By: David Cord
The second work by David Cord, Dead Romans is a three part work centered around the ancient town of Ephesus in 166 AD. Semi-connected stories comprise the three parts of this book and center around a diverse group of figures from different casts, trades and personalities. Cord provides the reader with a graphic account of what life was like for the inhabitants of this coastal town when the Roman Army, returning from the Parthian War brings the Antonine plague along with them. No aspect of life in 166 AD is left uncovered and much detail or time is devoted to the aspects or differences among the casts. From slave, to freeman, the wealthy to the ruling classes are all present and interrelated in Dead Romans.
Cord caught me off guard with this work. I expected it to be much more about this history and the events of the times but it was very much about the figures and their more personal stories. The three stories were expertly inter-twinned, interdependent, and wrapped up in each other. From clandestine relationships and rendezvous, to greed and lust, this work continues to reveal snippets as it winds through the streets and houses of Ephesus. There were parts of this work that were in my opinion graphic or overly sexual. I was surprised at the number of sexual relations that were described. While this was not in line with my personal taste, they did help to further the story a bit and reveal more about the characters, their struggles, and lives.
Overall, Dead Romans by David Cord is a well written work that testifies to Cord’s creativity and knowledge of this chapter of ancient history. It makes a good read for any reader who enjoys the life and trials of ancient times. David Cord has published one work previous to Dead Romans and is already working on his third novel. You can find more information about him and his other works both past and future at www.davidcord.com