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Ovid (Marcus Corvinus, #1)
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Ovid (Marcus Corvinus #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  553 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Banished by the Emperor Augustus, the great poet Ovid was to die in exile. Years after Ovid's death, Marcus Corvinus, grandson of the poet's patron, tries to arrange for the return of his ashes to Rome for burial. When official permission is refused, Corvinus makes the dangerous mistake of asking why the Emperor has forbid it.
Paperback, 351 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Felony & Mayhem (first published 1995)
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Fairly fresh from the enjoyable Food for the Fishes, a later Marcus Corvinus mystery, I was curious about how this series began. Whoever reads any novels in this series has to accept Wishart's Roman world as is, also his deliberately anachronistic dialogue, narration, and inner monologues of Marcus, the Senatorial protagonist and narrator--a "broad-striper". Marcus is a party animal. He is not interested in pursuing the politics and promotions of the 'cursus honorem'. I liked Marcus, a wine-qu ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you like Lindsey Davis, read this series. 'Posher' central character than Falco but equally as entertaining. Also love the fact that he is a wine snob who does his best thinking in winebars
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jus a short review for Ovid as ive got to go n practice some for my book winner review which has just landed Spring Tide.... sorry... did I mention that already.... :)

Marcus Corvinus, a great character, brilliant one-liners throughout as he portrays some where between a Jack-the-lad meets arrogant playboy, think Russel Crowe on a wild day & yer somewhere close perhaps. Entertaining, good mystery that sometimes is overtly complex, if yer having an off-day, but it all comes back into play with
Simon Mcleish
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in June 2002.

This novel introduces Corvinus, who became the central character in Wishart's series of Roman detective stories. He is based on a real person, though Wishart has cut his age by about a decade and invented most of the details of his life and character. The setting is the early first century AD, during the reign of Tiberius (disrespectfully referred to by Corvinus as "the Wart").

Much of the plot is based on actual events, too; in fact, it centres a
Italo Italophiles
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first person narrator of the series is Marcus Corvinus himself, a fictionalize version of the real man. Purporting to be the vulgar, slangy Latin that we know from Ancient Roman poetry and from the scraps of novels that have survived, Corvinus's narration is joyously vulgar. The fictional conceit is that we are reading Latin that appears as English. All the English equivalents of the Roman's bawdy, rough language are used to convey that effect.

If you are a fan of the Didius Falco Series by L
Maggie Secara
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun, ancient Rome in modern vernacular. As someone said, curious people don't sound curious to each other, so the author has eschewed not only loft diction but doesn't worry about whether a word/concept would have been known to the Rome of Tiberius. He knows they would have had *something* to say about a person's behavior, and just chooses to put it in modern terms. Once you get used to it, it's okay. At the same time, his ancient Rome is really ancient Rome, with the realities of slavery, marri ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reads like a modern mystery - very good grasp of historical facts- enjoyable - buying the 2nd book in the series - that will give me a better idea of how this compares to other ancient Roman detectives
Aug 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of ancient Roman mysteries
Marcus Corvinus is a "purple striper" in the Rome of the emperor Tiberius, but he doesn't practice the profession of his class, politics. Indeed, Corvinus seems to have no particular profession except that of party-boy. That changes, though, when he meets the Lady Perilla and she engages him to bring her stepfather Ovid's ashes back from the place to which Augustus (or was it really Livia?) had exiled him and where he had spent his last days. It seems a simple enough task, but Corvinus finds tha ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book actually, has 368 pages, rather than (201 pages).

A Roman sleuth Marcus Corvinus, was requested, upon service by Lady Rufia Perilla to transfer her grandfather Ovid the (poet) ashes who was exiled for ten years at Tomi in the Black Sea for ten years. Upon, Ovid's death Lady Perilla wishes Marcus to appeal to the Emperor of Rome to bring the ashes back home.

However, there's an immense complication that Marcus did not foresee, and made him the biggest threat beyond the authority of the re
Michael Rhode
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Perfectly pleasant series, but overshadowed by Lindsay Davis' more successful one.
Ian Brydon
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been a voracious reader of crime fiction and have been particularly struck by the great explosion over the last twenty years or so in the number of historical crime novels. Some periods seem to have yielded more fertile ground than others, with the Middle Ages and then the Tudors seeming especially popular. Classical Rome has been far from fallow, too, with the Falco novels by Lindsey Davis offering a pleasing mix of historical setting, clever plots and humorous narrator.

David Wish
Some of the intricate political plotting was hard to follow--or maybe my mental powers are diminishing. Still reads like Sam Spade interpreting Latin for the hip London theatre scene, but mostly enjoyable anyway.
Marie Chartier
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting read, giving a definitively modern vibe to ancient Rome, Ovid by David Wishart is the first book of his serie featuring the character of Marcus Corvinus. Sort of playboy of the first century, young Marcus is from a rich Roman family, and thus should be on the path to become senator like his father, but, to the chagrin of the latter, there is nothing he likes more than drinking god wine and sleeping with beautiful women. When the delicious (and married) lady Perilla come to him to ...more
This is the first book in the Marcus Corvinus mystery series set in ancient Rome. Tiberius is the Emperor and Marcus is a 21 year old, patrician who is at odds with his politically wired father, and is rich, lazy and devoted to drinking. He is also a wise-ass.

The story revolves around the family of the poet Ovid, trying to get imperial permission to return Ovid's ashes to Rome for burial. Ovid was exiled to a hamlet on the Black Sea by the former Emperor Augustus for unspecified crimes. The fami
Jun 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
My beloved partner doesn't really understand why I feel the need to finish books I start, even when I'm not exactly enjoying them. And given he's been listening to me audibly groan or whimper when picking up the Kindle lately, I can't really blame him.

This is a bad, bad book. I love historical fiction, and I love Ovid. So putting them together seemed a no brainer, and I was surprised when I saw this that I'd never picked it up before. Now I strongly suspect that I actually had a decade ago and v
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-things-rome
Worth it in the end. Being an avid fan of Lindsey Davis's Falco series and nearing the end of the line with her wonderful books, I thought I would hive David Wishart's Corvonus a go to see if he would fill the impending void. Undoubtedly Falco is Wishart's inspiration but whereas Falco was born on the wrong side of the tracks, Corvinus is very much of blue-blooded stock. The plot is clever but complicated and I won't give the game away but I was surprised at how long it took me to get into the b ...more
The first in yet another Ancient Roman crime series. Here we are in the reign of Tiberius with a lot of the plot motivation coming from the reign of Augustus. A basic knowledge of the Julio Claudian dynasty is helpful and maybe even needed to keep all the various schemes straight, might be overwhelming if you are learning who Julia the Younger was along with following Wishart's plot too. What starts as a client coming to request a simple favor of returning the exile Ovid's ashes to Rome, becomes ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having read the Parthian Shot first, it was fun to go back and see Corvinus meeting his lady-love. Fun to see him as a bachelor. Looks like the first three books in the series are based on historical events, or at least characters. Interestingly, in the first book the author doesn't have Corvinus call everyone guy, and that made it easier to read for me. I do worry that while exploring the various ways the surviving evidence could be twisted to make an interesting mystery, I may be seeding my br ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Even though he's crude, rude, and proud of his efforts to be socially unacceptable, I'm looking forward to more mysteries solved by Marcus Corvinus. He's at once the archetypal wise fool, magician and trickster, with a bit of the noble lover thrown in at times. Well, maybe not, but he is a patrician, the son of a senator. His first-person account of his adventures read like a film-noir script, but one spoken with the contemporary voice of a street-smart 20-year-old who can talk plainly with ever ...more
This book was a little odd at first -- the deliberate anachronisms between the setting of the story and the way it's told are initially jarring -- but I found myself really growing attached to Marcus Corvinus and rooting for him throughout the book. In fact, I came to really enjoy the concept of a modern-day crime story (complete with contemporary dialogue and character interactions) set in ancient Rome.

It could just be that I have a soft spot for the rakish, disaffected-yet-charming type of her
L.   (Your Migraines Are Podcasts Trying To Be Produced)
Aug 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans who want Phillip Marlowe in a toga
Shelves: historical, mystery, roman
David Wishart takes a crime noir story and tries his hand at retooling it into a historical fiction noir. Marcus is the hard drinking P.I. (that's Patrician Investigator) who takes on the case of the dame with the killer gams. While surviving several attempts on his life, Marcus discovers the web of corruption goes all the way to the top.

I'm not a big fan of crime fiction which may be the main reason I didn't like this book. Wishart's writing left much to be desired.
Mark Bruce
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This could have been a much better mystery, using the poet Ovid as a suspect in a murder mystery. Alas, the fact that Ovid is involved requires damned little poetry or commentary about the perilous life of a literary lion in the Augustan age. Instead we get a rather complex and confusing tale of political intrigue which, frankly did not keep me up at night. Still, it's not a bad book. It's worth reading on a rainy day.
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and yes, you do need to keep referring back to the historical information to keep up with the political machinations, but it all comes clear at the end. I like the contemporary tone and language. I did not see anything that was anachronistic, however. Young Corvinus is a gumshoe in the style of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, complete with beautiful dames, thugs and ruffians, criminal masterminds, lots of drinking and hangovers...and of course, murder!
Corvinus is a Roman Jack-the-lad whose priorities seem to be wine, women and song. When he's asked by the stepdaughter of poet Ovid to help bring his ashes back to Rome, Corvinus gets caught up with all kinds of senate intrigue. This was okay to a certain degree but I didn't like the 'hero' at all and found the style of writing quite grating at times.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Okay Ancient Rome mystery. Too much political wrangling for my taste. The Roman aristocracy sounds and feels too much like Jolly Old England. Maybe I'll read a couple more to see if they improve--I liked the main character.
Sekhar N Banerjee
Fascinating read

Details of the Varian massacre and other related plotting are awesome. Though it is a novel, some hard historical facts have been very cleverly presented. It was a very good read.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this historical crime caper set in Ancient Rome but I didn't find it as readable as the Falco series. A bit overcomplicated, too hung up on politics and the humour overdone. I gave up with it.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A classical mystery that had a bit too much rhetorics for my taste. Less detailed 'inventio' and more of 'actio' would perhaps made it more absorbing reading. I will definitely need to read more of the series in hope they contain more of 'pathos' and 'ethos' (of 'logos' there was plenty).
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Good first in a series where I have read others. Thought it was about time to catch up on how it started
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Historical crime writer David Wishart was born in Arbroath, Scotland. He studied Classics - Latin and Greek - at Edinburgh University and after graduation taught for four years in a secondary school.

He then retrained as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and worked a
More about David Wishart

Other books in the series

Marcus Corvinus (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Germanicus (Marcus Corvinus, #2)
  • Sejanus (Marcus Corvinus, #3)
  • The Lydian Baker (Marcus Corvinus, #4)
  • Old Bones (Marcus Corvinus, #5)
  • Last Rites (Marcus Corvinus, #6)
  • White Murder (Marcus Corvinus, #7)
  • A Vote for Murder (Marcus Corvinus, #8)
  • Parthian Shot (Marcus Corvinus, #9)
  • Food for the Fishes (Marcus Corvinus, #10)
  • In at the Death (Marcus Corvinus, #11)
“My tongue tasted like a gladiator's jockstrap [Marcus Corvinus after a night out]” 0 likes
“the emperor had chewed off his balls and stuffed a one-way ticket to the Black Sea up his rectum [Marcus Corvinus explains what happened to Ovid]” 0 likes
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