Million-selling author Caroline Lawrence writes detective stories with the double aim of entertaining children and teaching them. Combining fast-moving plots with historical accuracy means her history mystery stories are beloved of children, parents and teachers.
Caroline's first book, The Thieves of Ostia, was published in 2001. It introduces Flavia Gemina, the daughter of a sea-captain who lives in Rome’s port, Ostia. In the course of this first book set in the year of Vesuvius's eruption, Flavia meets three other children from different backgrounds: Nubia, a slave girl from Africa; Jonathan, a Jewish boy; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy. A further sixteen books follow the adventures of these four as they solve mysteries and have adventures in Pompeii, Rome, Greece, Turkey and North Africa.
The series was televised by the BBC in 2007 and 2008 with ten half hour episodes per season. Filmed in Tunisia, Bulgaria and Malta, it was the most expensive BBC children's TV series to date.
In 2009, Caroline won the Classical Association Prize for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics', an honour shared by Classicists such as Tom Holland and Mary Beard.
In 2011 Caroline launched a second historical detective series, the Western Mysteries, staring P.K. Pinkerton: a 12-year-old doubly orphaned detective who has trouble "reading people". The Case of the Deadly Desperados was the Sunday New York Times Editors' Choice in February 2012. P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified man was shortlisted for an Edgar Award in 2014. The UK title of the same book is The Case of the Good Looking Corpse. P.K.'s third mystery was The Case of the Pistol-packing Widows. The final and fourth book in the series is The Case of the Bogus Detective.
In 2014 Caroline agreed to write a series of four books set in Roman Britain. The Roman Quests follow the fortunes of three siblings as they flee Rome and travel to Britannia at the far edges of the Empire. Set in the final turbulent years of the Emperor Domitian, the books take readers to famous Romano-British sites such as Londinium, Fishbourne, Bath Spa, Caerleon, Cirencester, Chester, York, Camulodunum and more. Set thirteen years after the final Roman Mystery, the Roman Quests will feature cameos by Flavia, Jonathan, Nubia, Lupus... and Miriam's twins!
Caroline has also written two books for Barrington Stoke, who specialise in books for dyslexic and reluctant readers. The Night Raid is a re-telling of the story of Nisus and Euryalus from Virgil's Aeneid. Queen of the Silver Arrow tells the story of Virgil's wonderful creation, Camilla.
Caroline says: "I want to know everything about the past, especially the exciting things. Also the sounds, smells, sights and tastes. I write historical novels because nobody has invented a Time Machine. And I write for kids because 11 is my inner age."
Caroline has also written a spin-off series of four Roman books for readers aged 7+ called The Roman Mystery Scrolls.
Here are Caroline Lawrences books:
THE ROMAN MYSTERIES (for ages 8+)
I The Thieves of Ostia - the friends meet and solve their first mystery
II The Secrets of Vesuvius - a riddle and danger as Vesuvius erupts
III The Pirates of Pompeii - who's taking children from the refugee camp?
IV The Assassins of Rome - Jonathan's search takes him to Rome
V The Dolphins of Laurentum - sunken treasure and Lupus's past
VI The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina - romance & mystery in Ostia
VII The Enemies of Jupiter - plague and fire in Rome, early AD 80
VIII The Gladiators from Capua - opening of the Colosseum, AD 80
IX The Colossus of Rhodes - the four friends take a cruise in May...
X The Fugitive from Corinth - then pursue a fugitive around Greece
XI The Sirens of Surrentum - the Bay of Naples for poison & decadence
XII The Charioteer of Delphi - a famous racehorse goes missing
The Code of Romulus - a World Book Day booklet
The First Roman Mysteries Quiz Book - Roman fashion, food, music & more
XIII The Slave-girl from Jerusalem - courtroom drama in Ostia
Trimalchio's Feast and other Mini-Mysteries - a collection of short stories
The Second Roman Mysteries Quiz Book - Roman medicine, love, marriage & more
XIV The Beggar of Volubilis - a caravan across North Africa
From Ostia to Alexandria with Flavia Gemina (a Travel Guide)
XV The Scribes from Alexandria - Egypt and Nubia in Roman times
XVI The Prophet from Ephesus - the four go to Asia Minor (Turkey)
XVII The Man from Pomegranate Street - who killed Titus & whom does Flavia marry?
The First Roman Mysteries Omnibus
The Legionary from Londinium and other Mini-Mysteries
The Roman Mysteries Treasury
THE ROMAN MYSTERY SCROLLS (for ages 7+)
I The Sewer Demon - Threptus the ex-beggar boy must overcome a creature from below
II The Poisoned Honey Cake - Threptus gets in trouble when he steals a cake from an altar
III The Thunder Omen - During the Saturnalia, Threptus and Floridius try to rig the omens
IV The Two-faced God - Threptus sees the god of the new year: Janus! Or does he?
THE WESTERN MYSTERIES (for ages 10+)
1. The Case of the Deadly Desperados, the first of P.K. Pinkerton's adventures
2. The Case of the Good-looking Corpse, the shoot-outs book
3. The Case of the Pistol-packing Widows, Carson City shenanigans
4. The Case of the Bogus Detective, the stage-coach book
THE NIGHT RAID (for ages 11+)
Retelling of a story from book 9 of Virgil's Aeneid for teen readers
QUEEN OF THE SILVER ARROW (for ages 11+)
Retelling of a story from books 7 and 11 of Virgil's Aeneid for teen readers
THE ROMAN QUESTS (for ages 8+)
1. Escape from Rome (May 2016)
Juba and his siblings Fronto and Ursula flee from Rome to Britannia
2. The Archers of Isca (October 2016)
Fronto joins the Roman legion to learn to be brave
3. Death in the Arena (April 2017)
Ursula finds herself performing in the arena
4. Return to Rome (tbc)
The three siblings and their British friend Bouda return to face the Emperor Domitian