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The Ides of April (Ray, Mary, Roman Empire Sequence.) Paperback – May 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Ray, Mary, Roman Empire Sequence.
  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Bethlehem Books (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883937434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883937430
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By TammyJo Eckhart VINE VOICE on December 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
People fantasize about the ancient world and as an ancient historian I'm often amused and annoyed by what these fantasies entail. This is especially true in books written for children and young adults where the nastiness (by our modern standards) of the ancient world are often overlooked and underplayed. Mary Ray's "The Ides of April" does a fairly good job of looking at the concerns of citizens, young people, and slaves in mid-first century Rome. While the murder mystery kicks off sharply I do wish she'd spent more time on the characters before the entire legal nightmare began so that we could be more emotionally invested in the characters. Likewise it ends a bit aburptly. I haven't read any of the other books of the series yet, but it seems like the same characters may not be encountered which is a pity. The characters are well done, they seem to grasp the mindset of the people of that time though I think holding onto a Greek identity when one is born a slave in Rome is a bit awkward. I'd recommend it to anyone between 14 and 20 who is interested in the ancient world or in power dynamics in history. For those of us who are older, it can be entertaining as well.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Heather Tiemens on February 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Part Agatha Christie, part Eloise McGraw ... this book totally blew me away! Mary Ray is terrific, practically creating a whole new genre of books - children's historical mysteries. The plot flows beautifully from one catastrophic event to another, creating a tale of incredible skill and baffling turns.
Not much has been written in the Ancient-Roman category anyway, and this book is made even more unique by its point of view - that of a slave. It exposes the so-called 'glamour' of Rome to be merely a circle of cruelty and struggle. This book is not for the very young, but discerning readers 12 & up will find this book absolutely wonderful. I can't endorse it too strongly!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
The thing about this book was that it felt _REAL_. It was hard to remember it was *just* a book.
You felt the danger; you felt the bruises on the ribs. You wanted the hero to make it. You just didn't find yourself doubting the realness of it.
Now, it's been a couple years since I read this, so perhaps I was just more gullible. But I don't think so. I still remember it, after all this time. Its magic was a special fete considering I had NEVER been interested in the Roman era or historical mysteries.
When the book was over, I wanted it to keep going.
An excellent historical mystery. I highly doubt you'll regret reading it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I think that Mary Ray is a wonderful author and writer, with a great imagination a descriptive skills.
The plot was intriguing, and carefully thought over.
I could feel everything happening, as though I were right next to Hylas, the 17-year-old slave, and Camillus, the 18-year-old tribune.
There are intense scenes, but nothing that an 8-year-old can't handle. ALmost no romance, and there is a large dipslay of compassion, loyalty, and discerment in the two boys.
I thorougly enjoyed her book, though it was a LITTLE confusing. (but it was almost midnight when I read it, and my brain was half-way asleep by then).
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Ides of April is a historical fiction story by Mary Ray. Ray uses her unique skill to write a beautifully laced murder mystery in Rome 62 AD. Hylas is a young slave in the household of Caius Pomponius, a Roman senator. One horrible night, Caius is murdered in his sleep and all the slaves are rounded up and sent to prison to be murdered, except Hylas and Assinius, who disappeared right after the murder. Camillus, a military tribune, Varro, a porter, and Caius's aunt, Matidia, befriend Hylas. Together they race against time to find the murderer, bring him to justice, and free all the slaves kept in the dank and rotting prison. Ray creates an interesting ancient murder story by intertwining the glory of the Roman Empire with the death and destruction that comes with it, but, unfortunately, she introduces too many characters with similar names all at the same time which causes much confusion to the reader and makes it hard for them figure out who is who and who did what. Ray also creates the characters as though to make them distant from the reader. She creates them without any feelings so that the reader cannot say, "Yeah, I can relate to that." But, all in all, this is a good book because of the way Ray adds a gripping plot and twists and turns at every page. This story will interest younger teens and adults. I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Wilson on March 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
As homeschoolers, we loved this book. It went along with our study of Ancient Rome - but would be exciting for anyone who likes historical novels and mysteries. The sequel, Beyond the Desert Gate, is also great!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By HC on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Since I am studying Ancient Times in school, I thought I should read this. This book is about a young slave boy, Hylas, growing up in a senator's home. When the senator is found dead in his chamber all accusations fall on the servants of the household. Will Hylas be able to prove the servants innocent? Or will all the slaves die, including Hylas' mother?

Mary Ray the author of this book, has done a fantastic job of writing this. The storyline makes you feel like you are a part of the book. It was so intriguing that I could hardly put it down. I highly recommend this book for someone who loves mysteries and suspence. I also enjoyed the sequel, Beyond the Desert Gate.
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The Ides of April (Ray, Mary, Roman Empire Sequence.)
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