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SPQR Books In Order

Publication Order of SPQR Books

The King's Gambit (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Catiline Conspiracy (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sacrilege (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Temple of the Muses (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Saturnalia (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Nobody Loves A Centurion (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tribune's Curse (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The River God's Vengeance (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Princess and the Pirates (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Point of Law (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Under Vesuvius (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Oracle of the Dead (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Year of Confusion (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

“SPQR” by author John Maddox Roberts are a series of historical mystery novels that are set during the Roman Republic. It is set between 70 BC to about 20 BC; there are both stories and novels to the series. Senator Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger narrates the novels in the first person. He is the nephew of Metellus Pius and is a part of the Roman Senate because he is part of the Caecilius Metellus family. Old Decius tells the stories, and writes them during Augustus Caesar’s reign.

Later on in the series, Decius marries a woman named Julia Caesaris, who is Julius Caesar’s niece. This is a fictional character that was created by the author. Sometimes in the books, he gets some help from a young Julius Caesar.

SPQR stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus, which is latin for “The Roman Senate and People”. This is the official name of the Republic.

The first novel was titled simply “SPQR” when first released in the year 1990. When the sequels came out, it was changed to “SPQR I: The King’s Gambit”. This was to give allow them to use roman numerals to show which installment in the series was which.

“SPQR”, the first novel in the series, was nominated for an Edgar award (in the best mystery category).

“SPQR I: The King’s Gambit” is the first novel in the “SPQR” series and was released in the year 1990. This novel is set in 70 BC. In Crassus and Pompey, evil gangs rule the streets, always attacking patrician and plebian. So when a ex-slave is garroted, and a foreign merchant is disemboweled, it does seem very important to Roman hierarchy. Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger is going to investigate what happened. Through all of the investigating that he does, he finds that the government that he works for is corrupt. So much so, it could destroy him and itself.

Fans of the novel found Metellus to be objective about himself and the world that he is in; not to mention a likable character that is well drawn. There is a vivid and well done recreation of what it was like to live in Rome and of ancient Rome itself. Taking readers back to this long ago time and place really make the story work. Readers found that they were pulled into the story and made a fan of this series right off the bat.

“SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy” is the second novel in the “SPQR” series and was released in the year 1991. This novel is set around the years of 63-62 BC. Legions of Romans brought the empire’s enemy to their knees; it all happened in one glorious summer. While in Rome though, no one sees peace, of any kind. Murdered citizens’s blood is all over the place, and there seems to be more awful things coming. Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger was certain that there was a plan to overthrow the government. An awful group that can only be ruined from within. This traitorous society allows admission, but you must pay a large price. It may require the life of Decius’s dearest friend and possibly his own.

Fans of the novel enjoyed all of the historical references that are found in this book. This novel has a main character that you like some things he does, but other times he does unlikable things to survive in the world that he finds himself in. Readers found that there are some accurate historical things thrown in to this book that really helps make the novel feel real. Some readers find themselves hooked on this series.

“SPQR III: The Sacrilege” is the third novel in the “SPQR” series and was released in the year 1992. This novel is set around 62-61 BC. Decius is supposed to figure out who infiltrated a sacred woman’s rite in ancient Rome. The corrupt patrician did so by wearing female garb. Four murders follow, Decius gets the help of a big time dangerous criminal to help solve the crime. They find a connection between the murders and the sacrilege. They are able to track the offenders from the top of the upper class, to the lowest members of society. They also find corruption and violence in the very place that Decius least expected to.

Fans of the novel found there to be gripping action and political intrigue that was complex in the novel. The plot will keep the reader guessing, and putting together the clues right along with Decius. It is a big murder mystery with deeper reasons than normally found in such a book. Roberts is able to write about real characters, making them feel that they are people that you know or have met somewhere before.

“SPQR IV: The Temple of the Muses” is the fourth novel in the “SPQR” series and was released in the year 1999. This novel is set in the year 60 BC. Decius gets a break from his enemies by going to Alexandria on a diplomatic mission. It means that he will have to leave Rome (which is also known as the Eternal City). There are many things for him to enjoy, and right when he is starting to, a death occurs under suspicious circumstances. It is an irascible philosopher that happens right around the same time that a charismatic cult leader rants and raves about apocalypse. The Egyptian Pharaoh gives Decius permission to look into the awful crime. It shocks him beyond belief, what he finds out. A famous courtesan is found in his bed, why he does not know. He does know that he has been pushed in a large conspiracy that is bigger and dangerous and far reaching than he thought possible. It could just bring down the entire Roman Empire.

Fans of the novel found that there is a lot of humor, thrills, and action found in the novel. Decius seems to be like the James Bond of historical novels. He fights dirty and is both a lover and a fighter. The action is plentiful and the pace is breakneck. You get educated while you are being entertained. These are some fascinating and unputdownable reads. Some feel that these books get better and better the more that Roberts writes of them.

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