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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 November 2004
The Thieves of Ostia is all about Flavia and her friends who get involved in a mystery set in the Roman port of Ostia in the year 79 AD. Two dogs are killed and their heads are taken away.No one knows who killed the dogs or why.Flavia meets new friends in different ways; she buys a slave named Nubia because she feels sorry for her and a boy named Jonathan saves her from a pack of wild dogs. Last but not least, the trio of friends save a mute begger boy named Lupus.
During their adventures they are chased by slave dealers, go all around the streets of Ostia and much more with a cliff hanger at the end of every chapter. They learn how to become a Christian and we learn how hard it was to become Christian in those days. We also learn how Romans lived such as how they dressed and ate. We even learn how they used the different rooms in their houses.
I loved the Thieves of Ostia there wasn't one bit I didn't like.
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on 6 August 2008
This childrens book is a useful introduction to the period that it is set in, the first century AD. Along with nice descriptions of roman houses, clothes and scrolls, the story contains slave dealers, early christianity and passing references to Pliny. Thus it provides the reader, who probably would have little or no knowledge of the romans, with a good flavour of what life would have been like, using four children of different backgrounds as the principle characters.

The prose is simple enough to be understood by children at the upper end of primary school, but children older than that might find it a little dull. The same goes for the plot itself.

It is certainly a good place to start for children beginning an interest in historical fiction or classical history, before moving on to authors in the teenage/adult category like Rosemary Sutcliff.
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on 24 February 2005
I think that the Thieves of Ostia is an brilliant book! It is about a girl called Flavia who meets Jonathan, the boy who lives next door, Nubia, the slave girl and Lupus the mute beggar boy. They become her friends and together they embark on a amazing adventure.
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on 20 April 2002
...This is the first of many mysterious adventures in which Flavia Gemina and her three friends- Jonathon, Nubia and Lupus. Together they investigate try to discover who is killing the dogs of Ostia and why. I don't want to spoil the ending for those who haven't yet read the book but everything does fall into place eventually. I really loved this wonderful story, Caroline Lawrence is a fantastic author and she has written the book in a way that appeals to all ages. Thanks to her superb descrptions I got a really vivid picture of what life was like in Ancient Rome. The characters were amazing, as good as Harry Potter! Maybe even better! If you haven't yet read the book do so now! It's a fantastic read but be warned, it's impossible to put it down! Once you start you can't stop!Overall I would give this througly absorbing novel five out of five!
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on 19 August 2015
I sometimes wish I was a young reader again. The book is delightful and very clear comprehensive and enjoyable. It intoduces 4 main characters who are almost kidnapped and forced iinto slavery. Set at the time of Titian the son of Vespassian. Ostia was the main port for Rome and the author compares the lifestyles of different classes of Roman society as the story enfolds. There is a very helpful glossary to introduce latin words, mythologiacal characters, poets etc.
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on 18 May 2001
I like this book`s mystery because it was realistic, intriging, and hard to find out who the culprit was. The children in this book solved the mystery, one of whom, named Jonathan, is my favorite character because he is smart and I can relate to him because we are about the same age. I liked this book and I think other kids my age would like it,too.
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on 3 July 2005
The thieves of ostia is the first book in the roman mysteries series. In this book, 4 strangers quickly become best friends. They are Flavia, the Roman sea captain's daughter, Nubia, the african slave girl, Jonathan, the Jewish boy next door, and Lupus, the mute boy. In the small town of Ostia, someone or something is trying to take or steal something, but before that, they are silencing all the watchdogs of Ostia. It's upto Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan, and Lupus to solve the first mystery in their life time!!! I rated this book 5 because it has all the adventure and mystery that a great book should have!!! I LUVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 19 June 2002
While one questions the need for yet another Roman detective, this book is an interesting variant from the growing range of adult series. There's none of the increasingly painful tongue-in-cheekness that is so much a feature of much of this oeuvre. Instead we get a refreshingly straight narrative voice that describes Ostia in tangible terms and Lawrence simply gets on with telling the tale. And she's good at it. I found this book to be a real page turner, thanks to the obvious (but still effective) use of cliff-hanger chapter endings (which I'm fond of in my own writing). The characters are a little flat at times and the identity of the villain was never much of a secret. But that's no great problem, since most detective novels suffer from the same measure of predictability.
Having finished this I have tried to buy the others from my local bookstores, but it seems the print runs are quite small. So, once this is written I'll just have to use Amazon!
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on 18 November 2001
Having collected and read all of Lindsey Davis and Stephen Saylor, I've wondered if there were comparably well written books for younger mystery fans and classics students. I think this first book by Ms. Lawrence fits the bill. Well researched and well paced, the 'Thieves of Ostia' has enjoyable characters and a good puzzle. Several serious themes are brought out, such as the purchase of a slave, and the treatment of Christians, which the author says will be directly addressed in the series and not glossed over (there is a website with a discussion forum available in which the author replies to questions and asks for feedback). This is a welcome attitude to learning about the realities of Rome while actually enjoying a well written story.
I've recommended and loaned this book to Latin teachers in our area (I don't think I'll ever see my book in one piece again), and I would have welcomed having this when I was starting Latin.
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on 15 May 2001
Caroline Lawrence takes one young girl, exciting times we all think we know about, adds three friends all as different as our own, and involves them and us in danger, intrigue, family and laughter. She shows us things we never knew about the Roman empire, and makes us all think about the beginnings of our 'civilised' times. Flavia and her friends live in exciting times, but just like the rest of us now, they don't know it, it's just life to them. Their ways of dealing with it are not so different from our own, but with a twist. Read this book and you'll see what I mean!
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