback it's only 336! So never mind the length, I'm not sure what version I downloaded!
Jul 09, 2012 Cheri rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
Recommended to Cheri by: Mary Louisa Locke
Intense. Rich. Vivid. All the way through this momentous read, these were the words that kept coming to mind. If you love immersive historical fiction that will grab you by the jugular and not let go until you've devoured the last page, this novel is for you. The characters, the sights, smells and sounds--Marks' Rubies of the Viper will take you to an unforgettable time and place and remind you of just how far we've come as a society and how far we have yet to go. A remarkable work!
Jan 31, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
If you like historical fiction of the ancient Rome variety, this one is for you. Perhaps not great literature but it does keep you turning the pages (or tapping them, like me, if you are using a Kindle)right up to the end.
Jan 17, 2013 Staci rated it really liked it
I am generally not a fan of novels set in ancient Rome and had concerns about my ability to finish this book but what a pleasant surprise! The story is fast paced, characters are well developed and the plot is enjoyable. I am looking forward to the author's next novel.
Jul 14, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction book on ancient Rome. It had great historical detail and the plot moved quickly. Some of it was a little predictable but I really enjoyed this novel. A must read for anyone who loves historical fiction on ancient Rome.
Sep 01, 2011 Katy rated it did not like it
I just kept feeling queasier and dirtier the more I read. The start was ok and then degenerated into lusting after some male slave, flirting with another, getting assaulted, ew ew ew. I stopped halfway (which is unusual for me). Ew.
Jan 17, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it
At first I didn't think I'd like this book, but I pressed on and found it to be a really good read. I've never ventured into books or stories back in the Roman Empire, but I'm glad I did. Enjoyed very much!
May 31, 2013 Joy rated it it was ok
Slow....and hard to like the protagonist.
Erin Germain
I was really looking forward to this, but I just couldn't seem to care about the characters enough. They didn't seem to really belong to the time period, which was a shame.
Anna Bell
Jan 19, 2013 Anna Bell rated it liked it
Its not bad as these things go. It isn't intended to be history bit is close.enough if you don't look too hard. I enjoyed it.
Dec 21, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but too long

This book was really good, but it was very very long. The book is very well written. You'll fall in love with the characters.
Julie  Bergan Abraham
Jul 30, 2011 Julie Bergan Abraham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ancient Rome, Mystery, and romance buffs
A fun summer read. I didn't always like the main character, but her hero was my ideal man: smart, funny, and completely devoted to her!
Aug 02, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free
A well-written and interesting historical mystery.
Kilian Metcalf
Jan 12, 2013 Kilian Metcalf rated it did not like it
I couldn't connect with the settings, the plot, or the characters, so I am putting the book aside. Maybe another time.
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Martha is the author of RUBIES OF THE VIPER, a romantic-suspense/mystery novel set in first-century Rome (rated an average of 4.5 stars by 60+ reviewers on Amazon).

She's currently writing the sequel, THE VIPER AMULET, and plans one more novel in the series, tentatively entitled THE RUBY RING.

Visit her blog, The Purple Parchment:
More about Martha Marks...

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