The Etruscan Connection

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
268 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Velma Lang for Readers' Favorite

Did he fall or was he pushed? So begins Dick Rosano’s mystery, The Etruscan Connection, on the Italian coast. Darren Priest is informed that an archaeologist died on a dig. He and his partner, Alana, a Viennese cop, head to the ancient remains of Etruscan civilization. Their investigation reveals that Charlie died on the site of a cache of coins, which may be evidence of a Lydian tribe from Turkey colonizing the region before the Etruscans. Darren thus encounters archaeologists, Turkish diggers, government officials, coin collectors, and traders whose interest in the coins is suspicious. At intervals, the reader accompanies Tyrrhenus on his mythical voyage from ancient Turkey to the western coast of Italy. This journey connects us to the ancient Lydian king, Croesus. What was the curse of Croesus that may have caused three deaths? Can Darren uncover the murderer or will the curse be the only answer?

The Etruscan Connection combines the magical ambiance of the Amalfi Coast, the cultural conflict over ancient treasures, and the perilous journey of times past. Overall lies the mythical cloud of the curse of archaeological digs where those who dig come to mysterious ends. Dick Rosano provides a plethora of details about ancient Italy and Turkey which educate the reader and establish solid motivations for the characters’ actions. The characters are lively and animated as they enjoy food and wine and informative discussion. This is a romantic, historical setting with intrigue that offsets the wealth of archaeological information. This well-executed, intriguing mystery with a twist at the end deserves applause.

K.C. Finn

The Etruscan Connection is a work of fiction in the historical and mystery genres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Dick Rosano. The book follows an investigation into the potential murder of a scientist at an archaeological dig in Tuscany, and quickly escalates into a race against time with the whole modern world at stake should they fail. As the two detectives Priest and Weber investigate the crime, they come to understand that the work of the scientist was seeking to undermine some of the cornerstones of modern understanding of the ancient world, but is that enough motive for murder?

The Etruscan Connection is a highly engaging historical fiction novel. One of my favourite things about this novel was the scene descriptions, which I felt particularly highlighted the author’s talent for vivid imagery that draws you into a realistic and immersive world. The characters in the book all felt three dimensional, with their own unique quirks and flaws which made it easy to connect with each of them and feel empathy towards them and their respective journeys. Author Dick Rosano’s passion for wine, food and travel clearly shines through in the work, quite literally adding depth and flavor to the setting, and making it even more tempting to enter this world and not want to leave. The suspense and mystery that flow through the story add intrigue and excitement, keeping you gripped from the very first page. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Etruscan Connection to fans of historical fiction, and engaging and well thought out mysteries.

Grant Leishman

When Darren Priest, a former U.S. Intelligence officer, and his girlfriend, Alana Weber, a Belgian police officer, are holidaying at a luxurious villa in Italy, their trip is interrupted by Darren’s old friend, Aggie, who is working on an archaeological dig not far from them. In The Etruscan Connection by Dick Rosano, a noted archaeologist has died at the dig under mysterious circumstances. Darren and Alana decide to visit the site to see if their experience can shed any light on the mysterious death of the professor. What they discover is a site whose findings have the potential to change the scientific community’s perspective of how the Roman Empire came about. When physical evidence seems to suggest that the origins of the Romans might lie farther away in distant Anatolia (now Turkey), the dig takes on a deeper, more political meaning. For Darren and Alana, though, the most important thing is to discover why and how Professor Dielman died, and just what became of the ancient coins they think he may have discovered on the dig.

The Etruscan Connection’s most appealing feature is that it seeks to combine current-day events with fictional happenings in the Anatolia of 650 BCE, which may have created the environment for the dig and the ensuing mystery our two protagonists are seeking to unravel. I particularly appreciated author Dick Rosano’s use of this literary device to draw the reader not only into a modern-day murder mystery but also back to one of the oldest civilizations on earth, believed to be the first to strike actual coins as currency and the choices they may have made in dealing with a natural disaster in their homeland (in this case, ongoing drought). I always love having finished a novel richer in knowledge about an era I was not conversant with prior to reading. For me, this is one of the greatest hidden beauties of reading and this book fulfills that need perfectly. Clearly, the author has a passion for the region, especially its scenery, food, wine, and people and this shines through vividly on every page of the story. Well written and easy to read, it was a pleasure. The plot, involving a number of disparate players, is cleverly worked. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can highly recommend it.