33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A thrilling episode in Rome's Sleuthing Young Senator,
By A Customer
This review is from: S.P.Q.R. IV: The Temple of the Muses (Paperback)
After solving the mystery of the Sacrilege in Ceasar's House and with the political implications of his actions, trying to reveal the plot to subvert the senile Roman Republic by the most powerful persons of the era, Decius Caecilius Metellus junior leaves the premises of the Capital, in a "rehabilitating" embassy to the court of Rome's protegee king Ptolaemaeus of Egypt,as companion to his Senior relative Cointus Caecilius Metellus "the Cretan". A seemingly easy mission to allow him to be forgotten and safe by his dedicated and annoyed ennemies, brings the young sleuthing senator to the port of The Ptolaemean Alexandreia. The majestic description of one of the most flamboyant and grand cities of that era comes alive in front of the reader's eyes, under the quill skills and excellent historic knowledge of John Maddox Roberts. The Great Library and the Museum with the great philosophers and scientists of the era is the theatre of his first social visit, due to the interest of his betrothed Julia,niece of Ceasar, in a surprise trip to Alexandreia, and her interest of the scientific research and theory. But the young senator's fate brings him again to the entangled paths of a murderous conspiracy. Mathematician Iphicrates from Chios, one of the last pupils of Archimedes is found murdered in the Museum during a symposium. Again the natural eagerness of Metellus brings him to the dangerous tracks of the conspirators. What is the involment of 10 year old Cleopatra's older sister Verenice in it? What brings in the plot the Parthian Ambassador and an Athenean Haetera? Lots of sub plots fitting like jigsaw puzzles and the help of Julia and the Greek doctor Asclepiades mortuary skills will be enough for the Sleuthing Senator to solve the mystery of the murder and beneath it? Once more John Maddox Roberts gives us an exceptional description of an historic era even if some people may have slight objections about the "subjective" views he presents in Metellus's comments. Combined with a mystery plot and a way of writing that doesn't allow the reader to get outtracked by the vast amounts of historical data he presents and that added to the normal "predictability" of a series of mystery solving novels with a central hero... just as Roberts has proved in his previous books he can easily overcome this and provide us with the thrill of the unexpected. At the end of the book the reader will find himself delighted by a very compact and well written thriller and a lot of historical knowledge he couldn't have absorbed so easily from a school book. Just read enjoy and grab the next in the series.!!!