Primary links

Reviews


little_classical_association_logo.jpgClassical Association Prize
In 2009, Caroline Lawrence won the Classical Association Prize for her Roman Mysteries series. The prize, which is worth £5000, is awarded annually for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics'. The award was presented on Sunday 5th April 2009, at a ceremony held in Glasgow.
 



The Thieves of Ostia

'Caroline Lawrence is a terrific storyteller and a delightfully readable and accessible writer with characters that children will relate to. Her picture of daily life in Ancient Rome is wonderfully vivid. But THE THIEVES OF OSTIA is first and foremost a whodunnit, with lots of twist and cliffhangers and a mystery for the reader to solve.'
Kate Tolhurst, Waterstones

'A fast-paced, crackling good mystery is set in "the tenth year of the Emperor Vespasian" ... young mystery-lovers will be eager for the next.'
Kirkus Reviews (U.S.)

'Set in 79 AD, this is an action-packed adventure, infused with a conscious introduction to Roman civilisation, or the lack of it. There is incidental - but crucial - detail about house design and social structure, but it never compromises the instantly accessible adventure element which has trans-century appeal.'
The Guardian

'Fresh, original and easy to read, with attractive characters children can identify with, this is the first in a series with the potential for a very big readership.'
The Lion & Unicorn Bookshop

'I wish these books had been around when I was a boy!'
Steven Saylor

'The wonders of ancient Rome weren't quite so wonderful in my schooldays… but this is about to change all that...If they liked Gladiator, young readers will appreciate this too.'
Belfast Telegraph

'The story gets the reader involved from the very first page... '
Family Circle

'As well as being an excellent adventure mystery, this novel shows the way people lived in Roman times... ' Scottish Book Trust choice

'The historical, cultural details are authentic and are handled well and they never prevent the story from racing along…'
Irish Times

'Good news, it's the first in a new series… '
Primary Times

'Lawrence expertly puts her young characters into their first century C.E. context without making them seem too alien, and she convincingly develops their friendship...'
Booklist (U.S.)

'Vivid descriptions of architecture, economy, and politics lend an authentic note... An enjoyable mystery, and more.'
School Library Journal (U.S.)

'Those looking for thrill-a-minute entertainment will find their fill of near-catastrophic events here...'
Publishers Weekly (U.S.)

'... readers will get a fine introduction into Roman culture.' San Jose Mercury (U.S.)

'[The Roman Mysteries] seem to be eagerly devoured by most children aged eight to about 12 who encounter them. There are several in the series but the first, The Thieves of Ostia, is set in the eponymous port of Ancient Rome... Such is the addictive power of these books that when I casually suggested [to my children that] we might visit the place on our next holiday, I was nearly knocked over by the response...'
Nick Trend, Travel Telegraph
 



The Secrets of Vesuvius

'Lindsey Davis for young readers.'
Financial Times

'a fresh type of historical novel full of drama and fun...This series promises many delights to come.'
The Times

'My only regret at finishing this book is that it was not longer...'
Simon Scarrow

'...so well-paced and involving that you don't realise just how much information you are absorbing.'
School Library Association

'Four children living in ancient Rome witness of the most tragic events of their time.'
Birmingham Post

'Set against the rich and foreboding backdrop of the last days of Pompeii, this is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!'
Ottakar's

'... immensely readable ... an enormous amount of information is conveyed under the guise of a jolly good romp.' Times Educational Supplement (Fiona Lafferty)
 



The Pirates of Pompeii

'Really good - recommended!'
cool-reads.com

'... a riveting read... best of the series up until now.'
Mary S. Moffat

'The Pirates of Pompeii does not disappoint...' The Bookseller

'It's time for Flavia and her friends to turn detectives again in this third tale of the exciting Roman Mystery series.'
Primary Times

'Nancy Drew... and... Homer's Iliad... It was these twin obsessions that provided the inspiration for the series.' Rochdale Observer
 



The Assassins of Rome

'...an extremely palatable and accurate introduction to ancient Rome.'
Juliet Townsend, The Spectator (Dec 2002)

'...Combining history and mystery, this brilliant set of novels is perfect for literacy hour...'
Child Education (Jun 2002)

'Lively characters, exciting plotlines and the vivid evocation of life in Ancient Rome makes this series hugely popular.'
Borders Summer Magazine (2003)

'Lawrence has succeeded in not only vividly and accurately recreating the world of ancient Rome, but has also written some really exciting, child-centred thriller stories...'
Northern Echo (Aug 2003)



The Dolphins of Laurentum

'Word of mouth recommendations, and school visits by the author... have made Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries into one of the success stories of the year...'
Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times

'The Roman Mysteries, of which this is the fifth, have already become a useful tool for schools throughout the country in helping children grasp facts about the Roman Empire in the context of exciting adventure stories...'
Michael Green

'When I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I felt I could spring into the book and be in Ancient Rome, doing the mystery with the kids. I loved it!'
Karis (8) for Education Otherwise

'Packed with adventure and effortlessly deployed detail culled from Pliny and Juvenal... enjoyable entertainment.' The Independent on Sunday

'The Dolphins of Laurentum will delight your children…An enjoyable and educational book'
Norwich Evening News

'Ditch those old Famous Five books (yes, I loved them too) and read this far superior version instead.'
Frances Perkins, Daily Echo Magazine
 



The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina

'Flavia takes on 12 Herculean tasks, in the sixth entertaining Roman Mystery novel, grounded in classical learning.'
The Sunday Times

'Has this smart Roman supersleuth-ess got a film deal yet? Rapidus Christopher Columbus and sign her uppus.'
Justine Crow of the Bookseller Crow in Families Magazine

'An action packed adventure story set in Ancient Rome...the sixth title in the popular Roman Mysteries series.'
World Book Day 2004 recommended choice

'In 2000, Orion Books began publishing a series of Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence, and I love them!...they just get better. Each story is a little darker than the one before. Rome's underbelly is gradually revealed, and each book spirals you further in and further down into real Roman life...'
Simon Puttock for Jubilee Books
 



The Enemies of Jupiter

'The Enemies of Jupiter by Caroline Lawrence is the seventh and best in the superb detective series set in ancient Rome, where four children from different backgrounds band together to solve mysteries and right wrongs. The best thing about these books is that they are steeped in fantastically interesting and authentic historical detail.'
Daily Mail

'My favourite part of this book is when the children are searching for who could have started the fever and they talk to lots of strange doctors. I like this part because it is funny and all of the doctors think they are the best...' Sean (age 12) for Write Away!

'Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries continue to build an avid following, bolstered by the author's active website... the latest title, The Enemies of Jupiter, contains the usual entertaining mix of topical background Roman expostulations ("Oh Pollux!"), nose-creasing facts about the antiseptic use of urine, information about the four humours and so on - all cleverly interwoven with an adventure story that in this case involves a fight to save Rome from a plague.'
Michael Thorn TES
 



The Gladiators from Capua

' ... one of the best yet. It deals with the theme of the hundred days of games organised by Titus in the coliseum, and is meticulously researched and very interesting...'
cool-reads.com

'A thrilling story, which clearly illuminates the cruelty -- and the shame -- that was Rome...many adults could also get a lot out of it too.'
Mary S. Moffat

'... the most violent yet... not for the sensitive.'
The Sunday Times

'They have a very scary time amongst the gladiators and lions. There are lots of fights and frights.'
Matt Fallon (10) for the Irish Post

'Parents and teachers ... will welcome this series with open arms.'
The Glasgow Herald

'The Gladiators of Capua is the eighth title in the Roman Mysteries series, and anyone between the ages of nine and 12 who hasn't come across them could spend a happy summer immersed in Roman history.'
Times Educational Supplement

'Flavia, Lupus and Nubia go to Rome to find their friend Jonathan, and get caught up in a corking adventure with a group of gladiators... and just happen to educate their young readers about the cradle of civilization at the same time.'
Louisa Young, The Mail on Sunday

'Full of riddles to tease the brain and sound effects that are second to none, you need to be careful not to crash the car.'
The Daily Mirror (about the audiobook)
 



The Colossus of Rhodes

'... Roman Mysteries series deserves its devoted following... lively, detailed knowledge of classical history.'
Amanda Craig, The Times

'From slave traders to criminal masterminds, Flavia Gemina and her fellow sleuths outwit a host of villains in these riveting Roman detective stories. No one is writing crime for children like Caroline Lawrence.'
Waterstones
 



The Fugitive from Corinth

'...Lawrence has hit on an inspired means of transmitting a substantial quantity of information about life in the ancient Roman Empire, which at the time the action of this novel takes place included Greece. As the young characters seek to solve the mysteries they encounter, teasing out information and describing in minute detail the people and places they are investigating, so they also reveal a great deal to readers about contemporary everyday life...'
Bridget Carrington, Write Away

'Rich in historical detail, with maps and a glossary, this exciting adventure story really brings to life the sights and sounds of Ancient Greece.'
Kent Messenger

'... the 10th in her series of Roman mysteries. Set in Greece circa AD 80, it mixes ancient history with Scooby-Doo modernity, sending four children and a dog in search of a would-be murderer. There's lots of cheerful colour ("Love potions! Curse tablets!" cried a female shopkeeper. "Make him love you and curse his girlfriend!") but the comic business is also balanced by spooky mythological allusions.'
Will Cohu, Daily Telegraph

'...Lawrence combines racy storytelling with authentic but never unduly didactic detail, occasional deliberate anachronisms, good jokes and bon mots: "It only took a spark to set Troy on fire... you can repair a lyre but you can't repair a broken heart."'
Kevin Crossley-Holland, Junior Education
 




The Sirens of Surrentum

'The novel is set a few years after the eruption of Vesuvius, in a Roman villa by the Bay of Naples. Flavia Gemina, the Nancy Drew of Antiquity, recites choice quotes from The Aeneid. Class differences in the ancient world are ever present, as Flavia is an equestrian whereas she interacts with many patricians and slaves. Present in a book, via character conversations, is as good an overview on Stoicism and Epicureanism as I have ever seen anywhere. As a background to the story, the history of Nero and his mad reign is illuminated. Finally, as a nice touch, Flavia is betrothed to a young Suetonius, history's principle witness to the early empire.'
Jeremy Baer, aka 'Ursus' on the UNRV Roman Forum

'Now on book 11, Lawrence’s historical japes are still fresh, intriguing and entertaining. The latest in the series, The Sirens of Surrentum, is possibly the most risqué so far – tackling the tricky themes of sex, love and lust, as well as incorporating the usual ‘mystery’ at the centre of the story... Boys shouldn’t be deterred by the romantic theme – there is still plenty of action and adventure to satisfy them, including a hilarious scene in which nearly all the characters (except the wise Nubia) are tricked into eating poison. Sirens of Surrentum is certainly a strong contender for my favourite Roman Mystery so far – roll on book 12!'
Rowan Stanfield for ACHUKA

'eleventh title in the excellent series...in this one Lawrence emphasises the much narrower divide between childhood and adulthood that pertained in the Roman period and the result is something more sophisticated than a pure adventure or mystery novel. While Flavia and her friends try to discover the identity of a poisoner, conversations turn to differing views of Epicureans and Stoics, and whether 12 or 16 is a better age for marriage.' Michael Thorn, TES
 



The Charioteer of Delphi

'... the most thrilling part of the novel for me was Caroline Lawrence's depth of research. Her relation that some of the characters were based on real historical figures gave me great delight, and will doubtlessly enthuse all her readers to find out more about the Roman world.'
authortrek.com

'It's a roller-coaster of a read that grips one until the very last page... The story has pace and thrills and spills aplenty...'
Historical Novels Review
 



The Slave-girl from Jerusalem

'... Caroline Lawrence's whodunits, set in ancient Rome circa 80AD, are for today's sophisticated 10-year-olds what Enid Blyton's Famous Five adventure stories were to kids 50 years ago. In this latest mystery her quartet of young detectives, plus dog, have to track down the killer of Ostia's wealthiest merchant to save an innocent slave girl from execution. A brilliant and totally painless way of introducing young listeners to the life of ancient Rome.'
Sue Arnold, Guardian Books (referring to the audiobook)

'enthralling... will have readers riveted to the last.'
Joy Dye, Waterstones Milton Keynes
 



The Beggar of Volubilis

'A great read for kids.'
Daily Express
 



The Scribes from Alexandria

'...Lawrence's books are well supported with information about the period and locale in which they are set...A gripping mystery adventure story.'
Books for Keeps
 



The Prophet from Ephesus

'Caroline Lawrence’s penultimate Roman Mystery is the best of the bunch. Trust me. And the others have all been good, so that should tell you something...'
Bookwitch

 



The Man from Pomegranate Street

'In this concluding episode of an outstanding series, Flavia Gemina and her friends tackle their biggest and most dangerous investigation yet – to determine whether or not the Emperor Titus was murdered, and if so, by whom. Along with vividly drawn characters and a thoroughly researched ancient setting, Lawrence offers a suspenseful whodunit and resolutions to most of the continuing plotlines.'
School Library Journal (July 2010)

'...my assumption is you've read the rest of the incredible series before you've contemplated reading the finale to them. If not, you are behind the times, and are missing out on an enthralling journey... and it's time to start from the beginning...'
A.J. Lawther (14)

'Lawrence steers this story – and the series – to a romantic and irresistibly weepy conclusion, and, like so many good endings, it involves breathless reunions, a journey and a wedding. (I mustn't reveal any more...) It's happy, but it's bittersweet, too, as loyal readers have to say goodbye to Flavia and their friends for what may be the last time.'
Daniel Hahn, Independent on Sunday

‘Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries series is brought to its dramatic conclusion in the Man from Pomegranate Street. This seventeen book epic makes ancient classic stories accessible and exciting – and I often introduce her books to children as ‘Secret Seven set in Roman Times’! For current fans all will be revealed and satisfyingly concluded and the re-jacketing of the series should draw in a whole new readership. I think the whole package is a tremendous achievement – Optime, Caroline!’
Sue Steel, The Bookseller’s Choice


'It was definitely the most exciting book I have ever read!  It had everything.  I laughed, I cried, I screamed.  It gave me a heart attack.  I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!'
Caroline, aged 13

'Fans of the series will be desperate for various loose ends to be tied up, and they will not disappointed by the results. Imagine a situation progressing in the book - as you read, you slowly imagine three different ways it could unfold, only to see all of them have a chance to unfold and then being shocked as a fourth solution bounds onto the stage...'
James, aged 17

EPIC! ... so thrilling that I needed to take my asthma inhaler. I was so excited!'
Carys, aged 12

'Caroline has taken the reader from Enid Blyton to Mills & Boon in seventeen steps, and I mean that in the best possible way...'
Bookwitch

'Caroline Lawrence’s ever-popular Roman Mysteries makes its final bow with the death of Emperor Titus ... and a wedding that will please anyone of 9+... '
Amanda Craig, The Times
 



Roman Mysteries TV series

'Impressively staged children's drama - a sort of Rome for pre-teens - about four friends in AD79.'
The Independent

'The Roman Mysteries is a tremendous way for younger viewers to learn about Roman history... they graft child-friendly adventure on to careful research... with the help of a strong cast and healthy-looking budget...'
The Times

It's the Famous Five in togas – or, given this week's plot about well-muscled gladiators hitting town, the tweenage Spartacus...'
The Sunday Times

'The adventure series set in ancient Rome returns, with some nice acting by the young cast...'
Mail on Sunday

'... a high-quality drama series, aimed at children...'
DigiGuide

'...you certainly don't have to be a child to enjoy this adventure series set in the days of the Roman Empire and boasting some very decent production values, convincing fight scenes and crucially, good storylines.'
East Anglian Times