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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The theives of ostia
The Theives of Ostia is the first of an amazing series of 6. It begins in Ostia, port town of rome in about 90 ad. 4 children meet up to solve a mystery, this book contains many cliffhangers and shocks that will send your mind reeling. Secrets and lies tangle up in this book and at the end all ends meet. The Theives of Ostia contains magnificent historical detail, many...
Published on July 7, 2003

versus
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fast-paced story, but annoying distortions
This fast-paced story leads young readers through an action-packed adventure while
trying to introduce them to Roman life in the first century CE. While the story
grabs the reader's interest from start to finish, historical distortions abound.
Historical objects and their uses are described well in context, and the violence of
everyday life feels...
Published on December 30, 2002 by Jenny Sayward


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The theives of ostia, July 7, 2003
A Kid's Review
The Theives of Ostia is the first of an amazing series of 6. It begins in Ostia, port town of rome in about 90 ad. 4 children meet up to solve a mystery, this book contains many cliffhangers and shocks that will send your mind reeling. Secrets and lies tangle up in this book and at the end all ends meet. The Theives of Ostia contains magnificent historical detail, many classic teachers use these books as reference for their teaching. This book also shows how the tension mounted between pagans, jews and christians in the great roman empire. This book is marvellously entertaing as well as educative! The most entertaining part in the books is when you expect something to happen but it always happens in the opposite way that you would have imagined. The theives of Ostia even contains slight humour. But this book is not all about adventure and small children, it has love and the feelings of rejections. Some deaths in this book have brought me to tears, this is a truly emotional novel. The reason I chose this rating is because this book contins a touch of every style of writing possible and merges it together, it combines the best with the best! A competiter worthy of J.K. rowling. A must read for all children intrested in the roman empire!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Educational, April 12, 2006
By 
Mary E. Po (San Bruno, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Flavia is a Roman girl with a nose for danger. With her gang of friends, she sets off on an investigation to find the real answers for the sudden and very questionable deaths of the dogs in her neighborhood. This is first and foremost a historical fiction novel. However, it is also very much a mystery caper and spine-tingling and bone-chilling adventure all rolled into one. The Thieves of Ostia is an academically-enriching experience. Perhaps the best part of Lawrence's book is that the educational aspect of this story is wrapped under a guise of entertainment, thereby making it easier for children to not only learn about Roman life in the year A.D. 79, but also to WANT to learn more about it. In fact, even adults will find Lawrence's book fun and amusing to read. Lawrence succeeds in providing a balance of a good story with a good dosage of factual information.

The Thieves of Ostia has italicized vocabulary words such as bulla and much more within its pages. In this way, children will learn new terminology that relate to Roman life. Librarians and teachers will find that though this book is meant for third grade and up, this is a novel with material useful to older kids as well. There are literary allusions to Pliny and references to the Aeneid by Virgil. This is a perfect companion book to a classroom study on Roman life and living.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fast-paced story, but annoying distortions, December 30, 2002
This fast-paced story leads young readers through an action-packed adventure while
trying to introduce them to Roman life in the first century CE. While the story
grabs the reader's interest from start to finish, historical distortions abound.
Historical objects and their uses are described well in context, and the violence of
everyday life feels realistic. But social relationships are modern and contrived.
Twenty-first century cultural diversity is forced upon the cast of characters so that a
rich sea captain's daughter, a Jewish/Christian convert boy, a black Nubian slave,
and an abused tongueless beggar boy become instant friends to solve a crime.
Unrealistic depictions of human nature, scientific fact -- even dog behavior --
distract from the story at every turn. The special thrill of historical fiction, of
immersing oneself in a different time, is missing here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A CAPTIVATING READING, June 25, 2004
Bookstores are awash with detective/thriller stories boasting female protagonists. Yes, we have met quite a few brave, clever gals who can solve a mystery without chipping their manicures. However, I venture to say there are none like Flavia Gemina, introduced in Caroline Lawrence's debut novel.
You see, Flavia is a Roman sea captain's daughter who lives in 79 A.D. She's a carefree young miss who lives with her Dad in the port city of Ostia. She's also an animal lover, so when the dogs on her street start dying she is bound and determined to find out who is killing them and why anyone would perpetrate such senseless acts.
Kim Hicks, a very talented Brit who has performed in praiseworthy one-woman shows, gives captivating voice to Flavia and her buddies - including neighbor Jonathan; Nubia, a slave girl; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy.
As the group sets about solving the mystery they uncork a genie's bottle of adventures, escapades, and narrow escapes.
Listeners will particularly enjoy the setting of this tale as they learn something about life in ancient Rome.
- Gail Cooke
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!!!!!, June 14, 2002
A Kid's Review
The book I am reviewing is a fictional story.
It is an adventure / mystery set in Ostia the port of ancient Rome in the year 79 AD.
The main characters are four children, Flavia Gemmina a Roman sea captains daughter, Nubia an African slave girl, Jonathan a Jewish boy and Lupus the mute beggar boy who become friends. The book is about who is killing the dogs of Ostia.
My favourite bit of the story is when they found that there were only two people that could have done the killings of the dogs but they don't know witch one did it and when they discovered the tomb of the Girl that was killed by a mad dogs bite.
I feel quite sorry for them because they are always in dangerous situations. My favourite character is Lupus because he's the bravest.
I'd really like to meet them in real life because I'd get myself into big scary adventures.
This book is 195 action packed pages long together with maps and my one is signed by the author.
I would recommend this book for age seven and upwards. To Boys and Girls, especially if you are interested in history.
Anyone who is of a nervous disposition, pregnant or if you have a weak stomache or has heart-disorder
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
By
Ollo Weguelin
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book for all ages - a 13 year old's perspective, May 3, 2002
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A wonderfully, creative story.
Funny, thrilling, and a refreshing change from typical adventure stories. The four main characters - Flavia, Nubia, Johnathan, and Lupus - share adventures in Ancient Rome. Nubia was a slave girl who Flavia, the daughter of a ship captain, rescued from an otherwise grueling life. Lupus was a beggar boy who Johnathan's father took in. The four inadvertently uncover a plot devised by an unlucky young man with gambling debts to gain wealth.
An excellent and witty story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anxiously awaiting future episodes!, May 3, 2002
By 
Daniel Weiss (Los Gatos, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I read 'Thieves' in one sitting, and loved the fast-paced adventures of the young band of Roman friends!
Falvia Gemina, the smart young Roman girl, is joined by a group of friends as a mystery unfolds in her own home town in Italy.
Each page is filled with the sights, sounds, smells, and cultural authenticities that bring this story (set in 79A.D.) to vivid life. The book is exciting for younger adults (but not for the very young...), and adult enough to offer something for everyone.
I am a fan of a good mystery, and this first of several episodes kept me guessing and gave me a terrific introduction to this fresh and well-written series.
I am awaiting the next in this series of tales of long,long ago.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Roman mystery!, August 3, 2005
79 AD. in Ostia, a port in Rome is a hectic year for Flavia Gemina. Being attacked by a fearsome pack of wild hounds while reteiving a precious item of her fathers, Flavia makes friends with the exotic neighbours, especially a young boy named Johnathon. Buying a slave girl as a friend: Nubia, Flavia has plenty of fun until Bobas the dog next door is beheaded. Flavia finds herself thrown into a a slightly dangerous mystery which she is determined to solve. Suicides, executions and dangerous slave traders, Flavia learns all about life and different religions in the ancient Roman world.

Caroline Lawrence has done a wonderful job on such an influencial and creative book.'The thieves of Ostia' is a wonderful Roman novel that will enhance you in the mysteries and adventures of young and rich Roman girl: Flavia Gemina.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buffy meets Ben Hur?, June 7, 2002
By 
"gnanimals" (Palo Alto, Calif) - See all my reviews
Or Nancy Drew meets Gladiator?
Take a feisty female detective like Nancy Drew, put her in Ancient Rome among gladiators, slave-dealers and pirates, give her a 'scooby gang' of flawed but loveable allies, pit her against dastardly bad guys, then season with paganism, christianity and judaism. What have you got? Something completely new and very tasty: The Roman Mysteries. This series is going to be HUGE!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Mystery, June 23, 2008
This review is from: The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries) (Paperback)
I came upon the Roman Mystery series by chance and since I enjoy novels set in Roman times I investigated a bit further, and after visiting Caroline Lawrence's web site I decided to read the series (now up to 17 books). I enjoy historical novels about Rome and have read several, including those of Robert Harris, but I have not read any mystery books before. The Roman Mysteries is intended for children (ages around 9 - 12) but I think that adult readers will enjoy them just as much because they are skillfully written and present Roman daily life in an interesting and very down-to-earth way. I liked the details that Ms. Lawrence included such as colors, which provide a little extra detail that bring her scenes to life. Just to name one item of accuracy, I appreciated the banquet scenes where the children sit at a table instead of recline because they are not yet adults.

The characters are well thought out and compliment each other. Flavia Gemina is a precocious girl who has been well-educated by her father. Her next-door neighbor Doctor Mordecai being Jewish adds to the color of the story and reminds us of the vastness of the Roman Empire and the intermixing of cultures that occurred in such places as Rome. Doctor Mordecai's son Jonathan is quite a resourceful friend for Flavia as she pursues the mystery of this story and when they find themselves in trouble. The character of Nubia introduces slavery into the story and provides plenty of discussion on the treatment of slaves and how they were viewed by the Romans. Nubia, being from Africa, brings a more exotic culture into the story. She is fortunate in that Flavia has compassion over her plight (and the fact that they are about the same age) but for this story Nubia remains a slave and although treated as a friend she is still Flavia's property. The final character of the four children is Lupus who is a child of the streets and as such can do things and go to places where Flavia and Jonathan dare not enter.

The Thieves of Ostia is well-written and fast paced; the kind of book that you do not want to put down until all has been revealed. Having read some of the other reviews I can say that I did not think that Christianity was overly emphasized and even though three of the dogs in the story are brutally killed Ms. Lawrence does not include horrific descriptions that I found disturbing and I do not think that older children would be either. The book has a helpful map of Ostia and a glossary in the back for terms used that are probably not familiar for a younger reader. My wife thought it interesting that the chapters are referred to as scrolls, making a neat reference to the way ancient books were written. I am looking forward to the other books in the series and, if we are lucky enough in the US, to see the television series based on the Roman Mystery books.
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The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries)
The Thieves of Ostia (The Roman Mysteries) by Caroline Lawrence (Paperback - April 1, 2002)
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