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The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,972 Ratings  ·  183 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
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published March 23rd 2004 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published September 20th 2001)
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May 14, 2009 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.J.A. Turney
May 01, 2012 S.J.A. Turney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben Kane
Mar 02, 2012 Ben Kane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2011 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2012 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katy Noyes
Jan 27, 2016 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I missed these in my own childhood, but would have loved this sort of series. It's a wonderful first book to a series set in Ancient Rome, always a favourite period for primary students, and involving children solving mysteries and murders.

With Sherlock so popular at the moment, the detective genre should receive a boost, and the fact that this is quite instructive on life in Roman times as well as including a murder and several personable young amateur sleuths is in its favour.

Wealthy Flavia an

Le titre français est "Du Sang sur la Via Appia".
Ce roman historique jeunesse se déroule dans la ville portuaire d'Ostia en 79 après JC.
Les 4 jeunes protagonistes enquêtent sur les meurtres de plusieurs chiens de la région. C'est plutôt bien mené, quelques détails historiques sur la Rome Antique parsèment le roman, les personnages sont attachants. C'est certainement un peu trop rapide dans l'enchainement des péripéties, mais le dénouement est convainquant !
A voir si je peux mettre la mai
Femke Vos
Jun 26, 2016 Femke Vos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant childrensbook!
I would certanly recommend it for learning the English language to anybody between 12 and 16 and again when they are over 20. Between 16 and 20 years of age, people will either know their English well or find themselves 'to old for this' like many teenagers and young adults do.
Also a really nice tale to read to children under 10 before tucking them in.
A good first mistery novel!
Feb 28, 2008 jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
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.
Isaa Hall
Feb 12, 2017 Isaa Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was full of interesting information about Rome and kept me on edge throughout. The Thieves of Ostia is an easy read and I liked it very much. I would recommend this book to a teenager or child.
Sophia Koskinen
I used to read this series because my mom is a Latin teacher, and I was obsessed with Greek & Roman mythology. Maybe I'll re-read it sometime? I barely remember anything, except for the fact that "Flavia" means nice hair or something like that xD
Jan 23, 2017 Rosie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how excruciatingly obvious the solution to the central mystery is, but I also found myself discovering subtext I completely missed as a humble 9 year old reading it for the first time, which I consider a pretty even trade off.
Sian Percival
Oct 24, 2016 Sian Percival rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though this series is written for kids i just love these books. So acurate to the times and enjoyable to read.
Jan 03, 2017 Suraya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was kind of boring, it kept moving on from one scene to another in a rush, too quickly.
Melissa Pinkley
Jan 09, 2017 Melissa Pinkley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very Interesting

Set in the Ancient Roman Empire, this mystery subtly teaches a lot about the culture and beliefs of the time.
Good mystery, although a bit predictable due to the lack of characters. Still, a great start of a series.

3,5 stars.
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
Mrs G
Dec 23, 2016 Mrs G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-for-school
Great adventure story for ks2. I would've loved this when I was a child (rather enjoyed it as a 'grown up'!). First in a series. I like how it combines history with adventure. Have recommended to my Year 3s - currently out on loan.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

The Thieves of Ostia takes place in June of the year 79 A.D. Flavia Gemina is a young Roman girl who lives with her father and who has a talent for solving mysteries. She and her friends - a Christian named Jonathan, a mute boy named Lupus, and a slave girl named Nubia whom she purchases to rescue her from abuse - are troubled when they learn that family guard dogs are being beheaded and left to die in their neighborhood. When they learn that
Good storyline with interesting characters and a compelling mystery. I was pleasantly surprised at how the author did not shy away from controversial topics (slavery, religion, animal brutality, homelessness, and suicide) in a novel that is geared towards pre-teens. This does not mean the author is taking a moral stance on these issues, especially when it comes to slavery. For instance, Flavia may express horror at seeing the slaves marched through the streets and uses her birthday money to buy ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidbooks, booktalked
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
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
T'Farcenim Retsam
Dec 07, 2012 T'Farcenim Retsam rated it really liked it  ·  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
Matilda Rose
Flavia Gemina uncovers several priceless treasures while searching for her father's signet ring in a magpie's nest. She returns the ring to her father and takes the other goods down the market to sell. While she does so, she sees Venelicius the slave trader marching a parade of naked slaves around the market. She sees a Nubian slave girl called Nubia and feels sorry for her. Flavia decides to buy Nubia with her money. She and Nubia become best friends. Flavia teaches Nubia to speak Latin with he ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children age 7-11 who like mystery
Recommended to Liz by: Two of my friends
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
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
Oct 10, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread-in-2015
Review written: 18th December, 2015

The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence

Why I read it: It wandered into a Kindle sale recently, one that got me to realise “Huh, I liked this series growing up! I think.” So even though I wasn’t sure if I’d read this one or not (I had, but I barely remembered it) I decided to get it.

Rating: 3/5

What I thought: What strikes me the most about this book in hindsight (and while I was reading it) is that it gets kinda dark at times, which I wasn’t expecting. I mean,
Aug 31, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 03, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
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
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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.

* Roman Mysteries
Western Mysteries
More about Caroline Lawrence...

Other Books in the Series

The Roman Mysteries (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Secrets of Vesuvius (Roman Mysteries, #2)
  • The Pirates of Pompeii (Roman Mysteries, #3)
  • The Assassins of Rome (Roman Mysteries, #4)
  • The Dolphins of Laurentum (The Roman Mysteries, #5)
  • The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (The Roman Mysteries, #6)
  • The Enemies of Jupiter (The Roman Mysteries, #7)
  • The Gladiators from Capua (The Roman Mysteries, #8)
  • The Colossus of Rhodes (Roman Mysteries, #9)
  • The Fugitive from Corinth (The Roman Mysteries, #10)
  • The Sirens of Surrentum (The Roman Mysteries, #11)

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