When a sacret woman's rite in the ancient city of Rome is infiltrated by a corrupt patrician dressed in female garb, it falls to Senator Decuis Caecilius Metellus the Younger, whose investigative skills have proven indispensable in the past, to unmask the perpetrators. When four brutal slayings follow, Decius enlists the help a notorious and dangerous criminal. Together, they establish a connection between the sacrilege and the murders, and track the offenders from the lowest dregs of society to the prominent elite of the upper class, finding corruption and violence where Decius least expects it.
©1992 John Maddox Roberts. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
There are two frustrating events I find with literary series that are adapted to audiobook format: the wait for subsequent volumes to be released and the use of multiple narrators. I have experienced both with The SPQR series. I purchased the audiobook SPQR I in 2009, SPQR II in 2010. Two protracted, vacuous years later... the remainder of the series is released, with a different narrator.
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However, the entire series is now available on Audible. And both narrators are top notch and among my favorites.
Io accepta et grata mmutationis!
I truly enjoy Simon Vance's readings of I and II. The stories are written from the perspective of an elder Senator (Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger) reminiscing about the adventures of his youth. Vance's voice absolutely nails this. I have also grown to enjoy John Lee's narrations as well. SPQR III-XIII maintain the context of an aged Decius retelling his notorious exploits. John Lee's voice lends itself to the perception that events are unfolding as they are related, not many years past.
I feared this transition to the point of delaying my purchase of III, letting the book languish on my Wish List for several months. After listening to III with little or no difficulty accepting the new narrator, I now rapidly begin downloading the next in the series as I approach the last few chapters of my current read.
It might have been because they had a sense of humor! This series is set at the end of the roman republic. Julius Cesar is just starting on his road to becoming a god. The plot is intriguing and some of the parallels to modern politics can't be a mere coincidence! I confess to a crush on Decuis. He is clever, ethical, dry humored, and a soft touch. What more can one ask for? Some of the dialog is laugh out loud funny. All in all an excellent listen and I am already on the next book! Decuis in Alexandria, I can't wait!
I'm enjoying this series very much, John Maddox Roberts is no Robert Graves, but he does a wonderful job at letting the listener know the class distinctions and how the problems of Rome and being a citizen of Rome can be of major interest. There was a distinct difference of being a citizen of "ROME" and being Italian.
The first two books in the series were narrated by Simon Vance who is one of my favorite narrators. I am very pleased that they got John Lee who is also one of my favorites to continue the series. He really does know how to be an aristocrat, with his voice. In this case the change of narrators to me was not a problem since they both were on my top ten list of narrators.
I found it very hard to stop listening to any of the first three books there is so much going on the
I did enjoy the mystery and the the time line of the story was well studied by the author. (If anyone saw the "Spartacus" series on "Stars" the brutality and total disregard for humanity by those in power) "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately." readers should be prepared for some intense sexuality, brutality, and total disregard for life. However our hero, is a strong personality and tries to over come much of what his station demands of him, and what the higher up in Roman power structure demand. He is a man of conscious, which is very rare in this time.
I have read all the books and I like this narrator
Not the edge of my seat, but I enjoyed it. I don't usually like the edge of seat ones
They are two different experiences. I like reading better, but I listen to audio books while walking my dogs
Yes. It's a seduction into the endlessly curious world of the romans and all their ways. It's both a detective tale and a political/historical thriller.
The malediction scene.
"And you think Washington is a nest of vipers."
You must render all of the SPQR series into unabridged audio books. They are worth it.
These books are always worth a replay. I love the way the author brings historical figures to life. Caesar is very cunning and a jerk and Pompey lets other gererals fight the big battles then jumps in at the end to take all the credit. It's fun to see these giants of history in a very human way. I also love the main character and the humor woven through the story. I always seem to find something new when I replay a SPQR novel.
Almost anything by Bernard Cornwell will have a good historial plot and great action.
Yes. I like John Lee but...I really did miss Simon Vance.
Why does audible always ask this question?
Please Audible can we have more of this series. The sooner the better.
Yes. The story was very entertaining and provided plenty of historical atmosphere, but the ending was very disappointing. SPOILER ALERT: The truth behind the mystery was revealed towards the end of the book in a long letter written by one of the murdered characters. This struck me as a plainly lazy way to round out a murder mystery. Also, the letter that named the murderers and revealed a treasonous plot was conveniently handed over to one of the plotters (a real historical character) in a final scene that seemed like the ancient Roman equivalent of a movie car chase. It was quite corny and very hard to believe.
Yes. Parts 1 and 2 of the series were excellent, so I am prepared to believe that the substandard conclusion of part 3 was anomalous.
Lee was an excellent and most convincing narrator.
I am looking forward to the many subsequent instalments in this series.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
I liked I and II... but found this the same old song. Careful - don't start with this, III... You will need to know details from the first two parts of this epic to fully understand the place and culture. The tale of Senator Decuis Caecilius Metellus has grown sort of meh... To me anyway. Look, I gave it a 3, but the trend line is deeply down for me. Maybe I'll look at IV, but not for a while.
Shiloh Bound Doc! University of Iowa graduate. Iowa Writer's Workshop fan. Hawkeye Fan! Believer. Husband. Father. Physician.
I confess that I listened to this in a scattered fashion over several days--and I am not sure if that was because of difficulty getting into the material presented by the author--or simply a rather loosely woven tale running to threadbare.
I begin to feel more certain that this Roman set and setting will not be a sustainable series -- at least in this authors hands. 😱
50 yr old medical professional, love historical fiction
I liked the first 2 books in the series, but the change of narrators this book alters the whole feel of the books and really gave me a better feel for Decius and now I LOVE the series, They are quick and addicting listens, allowing me to follow more of the adventures of what feels like a new friend in Decius. They allow us to understand the Rome of Decius and his family, how he, like all of us must deal with family politics and find our place in our family and world, takes the reader back to republican rome as it begins to see the future of imperial rome encroach.
"Caesar's wife must be above suspicion"
Third in the series, new story and, for the audio, new and even better narrator in John Lee.The recently created senator, Decuis Caecilius Metellus the Younger, is "at the centre of the world again," - Rome. And this time he and most of his fellow senators are both outraged and amused by the invasion of an exclusive female religious rite invaded by a man dressed as a woman.Our intrepid hero soon finds himself caught up in a murder mystery which seems to be directly related to this sacrilege and his own life is also under serious threat. I loved the ensuing street fights, and attempts by Lucius to ensure .that this will not be his last days in his beloved city.
I love the humour of this whole series and in this one it excels. The stories are based around known happenings of the time but sometimes with a different twist - like Julius Caesar declaiming that he will divorce his wife as she must always be "above suspicion", but the outcome is not the one about which we have read in the histories.
A wonderful, informative but light-hearted read made a joy to hear by the narrator. Fighting, fun, mystery and great characters - what could be better?
The plots are still good but I prefer the narrator from the two previous SPQR books
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