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SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance (SPQR, #8)
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SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance (SPQR #8)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  573 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
He would rise up as savior of the State, but Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger already has a lot on his mind. In the year of his aedileship, Decius is expected to stage elaborate and expensive games out of his own pocket. Along with his duties of pleasing the crowds with the feats of gladiators and wild beasts, are the more practical, and commonly neglected, ones of ma ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Jan 12, 2013 Maj rated it really liked it
Very good, as usual. I adore this series, combining my love for the Ancient Rome in the 1st century BC with my love of detective stories. Additionally, I definitely enjoyed the character development featured in this book, especially when it comes to Decius, feels very organic. Well done.
Linda Humberstone
May 31, 2017 Linda Humberstone rated it really liked it
Another good read featuring Decius Metellus and his investigations involving the underhand bribery and corruption in both the Roman building trade and the Senate. I love the people, their characters and personalities described in these books and the shenanigans they get up to. It is all so relevant to our own times; nothing changes much!
Joyce Lagow
Now aedile, an elected office which basically oversees the maintenance and repair of Rome's streets, sewers, and public buildings as well as the supervision of brothels, Decius Caecilius Metellus is frantically busy as well as frantically worried. As aedile, if he is to have a prayer of winning the important election to praetor, he must put on during his year in office lavish games and celebrations, guaranteed to beggar him financially. Many candidates obtain financial help from wealthy benefact ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Jane rated it liked it
Quick, light, fluffy mystery set in late Republican Rome. The protagonist, the Aedile Decius is an appealing character. Aediles were low-level civil servants in charge of public works, games, and brothels. In this mystery, a newly built 'insula' [tenement apartment building] has collapsed and the tenants have been killed, including the owners, a charmless, brutal couple. Decius sets out, with his trusty slave, Hermes, to investigate the crime and also possible building code violations. At the sa ...more
Part of me wonders why I keep returning to this series. It IS full of interesting details of Roman life during this time period, and reflects some of the complexity of Roman politics and relations in the empire. The protagonist is maturing as the series progresses and it is difficult not to like his character. The characters are strongly drawn, and there are usually an interesting twist or two as the story progresses. So I've answered my own question on why I keep returning to this series. It is ...more
Christopher Taylor
Jul 23, 2014 Christopher Taylor rated it really liked it
A satisfying volume of the SPQR series. The characters continue to grow and solidify and by this book the main character of Decius is more mature and solid a figure. The slow development of Roman history in the series is satisfying, particularly for someone familiar with the broad events of the tumultuous time period.

Roberts deftly handles the complex politics of Rome and as much of its culture as we understand and can be conveyed in fiction. The matter-of-fact attitude toward religion and super
Jun 05, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it
The author does a very good job setting the stage for each of these books. Details about the city, names of the roads, types of buildings (temple, apartment block, gladiator training school, etc) are given so the reader feels a part of the story. The occasional humorous comment ("sheerness" of a woman's dress or the "perfection" of her breasts) leaves no doubts in readers' minds that the author is a male! And the never-ending family "political" discussions and machinations remind me of my own fa ...more
Georgina Ortiz
May 18, 2012 Georgina Ortiz rated it liked it
Not as enthusiastic with SPQR VIII as I was with the previous installments in this series (e.g. Nobody Loves a Centurion). Maybe because I did not care too much for the topic/theme explored (Roman politics is too much like Philippine politics—nothing new about the extent of Roman corruption for me). However, I still liked it, and there were still a lot of shining moments for Decius. Plus, I wouldn't recommend skipping even one book in this series.

Again, the Kindle version of this book leaves MUC
Sep 05, 2015 Flemming rated it really liked it
John Maddox can do no wrong in my book, so to speak - His SPQR pulp novels are really something apart, and I still devour them as fast as I possibly can whenever I get my hands on one.
His ability to use major Roman events as backdrops for his story on one of the many Mettellius' is awesome, and a great way to both be entertained, but also learn something about the events we know happened in the last days of Roman Republic.
Oct 27, 2013 Bonnie rated it really liked it
I really enjoy this series. It certainly isn't in the same class as Colleen McCullough's series on the fall of the Roman Republic, but then it doesn't have the same objective. This series is lighthearted fun. Mr. Roberts does know his subject (the Roman Republic) although I don't think he has done extensive research on some of the characters. That's OK. For one thing, we see them through the eyes of Decius Metellus, the hero of the story.
Aug 04, 2008 Dorothy rated it liked it
This eighth in the Decius Metellus series features the attention to detail of everyday life in ancient Rome that we have come to expect. Again in order to seek justice, Decius finds himself pitted against very powerful citizens of the state and it is not clear until the end whether justice will in fact prevail. The character of Decius is a very well written and very appealing one. We want to see him triumph over all his obstacles. Fortunately, he usually does.
Lance McMurchy
Jun 05, 2012 Lance McMurchy rated it it was ok
This book was quite a struggle. I can understand what Maddox was trying to do, but it didn’t seem to work like he maybe he wanted to do. Dealing with law surrounding building construction and the role the aedile, I think, was not going to be an easy task to work it in to a story - it just got a bit too complex. Thus it didn’t create the interest to draw the reader into the story. I still continue to read his books. Some are just better than others.
Decius is serving as aedile, the super expensive position in charge of it seems basically running Rome through public contracts and the like. First, he discovers the sewers are clogged then comes a flood bringing that to a seriously gross and damaging conclusion. An apartment building has collapsed killing a lot of people but someone is covering the tracks of flouting building regulations. He must challenge some powerful people and Father Tiber to solve and survive this case.
Roberts' research continues to impress. Here Decius looks into corruption in the building trade in Rome. Here Roberts investigates the very foundation of Rome. From the inside of the Cloaca Maxima to the lupunaria, Decius works to find out who leveled an insula killing hundreds and how far the building corruption extends. All this while waiting for Rome to flood. Excellent.
Apr 12, 2016 Norma rated it it was amazing
It's easier to hide an elephant under a bed than a conspiracy in Rome""
Another delicious Roman romp as our hero, Decius, seeks to uncover shortcutting in the building industry as the water level rises and theatens to seriously flood the city.
Written with panache and humour, full of fascinating detail and robustly read by John Lee, this is a book to thoroughly enjoy
Aug 20, 2015 Ian rated it liked it
Another quick and enjoyable read through the years of late Republican Rome. This time our noble Decius is an aedile, and hunts down the equally noble, corrupt aristos, and their flunkies, whose shoddy building collapsed killing Roman citizens.

Fun, as always, but a tad light. As always, also, I feel that the conclusion was too abrupt. No tidying up of lose ends, no smooth transition.
The ending was alllllllmost a Deus ex Machina, Roberts missing it by a cat's whisker of set up earlier in the book and Decius looks into corruption and murder in the building trades.

Overall not a bad book, but very slow paced and as usual most of the action happening in the last 15 or 20 pages.
Randall Orndorff
Aug 16, 2013 Randall Orndorff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, ebook, history, mystery
This is probably my favorite of the series because of the way it demonstrates Rome's belief in the gods, specifically ones forgotten by our popular culture. Oh, and the ending. That was great, too.
May 10, 2015 Georgene rated it really liked it
What I really like about this series is how authentic everything feels. It is not a period of history I have studied much, but the details are astounding.
Elena. (theresmiling)
My edition: German Audiobook - Audible exklusiv, gelesen von Erich Räuker
Nov 23, 2013 Barbara rated it it was ok
I found this book to be very dull, I could barely get through it. I read this out of sequence maybe I need to read this in order
Konstantinos rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2013
Rafael rated it it was ok
Feb 01, 2016
Knut rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2012
Jacob rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2013
David rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2008
Anne rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2016
Kirk Stephens
Kirk Stephens rated it liked it
Jun 20, 2015
Daemon Condie
Daemon Condie rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2014
Ann Eder
Ann Eder rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2015
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aka Mark Ramsay

John Maddox Roberts is the author of numerous works of science fiction and fantasy, in addition to his successful historical SPQR mystery series. The first two books in the series have recently been re-released in trade paperback. He lives in New Mexico with his wife.
More about John Maddox Roberts...

Other Books in the Series

SPQR (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • SPQR I: The King's Gambit (SPQR #1)
  • SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy (SPQR, #2)
  • SPQR III: The Sacrilege (SPQR, #3)
  • SPQR IV: The Temple of the Muses (SPQR, #4)
  • SPQR V: Saturnalia (SPQR, #5)
  • SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion (SPQR, #6)
  • SPQR VII: The Tribune's Curse (SPQR, #7)
  • Mightier Than The Sword (SPQR 7.5)
  • An Academic Question (SPQR #8.5)
  • The Princess and the Pirates (SPQR, #9)

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