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on 18 April 2009
These books have been a revelation to my 10 year old son, whose favourite subject is History. When he started reading them he became hooked immediately, even though he hadn't been keen to start reading the first one, as he didn't like the description of them, especially the fact that there was a heroine rather then a hero! He had been a reluctant though competent reader and now he is an avid reader with a reading age of 15. The books are involving, exciting, and very educational(without appearing to be for the child) and teach a lot of mythology, history, classics and even Greek and Latin words. If my husband or I read a chapter to him at bedtime we are also hooked and end up reading on ourselves. The subject matter can be quite adult though, as in this book, and I would not recommend it for any younger than a mature 10 year old- it hints at dark subject matter like child abuse and deals with kidnapping and other crimes that could give a sensitive child nightmares, for instance in previous books there have been very gory descriptions of killings etc. However this of course is just the thing to hook boys like mine in, as they love reading gory things, and it does seem removed from real life as it is set such a long time ago. We hear that the next book will also be the last in the series and don't know what we will do! Any recommendations for the next book or series to read anyone?
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on 18 October 2011
As usual the research is astounding, putting many adult historical novelists to shame (Conn Iggudlen comes to mind). The description and accuracy to detail is faultless, the twists and turns of the plot are exciting to keep the reader interested and wondering what will happen next. What I like about Caroline Lawrence is that her books are practical, she doesn't conform to the clichés of a happy ending or shying away from such issues as sex. All of this goes to make the Roman Mysteries a unique and interesting and accurate children's novel set in ancient Rome and a must read for all people of all ages. However the reason this book didn't get the full 5 stars is the principle characters (save for Flavia thank god, no pun intended conversion to Christianity. Now Lupus I can understand living with Jonathan and learning to control his anger and forgive his uncle for what he did, how that can lead to Christianity and I do find his conversion authentic albeit with the feeling of light, god's love etc it could be portrayed more realistically, he felt calm, relaxed etc. Nubia too with some thought yes I can see, she likes animals and Romano-Greco Polytheism demanded animal sacrifice though should this make her a vegetarian too? But she likes goat and camel stew but anyway that aside I can see why Nubia would find Christianity perhaps appealing. What I cant understand however is Aristo's conversation; a classical Greek scholar well versed in Homer and a frequent visitor to the temple of Aphrodite? His conversion was rushed in "I've spent 3 days with this fisherman and i'm now converted and all my lifelong teachings and beliefs have gone out of the window." Now maybe in the bible this would happen but Caroline Lawrence has hitherto treated her audience with the intelligent respect they deserve and for this I greatly admired her but I found this book to be very preachy, it seemed to convey the idea that all good characters were Christians and that the faith could turn the most evil person good. Now while this can happen and is a fundamental part of the Christian faith in what has been a rather balanced series of books religious wise to date it deviates from her normal accuracy in portraying characters and situations that feel real. The only consolation is that Flavia, at least, remains Polythenic and can at least give us the "pagans" view on events which was the majority view and belief at that time. I liked how in "The Beggar from Voulbilis" her attachment to Isis was shown in a dream that could be taken as a vision or just a dream, if the Christian conversions had been treated in a similar way in this novel than I think it would have worked much more effectively and feel more authentic.
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on 23 August 2010
I am a huge fan of the Roman Mysteries series, both in book form and TV adaption. These books take something of the concept of the Famous Five (four child detectives and a dog, tracking down criminals and solving mysteries) and sets it in the ancient Roman empire. This is a gritty and realistic ancient empire though, and as such it is highly educational, very exciting and a really good read.

In this book the children are far from home, travelling the ancient Roman province of asia minor, in pursuit of a slave dealer.

The story is first class, and brings together some threads of earlier novels.
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on 5 March 2016
Granddaughter loves it
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on 4 February 2013
A good series of books for boys who like history. I would recommend them for 9-11 year olds But watch out, once you start reading them there are a lot in the series.
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on 8 September 2015
Good book, recommended.
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on 14 January 2013
my teenage knights were fascinated, and so were mum and dad, by the whole set of books, which we have collected in fits and starts.
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on 22 October 2015
Swift arrival and good
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on 13 January 2013
A must for all Roman mystery fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I liked this book more then the any other Roman mystery book . This book takes loads of twists and turns and how Lupus,Nubia, Aristo and Jonathan become Christian it Is a must read
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on 13 January 2010
My daughter and I have been following Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mystery series since they were first published and feel that this is probably the best yet. Good plot, well-paced, kept us guessing right up to the end. Looking forward to reading the next title.
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