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SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy (SPQR #2)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  845 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
It was a summer of glorious triumph for the mighty Roman Republic. Her invincible legions had brought all foreign enemies to their knees. But in Rome there was no peace. The streets were flooded with the blood of murdered citizens, and there were rumors of more atrocities to come. Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger was convinced a conspiracy existed to overthrow the gov ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published 1991)
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Georgina Ortiz
Apr 06, 2012 Georgina Ortiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this second installment of J.M. Roberts' SPQR series. Though I was familiar with Catilina's character (the bearded suspects were no suspense for me anymore), there were a lot of very good parts in the novel; I had a good fill of history, witticisms, useful Latin adages, and plain clever humor (that made me laugh out loud a number of times).

The Catiline Conspiracy makes me look forward to the third book in this series, which is a great thing. It only means more of Ancient Rome for me.
Lance McMurchy
Well, it is more of the same from John. I did enjoy the book, even though it was on the back of other books that have dealt with the Catiline plot to over throw the government. This, for me, took away the suspense of the novel. In fact, it was not much of a mystery, more of explanation of the historical event from the perspective of government questor, being recruited into the group of conspirators.
I think have 'done the dash' with this conspiracy.
Joyce Lagow
In 63 B.C.E., Lucius Sergius Catilina, an aristocrat from one of the oldest families in Rome, planned a coup d'etat to overthrow the Roman Senate as then constituted. Cicero was Consul that year, at the height of his power. The Catiline Conspiracy, as it is now know, was discovered in the nick of time. Catilina himself escaped from Rome, but many of his fellow conspirators were arrested. Cicero, claiming emergency powers, ordered the execution without trial of 6 of the conspirators. His action, ...more
Whoever wrote the blurb for this book didn't read the same story I did. "The streets were flooded with the blood of murdered citizens," it says. I counted five murders, each carried out in a fairly circumspect fashion. A city who could still remember the proscriptions of Sulla hardly blinked an eye at five mundane murders. The blurb is actually the most dramatic part of this book.

I learned a fair amount, not only about the Catiline conspiracy but also about various customs of the time such as th
Catherine Mayo
In the first book in John Maddox Roberts’s SPQR series, The King’s Gambit, Roberts’s decision to embed his murder mystery within major political events of the time deprived Roberts’s hero, Decius Caecilius Metellus, of the chance to see his main perpetrators brought to justice. This – in my opinion - led the concluding pages of the book to fall a little flat.

Roberts avoids this particular pitfall in The Cataline Conspiracy by having Decius infiltrate an inner ring of conspirators around the Roma
I haven't finished this because I kept losing the thread of the plot, so I decided to move onto something else. I didn't dislike it, though, and will pick it up another time when I'm in the mood for it. I think I'd prefer reading this one to listening to it.
I have been working my way through the series and am really enjoying it. Life in the Roman Republic is presented plausibly and accurately as far as I can tell. I suppose some history scholars might disagree with the portrayal of Roman culture and life but it is a believable presentation and I have not detected any serious anomalies or anachronisms in the stories like we see in so much popular fiction.
On top of the historical background, the stories are intriguing, entertaining and funny in many
Jeffrey Rasley
Aug 12, 2013 Jeffrey Rasley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to it on audiobook, so the experience is not the same as reading. I find that I miss some details on audio that I pick up when reading, because it seems easier to re-read than to play back. Not sure why that is. But, seems to me there were two problems with "Conspiracy".

I had not read the preceding book in the SPQR series nor any of the others, so this was my first exposure to John Maddox Roberts. At several points in the book, there were details about Decius that were unexplained. Hi
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 03, 2013 Shannon Appelcline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Stone
To be honest I wouldn't have finished this were the book's subject matter not centered on Ancient Rome. The writing is good but the pace very slow and lost my interest on a few occasions. Surprising really since I love this era, historical fiction and especially historical mysteries. Add in political intrigue and the total should have equated to fascinating.
Young Decius is now a Quaestor, on his way up in Rome, but he has the ill-fortune to, again, annoy the powerful. He becomes involved with Catiline and his conspiracy to overthrow the Roman government, however, on the side of the establishment. Decius informs the consul Cicero of the conspiracy, and aids in the destruction of Catiline and his men.
Jan 19, 2016 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
This one was not quite what I was expecting. It is less of a mystery than it is a summary of the second Catilinarian Conspiracy, with our protagonist inserted as a spy throughout to get us all of the inside information. It was still a good read, with lots of enjoyable bits about Cicero and aspects of pre-Imperial Roman life, but not really a mystery like the first in the series was.
May 21, 2014 Bernadette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second listening of this book. Wanted to hear it immediately after listening to the Roma Sub Rosa series' Catalina's Riddle. While in this book Catalina is a more straightforward character, the historical details are much richer and organic to the story.
Vicki Cline
Aug 27, 2015 Vicki Cline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-mysteries
Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger is now a quaestor, working in the Temple of Saturn, where the treasury is kept. He finds an odd assortment of weapons in one of the little-used rooms in the temple. At the same time, there is a series of seemingly unconnected murders in Rome. There is suspicion that they may be connected to a possible conspiracy to overthrow the government, led by Lucius Sergius Catilina. Decius is encouraged to look into all this by one of his relatives in the government, s ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Ubalstecha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger is back in Rome, and although he is in charge of the treasury now, a chance discovery leads him to a conspiracy to topple the Roman government. When he links this to a series of murders, Decius' investigations lead him into a dangerous game of spying and infiltration that could lead to his own demise or that of one of his oldest allies.

Another excellent mystery set in the time of Rome. The complex nature of Roman society is easily explained by the author, ye
Carol Linder
May 23, 2015 Carol Linder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love following characters through multiple books. Another very enjoyable read!
Jun 08, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roman intrigue. The description of the festivals and the horse racing was terrific.
I do enjoy the historical details about daily routines and Roman political life. The mystery of the main plot was a bit difficult to track, listening to the audio version and trying to sort out those names and alliances. Since books are narrated from Decius' old age, I can't feel he's ever in any real peril. After this 2nd book in the series, the main fault for me is the lack of any three-dimensional female characters so far. That's not egregious enough to put me off the series, though. I look f ...more
I have read about the Catiline Conspiracy a few times now. This was the least informative of the bunch and seemed a bit haphazard. The murders Decius is investigating are much more a sideshow to this and yet the conspiracy is more bungling. Not bad in terms of keeping you interested, but I always felt strung along with little real payday on paying attention.
An enjoyable historical mystery that used the same historical event for the plot as Catilina's Riddle which I read a number of years ago. Roman intrigue and politics are always interesting and the young hero of this series is very engaging. Listened to the audio version which was ably narrated by Simon Vance.
Florencia Quarneti
Maddox Roberts is no Steven Saylor. If anyone likes the genre, Saylor is as gooda as it gets
Ένα βιβλίο που δεν με ενθουσίασε. Ενώ η ιστορία μπορεί να ήταν ενδιαφέρουσα η γλώσσα ήταν πάρα πολύ κουραστική. Πολύ απλοϊκή και το γράψιμο τόσο καθημερινό και βαρετό. Δεν ξέρω αν φταίει ο μεταφραστής ή ο ίδιος ο συγγραφέας. Είναι πάντως πολύ λυπηρό η γλώσσα να είναι ο λόγος που δεν μου αρέσει ένα βιβλίο. Με κάνει να προτιμώ να διαβάζω το πρωτότυπο αντί για μεταφρασμένα στα ελληνικά βιβλία.
Mark Bruce
I will read this series until Mr. Roberts stops writing them (which, sadly, it appears he has at this point). This one only gets three stars from me because it is a bit top heavy on the detailed discussion of the historical event of Cataline's Conspiracy and rather light on the deft charactorizations and intribuing Roman murder mystery which I love most about this series.
I have no idea why I enjoy this series as much as I do. It's not fantastically written, the sex scene wasn't necessary, and the characters don't really seem to grow, but I enjoy it all the same. Again, I'm reminded of Sherlock Holmes stories, and it's an interesting twist to have a "cozy mystery" combined with bloodthristy Romans. I'll be continuing this series.
Siegfried Gony
C'est mal écrit !! Il y a des incohérences, des répétitions mot pour mot qui reviennent plusieurs fois, sans même chercher un effet de style, je pense à Bégaudeau, non, je comprends même pas que les correcteurs aient laissé passé ça. Mais c'est aussi une enquète sur la fin de la République et c'est une leçon d'histoire que j'adore, parmi mes préférés...
The ending was terribly anti-climatic and the action rather vague. The personalities of the peoples involved were well drawn and lush as well as stage on which they moved. Also notably lacking was the dry, sardonic humour of the first volume. Decius seemed more given to patriot "My city, love it or leave it" types of musings this time.
While not as strong as the first book, I still enjoyed this installment. The Catalinarian conspiracy has been tackled by a lot of authors, and I enjoyed that Roberts spends significant time with Cataline himself. Also his descriptions of Rome, its people, festivals, architecture, and political structure, continue to impress.
John Devlin
I'm a fan of the Gordianus' roman mysteries and these share some similarity: murders, a good rinse in Roman mores and milieu, and a fairly likable protagonist. I set a rather low bar and this novel barely vaults over it w/almost no plot to speak of but enough of the Roman history to keep me reading this thin book.
Aug 21, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Good sequel to the first book. I enjoy the peculiar combo of mystery, history, and historical fiction in this series. It's light enough for me to pick it up and go through it in a couple days, but it does such a fine job of world-building that it draws on my imagination too.
Audiobook read by Simon Vance
Series continues well. Rather taken aback by how I have managed to miss so many as I thought I was fairly well up on this genre. My local library seems to have missed Roberts, so it looks as if I need to take out a loan to buy the audiobooks
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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 13 books)
  • SPQR I: The King's Gambit (SPQR #1)
  • 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)
  • SPQR VIII: The River God's Vengeance (SPQR, #8)
  • SPQR IX: The Princess and the Pirates (SPQR, #9)
  • SPQR X: A Point of Law (SPQR, #10)
  • SPQR XI: Under Vesuvius (SPQR, #11)

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“It is one of the most annoying aspects of conspiracy that it compels one to blunder about the streets at night. I got lost several times trying to find the house of Laeca, and it is always embarrassing to have to pound on doors and ask directions.” 1 likes
“Think nothing of it,” I said. “We’ve all wanted to kill Clodius from time to time.” 1 likes
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