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Rome: The Emperor's Spy: Rome 1 [Paperback]

M C Scott
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 May 2012 Rome (Book 1)

Rome is burning. Only one man can save it.

The Emperor: Nero, Emperor of Rome and all her provinces, feared by his subjects for his temper and cruelty, is in possession of an ancient document predicting that Rome will burn.

The Spy: Sebastos Pantera, assassin and spy for the Roman Legions, is ordered to stop the impending cataclysm. He knows that if he does not, his life - and those of thousands of others - are in terrible danger.

The Chariot Boy: Math, a young charioteer, is a pawn drawn into the deadly game between the Emperor and the Spy, where death stalks the drivers - on the track and off it.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552168009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552168007
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, columnist and screenwriter, Manda (M.C) Scott has written thirteen novels beginning with contemporary thrillers. Her first, 'Hen's Teeth; was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, 'No Good Deed' was nominated for an Edgar Award in the 'Best Thriller' category.

Having served her writing apprenticeship, she went back in time to write the bestselling Boudica:Dreaming series. Her latest 'Rome' series starts with Rome: The Emperor's Spy and continues with Rome: The Coming of the King, Rome: The Eagle of the Twelfth and Rome:The Art of War. Set from 54 - 69AD, the books feature Pantera, the spy whose name means leopard.

She is working on a dual time line novel of Jeanne d'Arc (who she really was: not the fainting visionary peasant girl) and a contemporary thriller.

She is Chair of the Historical Writers' Association (, Prize Chair of the HWA Debut Crown and Programming Chair of the Harrogate History Festival. She writes reviews and columns for the Independent, the Express, the Telegraph and the (Glasgow) Herald.

She is an avid reader. Her top picks of 2013, in no particular order, are: Robert Wilton: TREASON'S TIDE, Imogen Robertson, 'THE PARIS WINTER', Beatrice Hitchman: 'PETITE MORT' Robert Ryan, 'DEAD MAN'S LAND', Robert Low, 'THE LION RAMPANT', Neil Gaiman 'THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE' and Neal Stephenson, 'Reamde' (it's 2012, but it's still outstanding.

Further details can be found on her website:

Product Description


"As exciting as Ben Hur, and far more accurate" (Independent)

"A gripping tale, with more to come" (Daily Mail)

"A heady, fast-paced, well-written, and exciting book...Brilliant stuff" (Shropshire Star)

Book Description

A mysterious prophecy foretells that Rome will burn - only one man can save it

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We Didn't Start the Fire 20 Aug 2012
Rome: The Emperor's Spy is a hard book to categorise. Part thriller, part action adventure, part religious diatribe, I finally put it down as a good read that will be too controversial for some, too complex for others, while some will thoroughly enjoy it.

Read purely as an entertainment, I found the book to be pretty good. The characters have their own personalities and motivations, pantera (the main character) is particularly well drawn and the Emperor Nero gets a better take than the normally Byron-esque version we see - 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'. Of course, as soon as you hear Nero, you think of Rome burning, and that is indeed the climax to this book - not giving anything away there, as this is plainly going to be the ending from very early on. It's not the fire itself that is the real thrust of this book though, but the way in which the characters are brought to it in spite of their efforts to stop it happening or make it happen. This is where the main villain, Saulos, comes in. The leader of a Christian sect who need Rome to burn to fulfill a prophecy, Saulos is better known to us as St Paul, and this is where some people will find their tastes challenged.

If you're terribly religious, I wouldn't recommend this book - St Paul isn't the pnly problem you're going to have. For anyone else who likes a complicated plot, good characters and a book that grips like a free climber going up a sheer rock face, you could do a heck of a lot worse than spending your hard-earned dinarii on this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rome: The Emperor's Spy 7 Feb 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll read just about any book, as long as it is well written. But unfortunately, I just couldn't immerse myself in this book at all. The subject is interesting, the characters are fine, I think the problem for me really was the language - it seemed really overblown, slightly cheesy and over the top. The Roman Empire during the reign of Nero is a fascinating time and place, and Nero himself a complex figure of contradictions. But this novel introduces characters that I just couldn't really empathise with, in situations that seemed really exaggerated, and written about in a way that just really grated on me. I'm sorry that I didn't like the book, and I appreciate that others do. Just not my cup of tea overall.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue, Fire and Chariot-Racing in Nero's Rome 13 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a child in the first century AD, Sebastos Abdes Pantera, son of a Roman auxiliary soldier, witnesses an anti-Roman Judean rebel being taken alive from a tomb in Jerusalem. Decades later we meet Pantera again as he arrives in Coriallum (modern Cherbourg) after a stint as a spy in Britannia, during which he went native in the turmoil of the Boudican revolt. No sooner has he landed than he's recruited by the Emperor Nero to discover the missing details of a prophecy that Rome will burn - and then stop it happening.

Sweeping through three contrasting and vividly imagined parts of the Roman Empire - Gaul, Alexandria and finally Rome itself - this epic historical thriller is ablaze with intrigue, treachery, murder and chariot-racing, and is peopled by characters of a depth and complexity not often found in this genre. Some of the characters are from Scott's Boudica series, which will please fans of these novels but won't, I'm sure, disadvantage those who haven't read them. Integral to the plot is an unorthodox take on St Paul (as he then wasn't) and the beginnings of Christianity. I've no idea how plausible this theory is, but it works in the context of the story and the author provides a copious note on the matter for those who want to pursue it.

"Rome: The Emperor's Spy" marks a welcome return to the punchy style of Scott's contemporary crime novels. The vigorous, well-paced story is satisfyingly wound up, yet there's enough in the way of loose ends and unfinished business to make this reader look forward to the next in the series.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One word - TURGID 24 April 2010
When I see a flashy new book cover with the word "Rome" emblazened all over it - well, I'm usually a strong advocate of don't judge a book by its cover. And yet that is exactly what I did - and how I regret it now.

I just could not get into this book. From the start, I found it achingly slow paced, too much going on, and at times, simply poorly written. It doesn't know what it wants to be - a romance, a rip-roaring epic about charioteers, an observation in the subtle craft of spying - what IS this book supposed to be about? It boils down to the sum of its parts being something of an incoherent mess.

When I pick up an Iggulden, or even a Scarrow, I expect a crisp, fluid account of simple, yet effective storytelling. With this, I got the opposite - a lumpen, treacle-like narrative, and, worst of all - it was just plain dull.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for 2010... 1 Jan 2010
By Zibal01
Having read the "Boudica: Dreaming" series, I was delighted to discover this new novel from MC Scott.

In this book we have some old friends from the "Boudica: Dreaming" series returning, and are introduced to some new characters who have a large bearing on the outcome of the story.

The book centres around a prophecy naming when Rome will burn. There are many twists and turns, unexpected events, and rivalries revealed, as we follow the characters from Cariollum to Rome, via Alexandria.

From the Boudica series we see the return of Caradoc, Cwmfen and Math. Math is now a 10 year-old thief and whore, as well as an apprentice for the local chariot racing team. The driver, Ajax, is another familiar face (if not name) from the previous series. There's also a brief appearance from Valerius.

New central characters are Pantera, who is The Emperor's Spy, Hannah, Shimon the Zealot, Saulos, Poros, Akakios and, of course, Nero himself. No relationship is as it seems. No-one can be taken on face value.

Politics, religion, spin, lust, love, hate, this book has it all in abdundance.

If you want to know more, I would highly recommend that you read the book - and the Boudica Series if you haven't read that!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story etc
Enjoyable. Good story etc. etc. But if you've just come from the Boudicca series don't rush into this as I did. It does not have the same wow factor. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Francis S. Beadle
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story well writen
Loving it a great story well writen. The story draws you in from teh start and I cant put it down. The price is good and the quality of teh book is good what more can you ask for.
Published 2 months ago by Crowy
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic read.
M.C. Scott is a truly awe-inspiring writer! Well-researched, magnificent writing style and truly exciting! What a fantastic read.
Published 3 months ago by Katharine
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book. An exciting read.
I love books about Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt. This book, I found hard to put it down. I have bought the other titles in this series by the same author and can't wait to start... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Miss Carole Partridge
4.0 out of 5 stars good gripping story
good story line, with some interesting historical knowledge thrown in to make it educational. only half way through but already looking forward to reading the next book
Published 5 months ago by Andy Robilliard
4.0 out of 5 stars The Emperor's spy M C Scott
Not one of the best books I have read by this Lady the plot gets tangled up in places and becomes hard to follow, her later books in the Rome Series are far better so you have to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by a newsome
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
Gripping from the beginning, it holds you through every page. Manda Scott's usual brilliantly-crafted sentences weave fact and fiction wonderfully. Buy it.
Published 7 months ago by Ms. J. A. Anderson-hawkes
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome book 1
Excellent, am so pleased that I have and have read the Boadica series, as feel I know the characters, or the main ones, an am now into Rome 2. Enthralled with it all!
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. Josephine Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite author
I am following this series of books and was missing this one. I will read it some time in the future. I am sure that it will be as good as Manda Scott's other works
Published 9 months ago by M Sawyeer
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
As above.
18 more words required.
14 more words required.
10 more words required.
6 more words required.
finished at last!
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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