×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance
  • Alternative view 1 of SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance
  • Alternative view 2 of SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance
     

SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance

4.2 4
by John Maddox Roberts
 

See All Formats & Editions

He would rise up as savior of the State, but Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger already has a lot on his mind. In the year of his aedileship, Decius is expected to stage elaborate and expensive games out of his own pocket. Along with his duties of pleasing the crowds with the feats of gladiators and wild beasts, are the more practical, and commonly neglected,

Overview

He would rise up as savior of the State, but Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger already has a lot on his mind. In the year of his aedileship, Decius is expected to stage elaborate and expensive games out of his own pocket. Along with his duties of pleasing the crowds with the feats of gladiators and wild beasts, are the more practical, and commonly neglected, ones of maintaining the city and its laws. It is these more mundane duties that call him to the scene of a recently built and more recently collapsed tenement building. Determined to punish the greedy parties who used cheap materials and caused the deaths of hundreds, Decius sets out to exact justice. It is easier said than done, especially when bodies and evidence go missing, and his family pressures him to cease the investigation. As he seeks out the politicians, philosophers, and tradesmen of the day, it becomes clear that the collapse of the building was deliberate, and Decius could be going after some of the most powerful men in Rome.

In this eighth installment of the series, Roberts once again provides authentic detail in the everyday Roman customs, as well as a fascinating picture of the growing unsteadiness of this famed Republic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Entertaining, fast-paced ... Once again, Roberts does a nice job of bringing the past to life.” —Publishers Weekly

“Engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Engaging characters and colorful backdrop ... Roberts' latest is a quick, enjoyable read.” —RT Book Reviews

“An excellent re-creation of a fascinating era in history.” —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
In Roberts's entertaining, fast-paced Roman historical, his eighth to feature Decius Caecilius Metellus (after 2003's The Tribune's Curse), Decius has just become an aedile, a city manager responsible for overseeing urban infrastructure, when he's summoned to a fatal building collapse that claims more than 200 lives. While the evidence of shoddy workmanship is consistent with the pervasive but tolerated corruption in the construction trade, Decius's trained investigative eye notes anomalies on several of the corpses; he risks his political future and his life to follow the clues. His powerful family's efforts to navigate the treacherous shifting alliances that preceded Julius Caesar's return from the Gallic Wars add to the pressures the aedile faces. Once again, Roberts does a nice job of bringing the past to life, though his scholarship and detail fall short of Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series, which serves as the gold standard for ancient historicals. Despite the small universe of suspects and a solution involving nearly as much luck as dogged legwork, the book's many fine qualities should boost the ranks of Roberts's readers and send newcomers in search of the previous entries. (Jan. 20) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Although he holds a civic post at the lowest level in ancient Rome, Decius Metellus (SPQR VII: The Tribune's Curse) takes his responsibilities seriously. He must see that construction, sewers, roads, and markets all meet official regulations. The recent collapse of an ill-constructed apartment building and the possible murder of its owner start him on a trail that could lead to men in high places-including members of his own family. The Tiber River, meanwhile, threatens to flood, and the impossibly filthy and clogged sewers promise much damage. An excellent re-creation of a fascinating era in history (look for cameos by famous people), this is recommended for most historical mystery collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The suspicious destruction of an apartment building in ancient Rome prompts an investigation of civic corruption and murder. Rome has benefited from the battle for public affection between Pompey and Caesar. But the rise of state-sponsored games, along with monuments and public buildings, proves a headache for Decius Caecilius Metellus (The Tribune's Curse, Mar. 2003, etc.), full-time aedile, sometime sleuth, and droll narrator. More than the civility Decius laments is evidently on the decline when a five-story insula collapses, killing more than 50 inhabitants. The single survivor is a burly slave found clinging to life as he's pinned against a basement wall. Before he can be questioned at length, he dies-a double misfortune, since the couple who owned the building had their necks broken before the fatal collapse. Decius' usual sidekick, his caustic wife Julia, stays in the background, leaving his shady servant Hermes to pick up the slack, though he's as apt to dig up mischief as clues. Their investigation leads them through lots of historical info about Roman society and government before a trip to a notorious whorehouse, the scene of a Senator's recent murder, puts Decius and Hermes on the track of a solution. An extensive glossary provides definitions as well as interesting explanations of customs and government processes. Short on mystery but surprisingly engaging, especially for series fans and ancient-history buffs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312323202
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/01/2005
Series:
SPQR Series , #8
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
670,546
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.68(d)

Meet the Author

John Maddox Roberts is the author of numerous works of science fiction and fantasy. He and his wife live in New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fascinating story set in Rome during one of the periodic floods of the Tiber. A great mystery intertwined with the political intrigues of Ancient Rome. I highly recommend this book for a period when you have a little extra time, because you will not want to put this book down.