Atticus of Rome, 30 B. C. (Life and Times Series)

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Overview

In this departure from our first person diaries, we leap into ancient times in a third person novel filled with action, adventure, and glory -- all the drama of life in ancient Rome.

Acclaimed author Barry Denenberg brings to life the intrigue of Roman politics and the bloody violence of the gladiator games in this story about ancient Rome.

Atticus, a young boy who has been torn from his family and home and sold as a slave to a Roman ...

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Overview

In this departure from our first person diaries, we leap into ancient times in a third person novel filled with action, adventure, and glory -- all the drama of life in ancient Rome.

Acclaimed author Barry Denenberg brings to life the intrigue of Roman politics and the bloody violence of the gladiator games in this story about ancient Rome.

Atticus, a young boy who has been torn from his family and home and sold as a slave to a Roman aristocrat, quickly learns that not all is as it seems in the republic of Rome. Politicians and greedy merchants plot against each other, and Atticus must do his best to protect his kindly master...and, in turn, the Emperor of Rome. Murder and lies fill his new life as a spy for Lucius Opimius.

In ancient Rome, Atticus, a young slave purchased by a wealthy and powerful lawyer, finds that he is completely invisible to the people from whom he must gather information in order to help foil a plot against the Emperor.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Slave boy Atticus spies for his master, Lucius Opimius, who fears conspirators will assassinate his best friend, the emperor. Captured during a military raid, Atticus adjusts to his loss of freedom. Because Lucius benevolently protects him, Atticus' life is easier than most slaves who endure brutality and lack control over their destiny. The Greek astrologer Aristide, whom Lucius consults, offers Atticus advice regarding who to trust. Wanting to help Lucius, Atticus eavesdrops and observes people for signs of coups. This novel enables readers to explore vicariously the ancient world. The narrative introduces people representing various social classes and professions. Wealthy aristocrats are mostly depicted as narcissistic, greedy, and cruel. They misuse their power and indulge in excesses. Violence dominates Atticus' environment. Conspirators' bloodthirsty plotting and betrayals fester. Social history details are interesting, but the grotesque realism of some scenes, particularly gladiator battles and animal abuse, might be too much for squeamish readers. Intrigue heightens as Atticus realizes who the most dangerous people are. A historical note mentions Roman contributions present in modern society. The book lacks a bibliography. An explanation of the Latin derivation or historical inspiration for characters' names would have been useful. This novel could complement social studies. Pair it with Avi's Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2002) to compare the lives of serfs and slaves. Part of "The Life and Times" series. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 8 to 12.
—Elizabeth D. Schafer
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Historically unreliable, these two novels also fail to convey a real sense of living in the past. In Pandora, the author mentions the creation (inaccurately described) of an art object in a style more than 100 years out of date (Athenian black-figure vase painting ended ca. 510). Atticus, torn from his family at age 12, subsequently coddled by a toga-hating noble, never truly experiences slavery. Incredibly, Pandora, at 13, has never heard the myth of her namesake. The texture of daily life is absent, though Denenberg dutifully offers lists of foods or goods, or shoehorns in accounts of banquets, the baths, or a chariot race. Carelessness and inconsistency detract from the historical details that do appear, as shallow characters are propelled through preposterous events. Atticus, for instance, an unskilled rural child, is instantly singled out by his master, made a confidant and a detective, reunited with his gladiator-father, and given his freedom and all of his master's wealth. Pandora, who whines that she has to stay indoors all day, "walking around in her nightdress," nevertheless meets Socrates, attends a symposium, cuts off her hair, spends an unchaperoned night out, and finally runs away with a 17-year-old crush. Readers can never believe in either of the main, let alone secondary, character, and there is little evocation of historical events or politics. The language in both novels is trite, vague, and clich d. A few pages of Peter Connolly and Hazel Dodge's The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome (Oxford, 1998)-or a half hour with the relevant "Eyewitness" books-will be vastly more inspiring and informative.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439524537
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Series: Life And Times.
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1100L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.74 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    a reviewer

    This book is good/o.k. for reading in a classroom and for information. It gives a clear picture about ancient roman people, culture, and lifestyle. the characters do have their own personalities, but the plot is a little jumpy. It tends to go from one thing to another, sometimes without making a connection and the chapters are a little short. These are personal percentages about this book: Re-reading quality: 15% Introduction quality: 25% Plot Quality: 30% Climax and resolution Quality: 50% Overall Rating: 32.50% I would not recommend this book to read for personal enjoyment, unless you are prepared to spend some time rereading it for understanding. However, If you like detailed books then this might be for you, but if you are a comic or fantasy reader, then this book is not for you. It is a good once-read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    Great Story!

    Atticus of Rome is a very good book for the person who wants to read a book, but get more out of it than the regular type. Weaving together a roller-coaster of a story with lots of loop-de-loops, unexpected turns, and drops, I definitely recommend Atticus of Rome to the reader who really appreciates a detailed book with an exciting plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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