The Roman Mysteries #4: The Assassins of Rome

by Caroline Lawrence

Paperback, 2005



Local notes

PB Law





Puffin (2005), Edition: Reprint, 176 pages


Flavia and Nubia follow Jonathan to Rome and into the Golden House built by the emperor Nero, where a dangerous assassin lurks.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 5.1 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member the_hag
The events in The Assassins of Rome follow about a month after the events in The Pirates of Pompeii, and is the fourth in Lawrence's Roman Mysteries Series. Here we rejoin Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan, and Lupus just as they return home to Ostia. As with the previous books, this volume is set in the
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first century, 79 A.D. As we start out here, the group has joined together to celebrate Jonathan’s 11th birthday…and as usual, something bad always happens on his birthday….he breaks a an expensive perfume bar, royal guards show up at his house, and much more. The net result is that Jonathan turns up missing and the others find themselves desperate to solve the mystery of where he has gone.

The Assassins of Rome differs slightly in form from the previous books in the series because it is told from two different perspectives, and alternates between the two. The first perspective is that of Flavia (and her group, consisting of Falvia, Nubia, Aristo and Lupus) and the second perspective is that of Jonathan and his uncle as they travel to Rome looking for his mother. This makes the story a bit more exciting and confusing that previous books…but it’s welcome deviation from the regular formula and helps keep the action going, I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if there were big breaks while a narrator explained what was going on. This device made it easy for the story to remain fast paced and exciting.

As with previous books, the author tackles the ins and outs of daily life in 78 A.D., as such we get a look at various people’s perceptions on slavery (including the slaves), life in the royal city, various opinions on the Emperor (and his predecessors), and this book takes a more in depth look at the fall of Jerusalem, which as a theme introduced in The Pirates of Pompeii.
Lawrence’s series is an excellent glimpse into the daily life of the Roman people.

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). Previously, what I felt that there was a bit of a heavy handed Christian message to the series, however it’s much more subtle in this book and is more welcome…woven into the story with more skill. I give it four stars, The Pirates of Pompeii strength is in details and overall, it is a light and entertaining read.
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½ (37 ratings; 3.7)
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