SPQR XII: Oracle of the Dead

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Overview

Decius Caecilius Metellus, this year’s magistrate for cases involving foreigners, thinks he is merely visiting one of the local attractions of southern Italy when he takes a party to visit the Oracle of the Dead, a pre-Roman cult site located at the end of a tunnel dug beneath a temple of Apollo. But there is a bitter rivalry between the priests of Apollo and those of Hecate, who guard the oracle, and when the priests are all killed, the countryside looks to explode in violence as Greeks, Romans, and native ...

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SPQR XII: Oracle of the Dead

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Overview

Decius Caecilius Metellus, this year’s magistrate for cases involving foreigners, thinks he is merely visiting one of the local attractions of southern Italy when he takes a party to visit the Oracle of the Dead, a pre-Roman cult site located at the end of a tunnel dug beneath a temple of Apollo. But there is a bitter rivalry between the priests of Apollo and those of Hecate, who guard the oracle, and when the priests are all killed, the countryside looks to explode in violence as Greeks, Romans, and native Italians of several conquered nations bring out old enmities.

This riveting historical series began with the Edgar Award–nominated SPQR I: The King’s Gambit and has gone on to international success in thirteen languages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Metellus puts his own life at risk in an exciting case that engages the attention of Pompey himself."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"The 12th Decius mystery is as crisp and absorbing as its predecessors."
--Kirkus Reviews
 
"Roberts's 12th Roman mystery is a believable story of murder, greed, and the political nimbleness necessary to stay alive in ancient Rome. Sure to appeal to readers of Lindsay Davis and Albert A. Bell."
--Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

Civil war looms between the forces of Julius Caesar and Pompey, providing an ominous background for Roberts's compelling 12th Roman historical to feature Decius Caecilius Metellus (after 2007's SPQR XI: Under Vesuvius). Recently raised to the post of praetor peregrinus, Metellus is enjoying traveling outside Rome hearing cases involving foreigners, but he gets an unexpected shock at the Oracle of the Dead near the southern Italian town of Baiae. The corpse of Eugaeon, a priest of Apollo, surfaces in the rushing stream of water inside the oracle's temple. Oddly, Eugaeon's body shows no sign of violence but is completely hairless. After the priest's missing colleagues, initially the prime suspects, also turn up dead, the astute sleuth comes to believe that these current killings are but the latest of many. Metellus puts his own life at risk in an exciting case that engages the attention of Pompey himself. (Dec.)

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Library Journal

Magistrate Decius Cacilius Metellus is in southern Italy, trying to stay out of the impending conflict between Pompey and Julius Caesar. On a visit to Hecate's Oracle of the Dead, his wife finds the body of a priest of Apollo whose temple is right next to the Oracle. Roberts's 12th Roman mystery is a believable story of murder, greed, and the political nimbleness necessary to stay alive in ancient Rome. Sure to appeal to readers of Lindsay Davis and Albert A. Bell.


—Jo Ann Vicarel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312538958
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Series: SPQR Series , #12
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 505,842
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Maddox Roberts is the author of numerous works of science fiction and fantasy in addition to his SPQR series set in Ancient Rome. He and his wife live in New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Excelleent Ancient Rome mystery

    As much as Decius Metellus loves Rome, he is glad to be a praetor traveling all over the Italian Peninsular hearing cases involving foreigners. It is not a great time in Rome with Caesar and the Senate in a deadlock in which civil war threatens to erupt if the former crosses the Rubicon. If he does the Senate will send Pompey to fight him, but Decius knows Caesar¿s legions are battle tested in Gaul while Pompey¿s has not fought in years. Decius is setting up court in Baiae, but quickly learns the town is not removed from the strife. He and his traveling companions including his wife want to visit the Oracle of the Dead, a site dedicated to Hecate but beneath the Temple of Apollo. Supporters of both are feuding. After traveling through a tunnel to get to the underground river where the Oracle makes pronouncements, one of the Apollo priests is found dead five more priests are also found dead. Decius wonders how they were killed because he followed them through the tunnels and never heard any deadly sounds. The city is outraged and demands Decius find the culprit he agrees since someone wants him dead too. ___ John Maddox Roberts makes Ancient Rome come to life enabling readers to believe they are accompanying Decius on his travels. This allows the audience to understand how people feel about the Caesar-Senate confrontation. Decius represents many folks who believe if Caesar seizes power he will execute employees and supporters (Decius¿ family backs Pompey) of the current. The SPQR saga is one of the consistently best historical mystery series with number XII another winner. ___ Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    Love this series

    I have read most of this series and find it refreshing. I am a fan of this type of historical mystery fiction and Roberts is one of my favorites. Roberts style of writing reminds me of Lindsey Davis and that might be why I enjoy reading them. I found Oracle of the Dead a fast and enjoyable read and finished it pretty quickly. The only flaw I found is that the book seemed to end abruptly. I would have liked a little more to the end. I can't wait to read the next one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Okay

    Okay

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews

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