Ben Pastor is an Italian author of historical fiction and mystery novels. She writes the Martin Bora series. Ben Pastor was born and grew up in Rome, but spent thirty years living and working in the United States as a university professor. She writes in English, but her novels have been translated and published in Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Ben Pastor made her debut as a novelist in 1999 with the novel Lumen. Below is a list of Ben Pastor’s books in order of when they were first released:

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Publication Order of Aelius Spartianus Books

The Water Thief (2007)Description / Buy at
The Fire Waker (2008)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Captain Martin Bora Books

Lumen (1999)Description / Buy at
Liar Moon (2001)Description / Buy at
A Dark Song of Blood (2002)Description / Buy at
Tin Sky (2015)Description / Buy at
The Road to Ithaca (2017)Description / Buy at
The Horseman’s Song (2019)Description / Buy at
The Night of Shooting Stars (2020)Description / Buy at
The Venus of Salo (2024)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Anthologies

Fourteenth Annual Collection(2001)Description / Buy at

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Ben Pastor Synopsis: The Water Thief by Ben Pastor is the first Aelius Spartianus novel. In 304 CE, Aelius Spartianus, officer and historian at the court of Diocletian in Dalmatia, is writing the biographies of past Roman rulers, including Hadrian, who has been dead for nearly 175 years. Aelius’s particular charge is to investigate the unsolved mystery of the drowning death in the Nile of Hadrian’s favourite, young Antinous. Soon his duty turns twofold: the hunt for Antinous’s grave, supposed to conceal proof of a conspiracy against Rome, and the murder of a wealthy army supplier and his servant. The mystery thickens as deaths pile up; scholarly work turns into a race against time and into a confrontation with risk, lies, and half-truths at the hands of priests, authorities, and former colleagues. While the trials against Christians (later known as the Great Persecution) inflame Egypt, Aelius gathers clues in odd places until his road leads inescapably to Rome. Joined in his search by a blind retired soldier who is well experienced in counterespionage, Aelius scavenges for evidence in a world capital in decline. From Rome his breathless trail takes him to Hadrian’s country estate, which is now acres and acres of monumental ruins in the wilderness. In the haunted stillness of roofless halls and overgrown gardens, Aelius deciphers the great plan of the villa, an astronomical chart confirming how the danger against Rome is clear and imminent. But who is behind it all? How deadly close is danger? In order to save the state and himself, Aelius must solve not only the puzzle of Antinous’s drowning, but also the murders that have marred his path.

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