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The Catiline Conspiracy (SPQR, #2)
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The Catiline Conspiracy

(SPQR #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,263 ratings  ·  78 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 ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 21st 2001 by Minotaur Books (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,263 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου
3.5 stars
A nice read... It reminded me my days as a History student!
Georgina Ortiz
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Jamie Collins
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
Christopher Taylor
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second of the SPQR series by Roberts. He's hit his stride here, with humor and intrigue building and the character of young Decius better defined. The book is packed with historical tidbits and fascinating cultural information, but presented in an entertaining way.

Decius is engaged in the tedious duty of Quaestor, overseeing taxes and disbursement of funds, which mostly consists of him sitting around while accountants and slaves do all the work. He stumbles upon a conspiracy that is
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love this mystery series set in ancient Rome. Recurring characters make the history and politics a bit easier to follow this time.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This second book in the SPQR series was not bad. I some ways it is almost a Forrest Gump like story in the sense that the main character seems to end up embroiled in the biggest events of the late Roman Republic. Fairly typical detective story aside from the setting.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed very much the historical aspect of this novel. The Catiline conspiracy of the title was a real event, and I the depictions of Roman life, thinking, and belief seem to be accurately portrayed. I can't personally say this for certain because I am not an expert, but it feels well researched, and corresponds with the few things that I do know about Roman history.

The one major blot on the story was the overly descriptive sex scene about three quarters of the way through the book. It felt
Vicki Cline
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, in-limbo
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.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-mysteries
Not much of a mystery in this one, especially for those who know the history surrounding the latter days of the Roman Republic. In fact, Decius Ceacilius Metellus the Younger discovers the culprits rather quickly, and spent most of the book inserting himself within their ranks to unravel their conspiracy in service to the State, quite on his own initiative. Decius's character improved from he previous book, I think, but he still has a weakness for beautiful women (which I don't blame him for), ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the first book I have read of the SPQR series, so I didn't know the characters and had problems sorting them all out. The Greek doctor Asklepiodes seemed the most interesting. The protagonist, Decius Caecilius Metellus, comes across a series of apparently unconnected murders and tries to figure out their connections; this leads him into unraveling a conspiracy to overthrow the government. There are lots of loose ends at the end of the book, which are probably resolved later in the ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is pretty much what the title implies - a story regarding the Catiline Conspiracy - wherein some Roman senators/officials/aristocracy try to overthrow the Roman government.

This particular historical fiction involves Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, a fictional questor, who decides to investigate some odd murders and gets himself entangled with the conspiracy.

I wanted it to be more of a mystery, but it really wasn't. I still enjoyed it, though maybe not the casual misogyny (which I
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Young Decius Caecilius Metellus, a junior official of the Roman Republic, can't resist a mystery. Where once investigating them was his job, now he has to get special authorizations - and just as well, because if no one senior to him knew what he was doing, he might have been mistaken for a member of Catilina's conspiracy. Catilina's group certainly made that mistake. Catilina planned for Decius to contribute to arson and bloodbath within Rome's walls. If only Catilina's step-daughter didn't ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to this as audiobook and, unlike with nr 1 in the series, took care to follow more carefully. The story itself was once again good and nice to follow. This time I also could remember a bit better who was who, maybe because I've gotten familiar with the names. What I'd have wished for would be a bit more explanation towards the positions (who outranks who, what duties does everyone have) but it doesn't hurt the understanding of the story to not know these things.
I can recommend this
Decius Caecilius Metellus is a young Roman working his way up the political ladder of the Roman Republic when he happens on a corpse, a mystery and a conspiracy which threatens that world. This novel was easy and entertaining bedtime reading, but for a more satisfying journey to ancient Rome, I recommend Colleen McCullough.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a stereotypical drawing room mystery, except that it is set in ancient Rome. That in itself could have made it interesting, but though Roberts gives the reader a lot of facts about life in ancient Rome, it's in the form of telling rather than showing. As a result, there was no sense of place in the novel. It wasn't much more than exposition.
Jelena Milašinović
Honestly so far this is my least favourite book from the SPQR serial. Although I love Decius' witticisms, the setting and the period of Catiline's conspiracy was better described in Steven Saylor's Catilina's Riddle.
Linda Humberstone
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another good book from J Maddox Roberts outlining this true conspiracy. It is informative, amusing and well written. I enjoyed it because you gain a better insight into the politics of the Roman Republic and is has fuelled my interest enough to read Cicero's speeches on the subject.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, crime, read-2017
The story about Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger is ok but the plot about the conspiracy entagled me much. I lost who with whom and why.....

An ok story but nothing more
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, roman
Decius is back in Rome and almost immediately stumbles on a conspiracy against the state. He falls in with Catiline to investigate the grumblings of men who think they are being denied their birth right to rule by new men like Cicero. Bodies pile up as the conspiracy moves forward Decius himself is expected to prove his loyalty to the cabal by killing a friend.
There isn't much of a mystery with this book as it is based on a real conspiracy and the outcome is known. It's more a matter of "will
Catherine Mayo
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Thomas W Shepherd
The Catiline Conspiracy by John Maddox Roberts is an SPQR Roman Republic mystery featuring Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, an up-and-coming Roman senator and junior member of the large Metellus clan, an actual family that played key roles throughout the history of Rome. Roberts is not the greatest writer in the current mystery market, but his historical fiction is unmatched. In a few pages, readers discover they are thinking like a Roman of the 1st century B.C.E., no small feat when you ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second installment in the SPQR series, we again meet Decius Caecilius Metellus a few years after his adventures in Book 1. Now a quaestor (a low-level, public servant), Decius has a boring job as the finance minister of the temple of Saturn (this will in *no* way come back to haunt him in the future /s). On his way to work one day, he stumbles upon a crime scene, decides to investigate, and ends up Forrest Gumping his way into the historical Catiline conspiracy.

For some reason, I did not
Jeffrey Rasley
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, reviewed, roman, 2016
"I am always serious," he said, seriously.
Although written in his usual sardonic style, and with grand Roman colour filled with intrigue and murder, for some reason John Maddox Robert's second book in this excellent series failed to hold my attention in the same way as did his later stories. And towards the end I found my attention wandering. There are still remarkably engaging sections, such as the race to get a sacrificial horse head safely home through crowds determine to stop Decius in his
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blair Hodgkinson
This is another lightly written mystery set in the days before the Roman Republic fell. If the writing is light, the stakes are anything but. The titular conspiracy threatens to topple the entire ruling order in a coup d'état unless the investigating hero, Decius Caecillius Metellus the Younger, can solve several recent murders in Rome and unveil the faces of the cabal planning to seize power over the city and its empire. Along the way, Decius faces the usual dangers (political rivals and ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
PROTAGONIST: Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger
SETTING: Rome, 691 AD
SERIES: #2 OF 13
RATING: 3.25
WHY: This series is very interesting in its depiction of life in Rome in the late 7th century. There have been a series of murders of ordinary people in Rome, and Decius Metellus obtains permission to investigate. He uncovers a vast plot to overthrow the current government. The plot was an afterthought until the second half of the book. The elaborate Latin names of the characters made things
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
The mystery element is almost completely missing from this one. In truth, it feels more like a Hornblower than a Poirot. Our hero lands smack dab in the middle of the Catiline Conspiracy; the way it's told, it's amazing any of them thought it could succeed. Still entertaining in spite of the who-dunnit being answered before the book's halfway mark. More exposure of the Roman's crazy customs (my favorite part of the book is all the stuff about the October Horse), another girl successfully seduces ...more
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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.

Other books in the series

SPQR (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The King's Gambit (SPQR, #1)
  • The Sacrilege (SPQR, #3)
  • The Temple of the Muses (SPQR, #4)
  • Saturnalia (SPQR, #5)
  • Nobody Loves a Centurion (SPQR, #6)
  • The Tribune's Curse (SPQR, #7)
  • The River God's Vengeance (SPQR, #8)
  • The Princess and the Pirates (SPQR, #9)
  • A Point of Law (SPQR, #10)
  • Under Vesuvius (SPQR, #11)
“At this time, about the only thing that was still regarded as perverted was a public display of affection toward one’s wife.” 3 likes
“Think nothing of it,” I said. “We’ve all wanted to kill Clodius from time to time.” 2 likes
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