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Rome: The Emperor's Spy: Rome 1 Paperback – 24 May 2012

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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: 12.7 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,994 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

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Harris on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Cuthbertson on 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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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Zibal01 on 1 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alastair Rosie on 13 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Magical Journey Back in Time.

Historical fiction is one of those genres that has to be done accurately or not at all. There are too many authors out there writing `historical fiction' that should be re-categorised as `delusional fantasy' because they don't understand the time period, haven't bothered researching it and wind up making it all up as they go along. Historical fiction can't be written by the seat of your pants, you need to understand your world and be true to it.
It was with hesitation therefore that I picked up Manda Scott's The Emperor's Spy. Not because she writes bad historical fiction, but because she writes it so well I don't want leave the world she's created. I read her Dreaming Series a few years ago, which chronicled the life of one of my all time favourite heroines, Boudica and because of that I was reluctant to move on. But eventually I did and was reunited with Cunomar, Math and Cardoc from the Dreaming series and was drawn into the landscape of Roman Gaul, transported to Alexandria and finally back to Rome in time for the famous fire. Along the way I learned much about ancient Gaul, Egypt, Judea and Rome. She has an eye for detail that is staggering in its complexity. Her books need to be read two or three times over a number of months to pick up on things you've missed, and in that way Scott is in a class of her own. There are very few writers who drive me back to their books again and again just for the pleasure of reading something again. You get an eerie sense when reading Scott's books that she really has been there before.
It's for that reason I've often said that her work, along with certain other authors, should be used as secondary reading material in history classes.
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