When Roman junior senator Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger has a chance to join a diplomatic mission to Alexandria, he welcomes the opportunity to temporarily elude his enemies in the Eternal City - even though it means leaving his beloved Rome. Decius is just beginning to enjoy the outpost's many exotic pleasures when the suspicious death of an irascible philosopher occurs, coinciding with the puzzling and apocalyptic ravings of a charismatic cult leader. Intrigued, Decius requests and is given permission by the Egyptian Pharaoh to investigate the heinous crime. What he discovers is beyond shocking.
And when the corpse of a famous courtesan mysteriously turns up in his bed, Decius suddenly finds himself entangled in a web of conspiracy far more widespread and dangerous than he ever imagined - one that threatens to bring about the downfall of the entire Empire.
©1992 John Maddox Roberts (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I am rereading this series - I own all of the books in print form, and am now listening to them via Audible. The main character is interesting, has wry comments, and I like the spin Roberts puts on ancient Roman events. After all, we have so little real information, just the rough outlines, that someone who can write - Roberts can - has a lot to work with. One problem with Roman historical mysteries is that the society was incredibly brutal and primitive, and slavery is ugly - there is no way these things can be completely evaded. It was an amazing civilization given the world at the time, but the Romans were basically a tribal people who somehow found a way to achieve some mind boggling feats of engineering, art, and architecture. I appreciate that the author does his best to keep the worst of these things enough in the background so that you aren't so grossed out you can't enjoy the story and characters. If he uses some creative license - that's what creative people are supposed to do!
This is only #2 in the series, and it gets better over time - but I wanted to give it all the stars, since I feel I'm rating the series as much as this one book. The only thing that's missing in the audio version is the glossary and I admit I'm not sure how they would do it without putting the reader to sleep. However, it's more than worth it to get the book out of the library to read the glossary, which explains how the names work, what the various weapons are, how the political system works, and other things that are so different from our world. It's not necessary, but it does help flesh out and enrich the story. All told, I think that this series may be my all time Roman mystery series.
another great myster novel tied in with Roman history
love to listen to his voice one of the best
Decius, always tries to hold the high ground. Once again he's sent from Rome (for his own health) on a mission to Alexandra. There is murder and mystery that he must solve. As usual the political situation puts him in a position of having to flee or die.
The last chapter, when he makes it to the Roman headquarters thinking he will be save........there is always a twist in the SPQR series.
The last scene, seems like Decius can't get a break. even thought he solves the crime he must let many of the guilty people go because of politics. He's learned a lot since the first book but even so he's the one that has to leave Alexandra to go to Rhodes to make sure his life is spared.
All the SPQR books are amazing with historical facts and keep you on the edge of your seat.....at least for me Even though they changed narrators from Simon Vance who did the first two books in the series to John Lee who is doing the rest of the books. I find that I love both narrators, they are in my top ten so to me it really didn't make a difference.
I love historical mysteries this is one of my favorites.
The storytelling is good, but our hero is starting to get a little too raucous and a bit too proficient with arms. He started out "snooping" out of a sense of duty and loyalty to Rome. That trait maker the character admirable and ennobled, despite his rough edges. In this installment his motivations appear to have become more capricious.
I do plan to continue on with the series.
a bit predictable and some historical mistakes.could do better with thw characters. need to see a new novel
"Not the Best in the Series"
This gets off to a very slow start. A lot of time is taken up giving the reader a verbal tour of the City of Alexander before the murder happens. Even then it is slow going until near the end when the pace picks up and the end is quite dramatic and exciting.
The book deals with the murder of a famous scholar and as we learn his real skill is in developing war machines for a secret plot for a war against Rome. Decius is in Alexandria where is been exiled after the events in the previous book. It is not until near the end of the book that Decius discovers this plot and unveils it to the current Pharoah and the Roman mission. He is rewarded by being put on the next ship to Rome.
I would not recommend this book if you are new to the series. I would start with one of the earlier books while Decius is still in Rome. I find the the book with a Rome setting are by far the best in the series.
John Lee is an excellent narrator and add a lot to the story. I consider him one of the best narrator who is good at giving distinctive voices to the characters. He certainly makes up for any slot parts in the bookl
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