Ravenna, 618 AD.
The Byzantine Empire is losing its war with Persia. Syria and Egypt are occupied. The Balkans are lost. Italy is going, one bite at a time, to the Lombards. The Catholic Church is already an independent power.
At 15, Rodi is the youngest agent in the Byzantine secret service.
He's in Ravenna to find dirt on an Exarch suspected of having his hand in the till.
His mission goes exactly to plan - until a freak accident leads to murder and the uncovering of a plot no one in Constantinople had thought possible.
Who are the men who killed the Exarch's secretary?
Why are they openly at large in Ravenna?
What is the encrypted letter Rodi found in the Exarch's office?
Why is every one of the rival courts on the Italian peninsula so eager to lay hands on it?
And can Rodi manage to stay alive in the snake pit of Italian politics...?
This is a story of blood and espionage that takes you from the canals and squares of mediaeval Ravenna, to the Lombard capital in Pavia, where the distinction between barbarian and Roman seems to be blurring by the day into a common Italian nationhood.
Death in Ravenna is a thrilling historical novella, perfect for fans of Simon Scarrow, Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. It follows on from 'Game of Empires'.
Praise for Richard Blake:
"Fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot and I enjoyed it very much." Derek Jacobi, star of I Claudius and Gladiator
"Vivid characters, devious plotting and buckets of gore are enhanced by his unfamiliar choice of period... . Nasty, fun and educational." The Daily Telegraph
"He knows how to deliver a fast-paced story and his grasp of the period is impressively detailed." The Mail on Sunday
"A rollicking and raunchy read . . . Anyone who enjoys their history with large dollops of action, sex, intrigue and, above all, fun will absolutely love this novel." Historical Novels
"It would be hard to over-praise this extraordinary series, a near-perfect blend of historical detail and atmosphere with the plot of a conspiracy thriller, vivid characters, high philosophy and vulgar comedy." The Morning Star
Richard Blake is a historian, broadcaster and university lecturer. He lives in Kent with his wife and daughter.
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Used availability for Richard Blake's Death in Ravenna
March 2016 : Paperback
August 2015 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition