The Roman Mysteries #5: The Dolphins of Laurentum

by Caroline Lawrence

Hardcover, 2003



Local notes

Fic Law





Roaring Brook Press (2003), Hardcover, 176 pages


A ragged stranger and the prospect of losing her family's fortune lead Flavia Gemina and her friends, Jonathan, Lupus, and Nubia to a seaside villa where possible danger and treasure are close at hand.


Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 8.68 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member the_hag
Here in the fifth book of the Roman Mysteries Sereis, which take place shortly after the events of the fourth book, The Assassins of Rome. Once again we join the steadfast group of Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan, and Lupus as they find themselves back home in Ostia. As with the previous books, this volume
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is set in the first century, 79 A.D, shortly after the eruption of Vesuvius. As we start out here, the group (along with Uncle Gaius (Flavia’s Uncle who is staying with them since the destruction of his farm in The Secrets of Vesuvius), Aristo (their tutor), Miriam (Jonathan’s Older Sister), Mordecai (Jonathan’s Father, a physician) and all the dogs) are once again, home in Ostia getting back to their “normal” daily life…or so they think! Very shortly Flavia’s father returns after many months away…and he is in very bad shape.

Once again disaster looms for Flavia and her closest friends and family…since her father’s ship was lost at sea, this creditors are threatening to sell the house (and all their possessions to repay the debt)…in no condition to deal with this, Falvia, her father (and the rest of the gang) are shipped off to Pliny’s (the younger) seaside home, leaving Mordaci and Uncle Gaius to tend to the legal issue of the debt. Once ensconced at the seaside, our intrepid group learns of a treasure sunk just off the coast…a treasure that they become determined to recover…for each in the group has a special desire that this treasure can fulfill. Will the group recover the treasure? Will they all get their heart’s desire? Will they save Falvia’s home in Ostia? You’ll have to read to find out!

As with all the previous books in The Roman Mysteries series, Caroline Lawerence gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the daily life of the Roman people (of this era) and deals with wide ranging issues from Roman Law, the treatment of slaves, the division of the class system, the results of a natural disaster on the economy and the people, and the very depth of human nature. As with the previous books, The Assassins of Rome it manages to address a lot of series issues, give a solid look at life in the given time period, and still be entertaining and fun to read! This fifth book in the series returns to the focus of the group of four, though the story is clearly that of Lupus as we learn more about his past and how he came to be who he is now. As in the previous books, the adults play only a brief role at the beginning and end of the story.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable mystery/thriller/adventure book for young readers that is heavy on the details of Roman daily life and is highly descriptive with likable and believable characters (for the most part). I give it four stars and would recommend it in a heartbeat! We are certainly looking forward to continuing through the remaining books in the series (12 in all).
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LibraryThing member lydia1879
So this is the most memorable book in the series for me, possibly because it was the last book in the series that I read. I think it was also my favourite though!

I enjoyed this story the most because it revolves around the backstory of my favourite character at the time, Lupus. I don't want to
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spoil it but I just really enjoyed finding out more about his past, his narrative and how he came to be who he is. (Particularly because he's mute and can't really tell his story orally~.)

What I find really interesting is that I still vividly remember a passage in this book and find myself thinking about it every once and a while. I still remember that little eight-year-old boy sipping on buttermilk, though.

But I loved this series as a young reader and I think if you're interested in decent story-telling and ancient, crime-solving kids, this would be an excellent series for you, too. c:
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