Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The roman conspiracy

The roman conspiracy

Jack Mitchell
Historical Fiction
For ages 12 and up
Tundra Books, 2005   ISBN: 0887767133

Aulus Lucinus Spurinna lives with his uncle and aunt some distance from Rome and yet, it would seem, they cannot help being affected by the events that are taking place in the big city. The tenants who live on the Spurinna lands are being threatened by a small army of retired soldiers who seem think it is their right to take over land wherever they wish. When Aulus’ uncle is poisoned and dies, Aulus knows that there is only one thing to do: he must go to Rome to seek help. He also is determined to find the man who murdered his uncle.

Aulus and one of the family slaves, a Greek man called Homer, set off for Rome, and they head straight for the home of Cicero who is the sworn protector of the Spurinna family. Homer and Aulus soon find out that their problem in the countryside is only one part of a much bigger problem. There appears to be a group of powerful Romans who are unhappy with the current government and who want to put themselves in power. They are quite willing to declare war on their own countrymen, and to even burn the city of Rome itself, to get what they want.

Aulus is soon embroiled in a very dangerous and secret plan to try to defeat the traitors. He learns that there are many ways to overcome enemies and it does not always have to be with the aid of a spear or a sword. Well chosen words can also have great power, and they can bring about great change for the better.

This absorbing story based in a Rome that is being torn apart from the inside is both fascinating and enlightening. The reader sees famous Roman figures not just as names in a book but as real flesh and blood people who had feelings, strengths and weaknesses. The author very successfully makes a very different time and culture accessible and exciting.