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Get Out or Die    by Jane Finnis Amazon.com order for
Get Out or Die
by Jane Finnis
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's 91 AD in Roman Britain, when Aurelia Marcella finds a brutally beaten man lying outside her mansio Oak Tree a traveler's inn. Pinned to the corpse's tunic is a message 'Get Out or Die'. Seems as though the natives with their blue-painted faces want the Romans to go back where they came from. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Aurelia is sure there is more to this attack than first meets the eye. Then other men are beheaded and left with the same message. Life moves on precariously at best.

The historical theme of Get Out or Die is presented with skill so much so that one almost expects to see one's neighbors moving about in tunics. I found it fascinating but I wanted more than a history lesson. The story moved slowly at first, setting the stage for action that waited just beyond my reach. Just as I was about to yawn, things started happening that swept away my earlier doubts and I was carried along with fast-moving events. Treachery abounds, mayhem becomes commonplace, and Aurelia proves she is a match for any man.

I liked the characters, Aurelia especially. She's a woman after my own heart, strong willed, ready to face her fears, resilient, while at the same time exhibiting favorable feminine characteristics. However Aurelia's half-sister Albia never seemed to emerge as a main character; I could never quite picture her. Overall, the historical detail easily places the reader in each scene and it is no problem to envision the action as it flows to a very exciting ending of this author's first novel.

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