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SPQR I: The King's Gambit | [John Maddox Roberts]

SPQR I: The King's Gambit

John Maddox Roberts takes listeners back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy.
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Publisher's Summary

In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes listeners back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy.

But Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, highborn commander of the local vigiles, was determined to investigate. Despite official apathy, brazen bribes, and sinister threats, Decius uncovers a world of corruption at the highest levels of his government that threatens to destroy him and the government he serves.

©1990 John Maddox Roberts; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (337 )
5 star
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3.8 (258 )
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4.2 (259 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marie 02-04-12
    Marie 02-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    382
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    225
    133
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    36
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    "Maybe better read than in audio"

    Having finished Ruth Downie's mystery series of books about a doctor in Roman Britian, I started the SPQR series in great anticipation. I was excited because Simon Vance was the narrator and he had also narrated Downie's books. I was looking for something with a bit more detail about Roman life and more setting details. I was disappointed. Not because this book didn't provide what I was looking for in terms of detail but because it provided so much detail and back story that there was little new story. At only 7 1/2 hours, way to much of the time was spent by the author on having to explain the intricacies of the government, military and judicial aspects of the Roman system. During the book, the protagonist interacts with or discusses every single prominent Roman of the day, often as a means of explaining a brief happening. The names and the politial allegiance began to run together, and by the end, I wasn't quite sure what was going on or why. Maybe if I had read the book so I could have flipped back and checked earlier narrative sections it would have been better. As it was, by the time the book ended, I really didn't care who did it. And I never connected with Metellus. If you are well versed in Roman history, this might be the book for you. If you are looking for a story that moves and entertains, go with Ruth Downie or Lindsey Davis.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wadie Santa Ana, CA, United States 09-21-08
    Wadie Santa Ana, CA, United States 09-21-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    248
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    176
    91
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    "Sob!!"

    If you, as I, sob while watching "I Claudius" or when reading the "Twelve Caesars" this could be an emotional experience for you. The "hero" is a republican in the old sense of the word. Despite the setbacks for the integrity of <ROME> the last chapter than makes up for a great deal.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Silvia 12-26-14
    Silvia 12-26-14 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "SPQR is a great series"
    What made the experience of listening to SPQR I the most enjoyable?

    I enjoy reading about ancient rome.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No favorite


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Liked all of it


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    I am planning to listen to the entire series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen corning, NY, United States 10-04-14
    Kathleen corning, NY, United States 10-04-14

    50 yr old medical professional, love historical fiction

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "keep going, gets better with every book"

    It took me quite a while through this book to really like it, I'm not sure if it is the author's way of telling it as a memoir or the reader - whom I LOVE, but reading this as an old man when the story is of a young man just distracted me, but eventually I liked it, but not loved it. I felt the same way about the next book as well, but changing to John Lee as narrator for the third book really changed the feel and I am now madly working my way through the entire series and really love it - almost as much as my beloved Macro and Cato.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean 06-21-14
    Sean 06-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    18
    7
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    "This book is boring, but the narrator almost...."

    Any book I don't finish I give only one or two stars. This book suffered from one of the worst audiobook afflictions a listener can encounter: being boring. The plot plods along with characters we are told are really bad, but there's little beyond one or two encounters to shape them into more than that.

    Its a standard who dunnit, although set in ancient Rome. I got about 4/5ths through it but once I stop caring about the characters there's no point in continuing. While narrator Simon Vance was able to provide enough to keep me going that far, at some point I have to care about..welll...something!

    I also wasn't able to suspend my disbelief that a politician would be out in the streets trying to solve a crime. Doesn't he have people for that?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis United States 04-20-14
    Dennis United States 04-20-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
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    38
    35
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    "A SHORT BUT REALLY ENJOYABLE READ"

    This is the kind of book where you can just relax and listen to you. It asks nothing from you but time well spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    seeker 03-17-14
    seeker 03-17-14 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I learned a great deal about ancient Rome."
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Though the reader represented the 'older' hero remembering a life...he lacked the strength of voice and residue of the sex appeal that he seems to have had when younger.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Though a very good reader...I was not convinced that the owner of the voice was capable of the courageous and dangerous acts he claimed to have survived.


    Any additional comments?

    I am already listening to SPQR II..so the complaints I make are minor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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