A twenty-first-century doctor. A third-century plague. A love out of time.
While exploring the haunting cave at her father’s archaeological dig, Lisbeth falls through a hidden hole, awakening to find herself the object of a slave auction and the ruins of Roman Carthage inexplicably restored to a thriving metropolis. Is it possible that she’s traveled back in time, and, if so, how can she find her way back home?
Cyprian Thascius believes God called him to rescue the mysterious woman from the slave trader’s cell. What he doesn’t understand is why saving the church of his newfound faith requires him to love a woman whose peculiar ways could get him killed. But who is he to question God?
As their different worlds collide, it sparks an intense attraction that unites Lisbeth and Cyprian in a battle against a deadly epidemic. Even as they confront persecution, uncover buried secrets, and ignite the beginnings of a medical revolution, Roman wrath threatens to separate them forever. Can they find their way to each other through all these obstacles? Or are the eighteen hundred years between them too far of a leap?
Healer of Carthage is the first in the new historical series by new author Lynne Gentry, not that it reads like a debut novel. This is the story of a doctor who, while investigating her mother’s disappearance 23 years previously, falls down the proverbial rabbit hole. When she comes to her senses, she finds she’s about to be sold to the arrogant and lecherous regional governor. She’s eventually bought, however, by another man of standing in the city but she doesn’t see it as an escape. Instead, she plans to get away at the first opportunity. Naturally, those plans come to nothing.
It was fascinating to learn that Cyprian did exist in third century Carthage, as did some of the other Christians in the city. I’d not heard of Saint Cyprian before, so I researched him before going deep into the novel. What I discovered influenced my expectations for this novel. I wanted to skip to the end so I could see how certain events played out. Gentry has taken some liberties with the life of Cyprian, but some condense the time frame while at least one is essential to furthering the plot.
Although initially slow to start, Healer of Carthage does pick up once Lisbeth lands in ancient Carthage. It was fascinating to read about improvisational medicine and plausible in that not everyone survived. Some aspects do sound contrived, such as Lisbeth conveniently landing in Carthage (when she began her time travel in a different country) and being able to speak the language needed to communicate with Cyprian and others. Characters such as Laurentius, the young man with Down-syndrome, shine. The proconsul, Aspasius, will make your skin crawl. I found myself getting deeper and deeper into this novel, wondering how it would end. Sadly, I could only find myself exclaiming, “WHAT??” after getting to the final page. It ends on a cliffhanger!
Thank you to Howard Books for my complimentary copy of Healer of Carthage, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read Healer of Carthage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: 04 March 2014
Page Count: 416