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S.P.Q.R. Xii: Oracle of the Dead Paperback – 8 Dec 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 Reprint edition (8 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312538952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312538958
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 765,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Metellus puts his own life at risk in an exciting case that engages the attention of Pompey himself."--"Publishers Weekly""" "The 12th Decius mystery is as crisp and absorbing as its predecessors."--"Kirkus Reviews""" "Roberts's 12th Roman mystery is a believable story of murder, greed, and the political nimbleness necessary to stay alive in ancient Rome. Sure to appeal to readers of Lindsay Davis and Albert A. Bell."--"Library Journal"

Metellus puts his own life at risk in an exciting case that engages the attention of Pompey himself. "Publishers Weekly"

The 12th Decius mystery is as crisp and absorbing as its predecessors. "Kirkus Reviews"

Roberts's 12th Roman mystery is a believable story of murder, greed, and the political nimbleness necessary to stay alive in ancient Rome. Sure to appeal to readers of Lindsay Davis and Albert A. Bell. "Library Journal""

Metellus puts his own life at risk in an exciting case that engages the attention of Pompey himself. Publishers Weekly

The 12th Decius mystery is as crisp and absorbing as its predecessors. Kirkus Reviews

Roberts's 12th Roman mystery is a believable story of murder, greed, and the political nimbleness necessary to stay alive in ancient Rome. Sure to appeal to readers of Lindsay Davis and Albert A. Bell. Library Journal

"

About the Author

John Maddox Roberts is the author of numerous works of science fiction and fantasy in addition to his SPQR series set in Ancient Rome. He and his wife live in New Mexico.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger continues his term as judge and investigating magistrate in this latest in the entertaining SPQR series. He lingers in the beautiful Campania (scene of the previous novel) to investigate a most unholy crime, the murder of the entire group of priests attending a temple to Apollo. The a case is complicated by the strange relationship the temple has with a shrine to the goddess Hecate, and the influence the latter has as seat of a famed oracle. As things proceed Metellus uncovers even unholier goings-on than the original murders, against a background of local society (the Campania is Rome's playground so there's no shortage of the rich and interfering), the deteriorating political situation in these final days of the Roman Republic, and a growing threat to his own life. As we have come to expect from the SPQR series there are twists aplenty leading to a suitably dramatic denouement.
The story is told as a memoir by the older Metellus, lending it a personality and immediacy strengthened by Roberts' pleasant writing style and his ability to share background facts about Roman life in a smooth and natural way (backed by a helpful glossary which is itself a good read).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a recent author for me and what a find I really love the series and have now read several of the books, not in the right order but it doesnt really matter as they are a great read - love them and this is up to the standard of the others
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By Glenn Cook HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
John Maddox Roberts triumphs again!
Roberts hits the ground running with this his twelfth book to feature Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger. Although entitled the younger because his Dad holds the elder title Decius is now fast moving to middle age and the trappings that that brings with it.. middle age spread, out of condition and prepared to let his manumitted Hermes do all the leg work and chasing about the country side, delving into strange tunnels that Decius would have jumped at the chance a few years earlier.
That's the beauty of this series, Roberts allows his reader to grow up with our hero and this book has that air of being written by our hero Decius as an old man reflecting on his life past who has that curse of outliving all his friends, lovers and enemies.
Is the book any good. A resounding YES Roberts has excelled his standards to give us a great read. Decius is now respected and successful after the many scrapes and 'taking one for the team sacrifices' of earlier books. Set against the backdrop of the civil war to come that will throw Pompey against Caesar. Roberts cleverly adds all those fascinating details that we all love about his books. Like the revelation that although the locality love Pompey they will not rush to join his Legions against Caesar as they know which dog will come out top! Pompey's old fat 'seen its best days years ago veterans against Caesar's battle hardened, hungry young wolves.
The main thrust of the story ably supported by Roberts expertise in background is the puzzling murder of a priest of Apollo followed by the discovery of several more. In the frame the rival cult's priests.
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Format: Paperback
Somehow I managed to read book XIII before this, but it did prove that is isn't entirely necessary to read the Metellus novels in sequence. JMR delivers another cracking read with Decius' tenure as praetor peregrinus leading him to travel down to Baiae in order to preside over cases involving non-Romans. He's barely there a few seconds when someone starts a fracas between the cult of Hecate and the Apollonian temple priests resulting in the latter either being tossed into the river "Styx" - a tourist attraction - or neatly laid out in hidden crypts for aspiring forensic sleuths to casually pore over. Whilst Caesar is the talk of the Roman Senate as he ventures towards the Rubicon, Decius has his own stream to leap over as he tries to figure out the history of cults and temples in this normally affluent holiday-spot.
Throughout, Decius exudes an exasperation at having to deal with knee-jerking aggrandisement as everyone points the metaphorical finger at everyone else whilst trying to stay cool in the blistering heat. Julia aids him immeasurably as she is fully aware of the prevalence of cults and soothsayers abounding in the countryside - a thread continued in SPQR XIII - because our murderer(s) start picking off potential witnesses one by one. Side trips to Stabiae means Decius is forced to glean most of his information at the trinculum of various wealthy Romans, who later wind up dead. Trouble is, sifting through after-dinner conversations where people have their own power games to play and the truth is safely hidden behind an inch thick layer of mendacity, means that whilst we are vaguely aware of why this is happening, to pinpoint actual culprits is an entirely different matter.
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