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The Water Thief (Aelius Spartianus #1)

3.01 of 5 stars 3.01  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In 304 c.e. Aelius Spartianus, officer and historian at the court of Diocletian in Dalmatia, is writing the biographies of past Roman rulers, including Hadrian, who has been dead for nearly 175 years. Aelius's particular charge is to investigate the unsolved mystery of the drowning death in the Nile of Hadrian's favorite, young Antinous.

Soon his duty turns twofold: the hu
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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"I, Aelius Spartianus, grew up in foreign barracks and am nobody. I will build no palace, but am privileged to write the history of the men who did, and whose work this magnificent City is".

So writes Aelius Spartianus, high-ranking Roman army officer, scholar and historian in his Traveller's Notes, upon entering Rome, in 304AD, reign of Diocletian. I really enjoyed this book with its unusual setting, unusual protagonist, and very good mystery! As Aelius himself muses at one point: he doesn't
Wayland Smith
The detective story has taken many odd forms over the years. Since there are so many, writers look for new twists, ways to make theirs unique and different. Well, this one fits that.

The Water Thief is the story of Aelius Spartianus, veteran of the Roman Army in the year 304. He's been given the Emperor's blessing to write a history of Hadrian, a past Emperor. In the process of doing research, Aelius finds hints that Hardian's beloved's death might not have been an accident.

This launches him on
In this suspenseful and satisfying novel, a Roman military officer pursues a centuries-old mystery after being charged by Emperor Diocletian with writing a history of his predecessor Hadrian. Aelius Spartianus, a decent man and experienced soldier who has hopscotched all over the Empire fighting Rome’s battles, is in Egypt when he comes across a message hinting at danger to Rome that may be connected with the mysterious drowning death of Hadrian’s favorite, Antinous. When he begins to investigat ...more
Keith Currie
In the twilight days of pagan Rome, Aelius Spartianus, soldier and scholar, is commissioned by the emperor Diocletian to write a biography of Hadrian. As part of his research he must travel to Egypt, where a recent revolt has just been crushed, to discover the truth behind the mysterious death of Hadrian's favourite, the youth Antinous two centuries before. Of course Aelius has other more secret business to do for the emperor, not least to report on the prosecution of Christian militants in the ...more
Had trouble getting into this one. Very dense in descriptions with many, many names. Some characters have multiple names both Roman and Egyptian plus long and difficult place names and Egyptian and Roman titles and phrases all over the place. While there was a decent glossary it was still tiring. Overall this was reminiscent of Tey's The Daughter of Time in that the main character is trying to find the truth about the death of Emperor Hadrian's "favorite" by tracking down primary and secondary s ...more
Rather boring when it shouldn't have been, considering the subject matter. Not on a par with other great authors of Ancient Roman mysteries such as Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor. The author wasn't at all clear about what was fictional and what was actual history, which could have been explained at the end of the book.
Sep 13, 2007 Ida rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ris
I enjoyed the indepth descriptions of sites both in Egypt and Rome. The plot involving historical figures was fascinating.
Reasonably functional historical mysteries are getting to be just not enough for my tastes anymore. I need something to go on, charactorization, interesting themes, a humourous voice, anything. The protagonist doesn't have to be likeable, but he needs to have some distinguishing personality traits, and for heaven's sake the pining over the woman he didn't settle down with has been done done done.
Jacquelynn Fritz
This book is written by an Italian historian and you can tell because the book is dry and the names are long. But I did like the mysteries. Aelius, an historian and Roman soldier is ordered to write the history of Hardian and his companion, Antinous. Antinious was found dead and the mystery of his death is never solved, so the author gives her idea of what could have happened. The ending is surprising and sad. Its worth reading if you like Roman history and mysteries.
Naturalmente lo posseggo in italiano, dovrei fare l'inserimento manuale, faccenda che si sa non ho né tempo né voglia, e poi quasi sicuramente la sbaglio. Quindi.
Diamogli pure tre stelline e mezzo per l'ambientazione ben delineata, almeno per quello che ci capisco io, per il resto sarà che ho i neuroni impastati da un maledetto raffreddore ma il tutto mi é parso un tantino banale nel suo arzigogolamento.
"Złodziej wody", read in Polish.
Apr 11, 2008 Steph rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults interested in hisotry
So far pretty good. About Egyptian/Roman history. Gay themes involved. It was pretty good. A very unexpected ending to it. Worth the time to read.
Paula Montgomery
Slow reading, but the mystery itself was interesting. You need a map to help in following the journey.
Three and half stars, rounded up.
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Ben (Maria Verbena Volpi) Pastor was born in Rome, but her career as a college teacher and writer requires that she divide her time between the United States and Italy, where she is now doing research. Author of the internationally acclaimed Martin Bora war mysteries, she begins with Aelius Spartianus a new series of thrilling tales. In addition to the United States, her novels are published in It ...more
More about Ben Pastor...

Other Books in the Series

Aelius Spartianus (4 books)
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  • Le vergini di pietra
  • La traccia del vento
Lumen (Captain Martin Bora, #1) Liar Moon (Captain Martin Bora, #2) The Fire Waker (Aelius Spartianus, #2) Il signore delle cento ossa (Captain Martin Bora, #8) Kaputt Mundi (Captain Martin Bora, #3)

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