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SPQR XIII: The Year of Confusion: A Mystery (The SPQR Roman Mysteries) Paperback – January 18, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“That readers know Caesar's ultimate fate in no way detracts from the enjoyment of this inventive historical.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Decius' first-person narrative is as sharp as ever, and the customary map and generous glossary will help transport readers back to ancient Rome.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
As usual in the series, Decius sets a light tone, bantering casually through Rome's highest social circles. However, behind the light mood, there are many darker notes. For example, it slowly becomes clear that Decius is now the last survivor of his formerly powerful family and he needs to move with more care than before. Decius gently touches on the various ambitious politicians orbiting around Caesar amidst hints of emerging conspiracies.
The murder mystery is adequate but the real fun comes from touring Rome with Decius, seeing its sights and studying its ways. A good four stars.
Quick historical note: Although Decius is fictional, the Caecilii Metelli were real. In their day they were one of the greatest of the plebian families, with at least ten "Quintus Caecilius Metellus"es becoming consul, but they vanished from history after siding against Caesar in the Civil War. Our fictional Decius may owe his survival to his happy marriage to Julia, a (fictional) niece of Caesar.
It isn't bad, it just seems to have less of what Roberts usually provides: wit, pace and interesting twists. By all means give it a try, but wait for the paperback, or check it out of the library.
[MORE SPOILERS, although these events are mentioned in passing, not really as part of the narrative...]
That said, I kept wondering if I had somehow missed a book in the series. His family is _dead?_ His father is dead?!? And this happens off-screen? Not to mention Milo! I really liked Milo--he was such a thug, but such a pal. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I don't mind it when some of Roberts' books, like this one, occur in the interstices of history. After all, that's how most Romans would have experienced their lives. And I could forgive him skipping Decius's marriage to Julia, but the extermination of his entire family--that didn't rate a novel, or at least part of a novel?
So here's hoping that he writes an SPQR XIV and gives us a little more back story. Plus, I'm really hoping the series continues into the Augustan reign--I've always hated that guy, but I think Decius (and maybe Roberts too) hates him even better--more precisely, sardonically, and snarkily, which should be fun.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John Maddox Roberts, using the first person of a Roman politician takes you to the time of Julius Caesar. The emperor revamps the calendar and orders our hero to enforce it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by R. Darnell
This is the last one in the series. I'm so sad. A light but funny and educational look at ancient Rome.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
None of Roberts' works are masterpieces of literature. They are all FUN to read! I hope that he keeps producing them. I am waiting for SPQR XIV!Published 22 months ago by Frank Harrison
This, I presume, is the final book in Roberts’ SPQR series; it ends more or less with the assassination of Julius Caesar, and this book was published in 2010 and there hasn’t been... Read morePublished on June 9, 2014 by D. G. Hulan
Decius is still with us, and still deliciously cynical. He is, however, getting older and more tired, and so is the series. Read morePublished on December 28, 2013 by Anne Mills
The book was typical of the series. I am very interested in Roman history so I really enjoyed the parts where Roberts talks about the day to day life in Rome at the time of Julius... Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by L. C Glover
This was my least favorite in the series. It just doesn't have the excitement or story line I've come to enjoy in his books and I found the ending dead and disappointing. Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by Vita
And so the end has come. For the series, the Caecilii Metelli, Decius Caecilius Metellus. And for me, a great fan of SPQR, it is more bitter than sweet. Consummatum est. Read morePublished on September 6, 2012 by Georgina Ortiz
The Year of Confusion refers to the first year of a new calendar mandated by Caius Julius Caesar, who recently became the Dictator of Rome. Read more