SPQR VII: The Tribune's Curse [NOOK Book]

Overview


Decius Caecilius Metellus is happy. The weather is beautiful and he is standing for office (literally; standing, in the Roman Forum soliciting votes) with a sure chance of winning. And Caesar's ongoing dreary war is far off in Gaul. Decius is confident that another war looming over Rome, instigated by one Crassus against the Parthians (for no reason but possible worldly gain); will be voted down in the Senate. But the vote does not stop ...
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SPQR VII: The Tribune's Curse

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Overview


Decius Caecilius Metellus is happy. The weather is beautiful and he is standing for office (literally; standing, in the Roman Forum soliciting votes) with a sure chance of winning. And Caesar's ongoing dreary war is far off in Gaul. Decius is confident that another war looming over Rome, instigated by one Crassus against the Parthians (for no reason but possible worldly gain); will be voted down in the Senate. But the vote does not stop Crassus.

On the day he and his troops set out from Rome, the Tribune Ateius Capitus, leader of the opposition, shrieks an ancient and terrible curse over the huge crowd assembled -- a curse that frightens not only the man in the street but the highest Romans. When Ateius is murdered soon after, Decius, solver of past mysteries, has the ugly task of finding the killer. Fascinating details of Rome's mixed attitudes about the power of magic and the practice of rational politics illuminate this latest of Roberts's strong historical mysteries.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this delightful historical, the seventh of Roberts's SPQR books (after 2001's Nobody Loves a Centurion), Decius Caecilius Metellus has left service in Gaul with his uncle (by marriage), Julius Caesar, and returned home to Rome. As a candidate for the office of aedile, he's busy cultivating voters by paying for expensive games and contests. The murder of the tribune Ateius, after he publicly places a dreadful curse on consul Crassus and his army, stirs up civil unrest. The consul Pompey charges Decius with finding the tribune's killer before the mobs burn the city. Through the engaging, humorous voice of Decius, the author portrays such prominent figures of the Roman Republic as Cato and Cicero, while bringing to life the ancient city with its sights and smells, manners and customs, politics and religion. (Decius confesses that he's confused by the monotheism that exists in the eastern Mediterranean provinces.) Despite a predictable ending, readers will surely look forward to Decius's future adventures. (Mar. 12) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Caesar's Gallic Wars drag on, but narrator/sleuth Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger (SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion, 2001, etc.) couldn't care less. Caesar has sent the young nobleman back home to Rome, where he plans to immerse himself in culture, canoodle with his new wife, Caesar's niece Julia, and run for his first political office. His calm, and that of the city, is disrupted by the military plans of Crassus, Pompey and Caesar's ambitious co-triumvir. Tensions are already high among the three; now Crassus' eagerness to embark on this new campaign, an apparent challenge to militant Caesar, rouses public uneasiness. In the midst of his ceremonial departure, tribune Aetius Capito, a political enemy, puts a curse on Crassus and the city for sanctioning his expedition. This is bad enough, but Aetius uses "the Secret Name of Rome," a word known only to oracles and suchlike, to make the curse stick. It falls to Decius to save the city by ferreting out the individual who gave Aetius the ammunition and incidentally treating the reader to a tour of ancient Rome's tenderloin. Midway through his investigation, Aetius is found murdered, and the probe expands to the political class, enemies of Crassus and/or the triumvirate. Clear-eyed, tart-tongued Julia plays Nero Wolfe to Decius' Archie Goodwin, staying home and sifting the information he gleans in his legwork. Though the mysteries come late in the story, smart, brisk writing and abundant historical color keep up interest until they arrive.
From the Publisher
"Delightful ... Through the engaging, humorous voice of Decius, the author portrays such prominent figures of the Roman Republic as Cato and Cicero, while bringing to life the ancient city with its sights and smells, manners and customs, politics and religion.... Readers will surely look forward to Decius's future adventures."

Publishers Weekly

 

"Smart, brisk writing and abundant historical color."

Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429908351
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2004
  • Series: SPQR Series , #7
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 185,843
  • File size: 357 KB

Meet the Author


John Maddox Roberts an Edgar-award nominee, is also the author of the well-reviewed Gabe Treloar mystery series (SMP) and numerous science fiction and fantasy books. Roberts lives in Estancia, New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting, well-researched historical mystery

    After fighting the Gauls for a year under Julius Caesar, Decius Cecilius Metellus, the black sheep of the powerful and wealthy Metellus clan, is glad to be home again in his beloved Rome. Married to Caesar¿s niece Julia and running for political office that could lead to bigger and more powerful positions, Decius is a very happy man. The populace is not in favor of Tribune Marcus Licinus Craessus going to war against the Parthians. On the day he is to depart, the fanatical opposition leader, the tribune of the people Caius Ateius Capito delivers a curse on Marcus, daring to speak the secret name of Rome. Decius is ordered to find out how he learned such a sacred name but before he gets very far in his investigation, the mauled body of Ateius is found. Decius must get answers and soon otherwise the frightened populace will start rioting. John Maddox Roberts, through the use of the first person narration of his protagonist, gives the reader a glimpse into the mindset of the citizens of the Roman Empire on the subject of slavery, magic, politics, and war. The story line is colorful allowing readers to feel as if they have gone back in time to Ancient Rome. THE TRIBUNE¿S CURSE is an exciting, well-researched historical mystery. Harriet Klausner

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