SPQR I: The King's Gambit

( 9 )

Overview

Blackmail, corruption, treachery, murder—the glory that was Rome.

In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes readers 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-slaved and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy. But Decius Caecilius ...

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SPQR I: The Kings Gambit

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Overview

Blackmail, corruption, treachery, murder—the glory that was Rome.

In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes readers 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-slaved 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 threates, Decius uncovers a world of corruption at the highest levels of his government that threatens to destroy him and the government he serves.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This literate mystery introduces the newest in an ever-expanding genre of quirky dicks: Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, a high-born bad boy, but patriotic head of a civil detective force in ancient Rome."

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This literate mystery introduces the newest in an ever-expanding genre of quirky dicks: Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, a high-born bad boy, but patriotic head of a civil detective force in ancient Rome. How is the strangulation of a freed gladiator linked to the fatal stabbing of a foreigner, an importer of wine and oil, and the arson of the foreigner's warehouse? And why are those at the highest level of the Senate interested in, indeed panicked about, the demise of such seeming nonentities? With the help of his aunt, an aging Vestal Virgin, and a Greek physician whose demonstration of a garrote leaves marks on the detective's neck, Decius sniffs out a government cover-up and some fishy activities of Pompey and Crassus. Eyeballing his era, Decius serves up drolleries aplenty about historical events and characters--Cicero, Julius Caesar--and concocted ones: his father and patron, an ``old Roman to the core,'' chains his janitor to the gatepost, although it is obvious to passersby that the measly hook could be detached by the slave at any time; a ``bite of lunch'' at the home of a ``new-rich'' is a profusion of delicacies, from pickled peacocks' tongues to sows' udders stuffed with Libyan mice, deep-fried. Unfortunately, the mystery has less bite than Roberts's ( Enigma Variations ) erudite social critique. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312277055
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2001
  • Series: SPQR Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 622,031
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Maddox Robert has written numerous works of science fiction and fantasy, in addition to his successful historical SPQR mystery series. His latest book in the series, SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion, will be published later this year. He lives in New Mexico with his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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