The Assassins Of Rome

by Caroline Lawrence | Children's Books |
ISBN: 1842550233 Global Overview for this book
Registered by PDB11 of Oakhill, Somerset United Kingdom on 1/24/2015
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Journal Entry 1 by PDB11 from Oakhill, Somerset United Kingdom on Saturday, January 24, 2015
In this book the children (I think of them as teenagers, but I think they are actually only ten and eleven) try to solve the mystery of a wanted assassin, who seems to be a family member. In their investigations, they find out a little more than is comfortable about some of the adults' back-srtories.

Lawrence's ancient Rome is clearly well-researched, but still fails to convince me. There were some splendid touches, though: poor Feles's disappointment when he discovered that he wouldn't be getting the girls to himself on the journey (although I shudder to think what might have happened if he had); the number of hints Rizpah had to give Jonathan about what soldiers do to women when they sack a city; and the foreign characters' broken Latin, though hammed up a bit, was well written. (I can well believe that Susannah, speaking Hebrew and Aramaic, might have difficulty with Latin tenses - although Greek is worse, and she probably learnt that at school)

Less credible was the age-old topos of one of the party turning out to be an infallible tipster for the races. And is Nubia really a freedwoman? At her age? Not legal - better keep it under wraps, not tell everyone you meet! Then when she's eighteen you can free her formally. Jonathan's case is different - he can't be freed till he's thirty, but Titus can certainly overturn the enslavement order (which was probably illegal anyway).

[Edit: A later book answers the question of under-ahe manumission.]

Once again an enjoyable read with some clever plot twists (I guessed Susannah, of course, but not Simeon's mission), but I am determined not to collect the series (there are at least eighteen novels). For release.

Previous book: The Pirates of Pompeii
Next book: The Dolphins of Laurentum

At the Hermitage Road end. There's an alcove that looks as though it used to contain a bench; I left the book there, on top of the wall.

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