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The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries #1)

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,335 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The place is Ostia, the port of Rome. Flavia Gemina, a Roman sea captain's daughter, is about to embark on a thrilling adventure. Set in a graveyard, marketplace, and courtyards of a Roman city, this fast-paced mystery paints a vivid picture of the life in ancient times.

When the dogs on Flavia's street start dying, she is determined to find out who is killing them--and why...more
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published March 23rd 2004 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published September 20th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,121)
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Jon
So I've been reading a book on Roman triumphs by one of the best classicists writing today, Mary Beard, who holds the chair in classics at Cambridge. I noted in her bio that she has a fairly entertaining blog titled A Don's Life, to which she adds something about once a week. So I eagerly went there and found that she mentioned this excellent series by her old classmate in classics Caroline Lawrence, and highly recommended it. So I immediately tried the first one, and it really was quite a treat...more
Simon Turney
I read this to my little boy as his bedtime story. He's still a little young for it, but enjoyed it nonetheless. So this review is more from me for the adults than anything.

I visited Ostia a number of years ago with my wife and was extremely taken with the place. Now, having just read this book, I can feel that wonder all over again. With the memories of the city, reading the book felt so vivid and real, I could picture every nuance and detail as if I were watching on the screen or even experien...more
Ben Kane
I had the privilege of meeting Caroline Lawrence about two years ago, and I went and bought this, the first of her books, at once, which is something I nearly always do after meeting an author. Given that my pile of "To Be Read" books is never less than 50, and I have a young family, I didn't get around to reading it until yesterday, when I got a chance while on holiday. What a treat it was!

The Thieves of Ostia is a delightful and well-written read, full of accurate yet lightly woven-in descript...more
Sam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Henry
The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence is an exciting book with suprises around every corner! This adventure takes place in the times of the late roman era and happens at the time of a murder! A boy's watchdog was slaughtered and his head was stolen. Four children find a witness and are lead to believe that a man did it, a man whos daughter was recently murdered by a dog with rabies. Can they find him in time before he slaughters more dogs? The moral of this story is that a hero can come from...more
jen
I thought this was a good historical fiction piece for the intended age group. There were enough clues so you could figure out the mystery without it being completely obvious. The history teacher in me enjoyed the historical references and "teaching points" that were well integrated into the story. There was a lot to learn about the period without it becoming a history lecture.
Jemina
Lawrencen Roomalaismysteerit-sarjaa jatkuisi englanniksi yli kymmenen osan, mutta suomalaisen kustantajan kiinnostus taisi loppua alkuosiin. Sikäli sääli, että Lawrence kirjoittaa sujuvaa ja tarinaltaan mukavasti 8-12-vuotiaille soveltuvaa jännäriä. Toisaalta, jos ottaa pois roomalaisympäristön, kirjoissa ei ole mitään erityisjuttua, joka nostaisi ne massan yläpuolelle.

Ajallisesti Ostian koirat liikkuu vajaan kahdentuhannen vuoden takana, Rooman keisarikaudella. Rooman satamakaupunki Ostiassa ta...more
Lolly's Library
A good historical fiction mystery set in the Roman town of Ostia, in 79 CE, aimed at the pre-teen age group. The story contains quite a bit of detail, so it's educational, yet the information is well-distributed, so the reader doesn't feel as though she's sitting in a stuffy classroom, listening to a boring history lesson. The history lives. What pleased me the most was the map of the city, as well as a floor plan of the houses in which the main characters live. As a visual person, being able to...more
Heather
I love this whole series because of the way the author weaves historical details into fun little mysteries. Her characterization is pretty good too so I have enjoyed spending time with the four main characters. These books are written for youth but they're fun and fast to read as an adult if you have any interest at all in classic Roman and Greek culture. You get a great contextual 'view' of life in this time including diet, class interaction, home life, leisure and politics as well as introduct...more
Liz
Jun 22, 2012 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children age 7-11 who like mystery
Recommended to Liz by: Two of my friends
Shelves: four-star-good
As a fan of mystery, I liked this book very much, though it is aimed at a younger audience. The feeling of the book was very exciting and adventurous, with a really good element of friendship. I decided to read the series because my two friends kept discussing them and I had no idea what they were talking about.


Plot of book:

Flavia is an eleven year old girl living in Ostia in Ancient Rome. When someone starts killing the local dogs, Flavia finds friends in her new neighbour Jonothan, slave girl...more
Matti Karjalainen
Caroline Lawrencen "Ostian koirat" (WSOY, 2003) aloittaa Roomalaismysteerit -kirjasarjan, jonka suomennokset taisivat jäädä kolmeen osaan. Sarjan ensimmäisessä osassa roomalaisen merikapteenin tytär Flavia Gemina joutuu ystävineen selvittämään, kuka oikein tappaakaan heidän kadullaan asustavia koiria. (Vuosi on muuten taas 79 jaa, mikä selittynee sillä että toisen osan nimi on "Pompeijin merirosvot).

En innostunut "Ostian koirista" ihan niin paljon kuin olin etukäteen ajatellut, mutta luotettavie...more
Evan
The Thieves of Ostia isn't quite YA lit — it's aimed at children rather than preteens or teens — but it's still more palatable to the adult reader than, say, the Percy Jackson series.

The best quality of The Thieves of Ostia is that it's genuinely educational. It skims over historical bullet points in service of the modern child reader, but it does inspire one to learn more about the setting — even adults who are familiar with Ancient Rome. In the already sparse arena of children’s historical fic...more
Sarah
In this book heroine Flavia Gemina, a Roman sea captain's daughter, takes the reader on a suspense-filled adventure through ancient Rome. Set in 79 AD, Ostia, Flavia sets off to track down her father's stolen signet ring when she befriends a diverse group of characters. They team up together to catch the person responsible for the recent spate of dog killings in Ostia and find out what their motives are.

This book is beautifully written and carefully explains what daily life in Rome was like in...more
Divyesh
The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries, #1) by Caroline Lawrence
A good historical fiction mystery set in the Roman town of Ostia, in 79 CE. The story contains quite a bit of detail, so it's educational, yet the information is well-distributed, so the reader doesn't feel as though she's sitting in a stuffy classroom, listening to a boring history lesson.

It all starts when a number of dogs die in mysterious circumstances. They suspect a person named Avitus to be the killer of the dogs, but who knows; maybe the killer is their friend? During their search for t...more
Rita
nice to read. any teenager studying Latin, or Roman history ought to enjoy it too, it's clearly meant to be educational! But I did enjoy it. In many ways the books seem well written, but sometimes it feels more like she is lecturing us about Roman customs than telling a story, but who am I to say that young people will not read and learn from these descriptions?

Another goodreads reader [Jon Sutton:] says:
One of the best classicists writing today, Mary Beard, who holds the chair in classics at Ca...more
T'Farcenim Retsam
Dec 07, 2012 T'Farcenim Retsam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young children
This is a story about four children living in the ancient Roman city of Ostia Antica. Surprisingly only two of these children are actually Roman: Flavia Gemina, the main character, and Lupus, the last character we are introduced to. The other two are Jonathan, a Jewish boy, Mordecai, his father who is a doctor, and Nubia, an African slave girl who doesn't know that much Latin. They all try to solve who is murdering the dogs in the city. The characters are not all introduced at once though. I tho...more
Ben
Honestly, this one was not good. The history was thrown in, the plot was mediocre, and the characters not believable. Still, I wrote a booktalk.

The Thieves of Ostia, by Caroline Lawrence

The year - A.D. 79. The place - the Roman port city of Ostia. The crime - dog murder. Yes, that's right. Someone has murdered a dog and may strike again. Young Flavia Gemina, daughter of a Roman Sea Captain decides it is up to her to solve the crime. The magistrates have no interest in the crime unless it involv...more
Namratha
A mysterious adventure of four friends à la The Famous Five/ The Secret Seven. The only distinguishing factor : The story is set in 79 A.D. Rome

The first book in “The Roman Mysteries” series, 'The Thieves of Ostia' is more of an introduction to the four main characters. Flavia Gemina, daughter of sea captain Marcus Flavius Geminus. Nubia, the pretty little slave girl who is saved by Flavia and now lives with her. Jonathan ben Mordecai, Flavia’s new jewish neighbour. And Lupus, the mute beggar bo...more
Leah
Jul 10, 2013 Leah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older Children/Teens into Mysteries
Recommended to Leah by: The cover and blurb tempted me
I was drawn to this book by the front cover, and thought a period book would be a new thing to get into, and since I've always like a mystery, I thought these would be good. To be honest, it wasn't amazing but it was pretty good...good enough for me to continue the set anyway!

I enjoyed the story and really loved the characters of Lupus, Johnathan and Nubia. This was my first mystery style book, but I figured that if I like mystery TV shows, then I'll like it in a book. It was great, and the book...more
Sarah Hammerton
The Thieves of Ostia is the first title in Caroline Lawrence's popular Roman Mysteries series.

Flavia Gemina is a real problem solver, who always manages to find her father's missing things. On one of her finding missions, she gets chased by a pack of wild dogs and meets Jonathan and his family. When Jonathan's beloved dog is beheaded in his home and it starts happening to other dogs too, Flavia is determined to solve the mystery. Along the way she meets Nubia, a slave girl, and Lupus, a mute beg...more
Daniel
'Bed time' with Oscar has afforded me time to read books that might otherwise have passed me by, this being one of those, a mix of historical fact with a touch of fantasy. Oscar and I now on our 4th Roman Mystery 'The Enemies of Jupiter' (for whatever reason we don't appear to be reading them in any order but that is Oscar's choice (you can't really argue with a 9 year old on these things!There are bigger fights to be picked!!)).

The books themselves make for an interesting read and Oscar loves t...more
Caroline
I met Caroline Lawrence when she came to Mount Union last year as a guest speaker. She is a Classical scholar as well as an established writer. Though it's obvious she did a lot of research for this book, I don't agree it should be marketed for kids! There are a lot of extremely upsetting situations throughout the book that might not be good for younger kids. I'd recommend this for older teens, at least. The writing was well done, although a bit strange at times. It felt like things were being l...more
Jeanette Johnson
I listened to this book in my car. I had not read one of this series but heard they were very good. The narration was well done and really put you back in the Roman empire. I was extremely surprised at some of the bloody and disgusting descriptions used in the book. I would not be able to recommend these books to a younger audience. They were however, appropriate for the time period.

Flavia Gemina is brilliant at finding things, so it's natural for her to solve mysteries. The daughter of a ship'...more
Clearwater Public Library Staff Picks
I love Ancient Rome and this book really delivers on all that is Ancient Rome. The main characters in this book are all friends who come from different backgrounds and solve mysteries together. You learn about the ancient world in a fun way. If you like a complicated plot and interesting characters, try this series!
Margo Brooks
These are children's books, but they are a lot of fun and I recommend them for kids in 3rd or 4th grade. These books are about 4 children--a sea captain's daughter, a Christian doctor's son, an african slave girl, and a young urchan who has had his tounge cut out who strike up an unlikely friendship and together travel the Roman empire solving mysteries. I've read the first four and the picture that Lawrence paints of ancient Rome is really interesting. Once more, the circumstance the kids find...more
Dolly
This is an engaging story with some mature themes and is the first book in The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. I love that it features a smart, compassionate, and independent young girl as one of the main characters. The book is a quick read and offers an interesting look into ancient Roman history. I enjoyed reading the story and our oldest really liked it too. We look forward to reading the second book in the series, The Secrets of Vesuvius, soon.

Sharon
Intelligent, fearless Flavia loves to solve mysteries. Nubia, a slave girl purchased by Flavia, speaks only Greek; Flavia teaches her Latin and the reader learns Latin words, as well. Jonathan is a Jewish boy whose family keeps a low profile so that they can live and worship in peace. An observant, mute beggar boy, Lupus, has a talent for art expression.

These four friends encounter violence and adventure----imagine being chased by henchmen whose goal is to capture and sell you as a slave. Imagin...more
Suzanne Duncan velarde
AND another series I started because I was looking for new material for my voracious readers in training. So far I haven't convinced them to delve into the series, but I loved it. Juvenile fiction, but not juvenile. Set in ancient Rome. Read it.
Vicki Cline
This is a very entertaining book about four children who become friends in Ostia in 79 AD. The main character, Flavia, is the daughter of a sea captain, and she lives next door to Jonathan, a Jew whose family has converted to the new religion, Christianity. Her family purchases a young black girl, Nubia, as a slave and companion for Flavia, and the fourth member of the group is Lupus, a young beggar whose tongue was cut out some years ago. They make a great group of kids who are handy as solving...more
JasonChan
Flavia went on an adventure with 3 friends. Her friends were Johnathan, Nubia, and Lupus. Her dad lost a ring that her mom left for her dad. She thinks its a animal that stole the ring because there was a print of something that looks like an animals footprint. She's on a journey to find it and how her friends and her go through seeing killing.
This connects to these books I've read before, they are both on mysteries. This reminded me of when my friend lost something and we went through a lot pl...more
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Caroline Lawrence won a scholarship to Cambridge to read Classical Archaeology, then did a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies at University College London. She now lives in London with her English husband and teaches Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Art and French to children.

Series:
* Roman Mysteries
Western Mysteries
More about Caroline Lawrence...
The Secrets of Vesuvius (Roman Mysteries, #2) The Pirates of Pompeii (Roman Mysteries, #3) The Dolphins of Laurentum (The Roman Mysteries, #5) The Assassins of Rome (Roman Mysteries, #4) The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (The Roman Mysteries, #6)

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