Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good, historical fun

I had no idea why I bought Caroline Lawrence's The Thieves of Ostia, which is the first book of a series called The Roman Mysteries. It could have been the cover, as there's something about diversity among people that's very much appealing. I'm glad I bought it though, for it gave me a couple of hours of pleasant enjoyment, without the cheese.

In The Thieves of Ostia, someone is mysteriously killing the dogs in first century Ostia. It becomes up to four young people -- Flavia, Jonathan, Nubia, and Lupus -- to look for this murderer.

While this storyline seems innocuous enough, the circumstances of each of these four main characters is anything but. Flavia is free born and daughter of one of the notable sea captains at that time. Jonathan is Christian and son of a very competent doctor. Nubia is a slave bought by Flavia on her birthday. Lupus, aside from being a child of the streets, is mute.

Lawrence clearly shows her knowledge of classical Rome in this first novel. I have no doubts that the other novels would also present wonderful facets of Roman life during the first century. The Thieves of Ostia is also funny and has its warm, fuzzy moments. Its perfect to give to someone whom you want to instill the value of history, family, and responsibility even at a young age.

Reat this book if:
  1. You'll read anything that has something to do with classical Rome.
  2. You know that there's beauty in diversity.
  3. You have the stamina to read the rest of the series. (So far, 17 novels compose the series.)


ram said...


Peter S. said...

Yes! Good thing there's an omnibus!