SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion : SPQR

  • by John Maddox Roberts
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • Series: SPQR
  • 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Julius Caesar, as we know, arrived in Gaul (now France) and announced "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered." But when Decius Metellus arrives from Rome, not seeking military glory but rather avoiding an enemy currently in power, he finds that although the general came and saw, so far, at least, he has far from conquered. The campaign seems at a standstill.
Decius' arrival disappoints the great Caesar as well. He has been waiting for promised reinforcements from Rome, an influx of soldiers to restart his invasion. Instead he is presented with one young man ridiculously decked out in military parade finery and short on military skills, accompanied not by eager troops but by one callow and reluctant slave, the feckless Hermes.
It soon develops, however, that Decius' arrival was fortuitous. When Vinius, the army's cruelest centurion (so-called because he commands 100 soldiers), is found murdered, Caesar remembers that his new recruit has successfully come up with the culprit in a number of recent crimes. Murder is bad for morale, particularly since it seems quite clear that the murderer was one of Caesar's men. Caesar orders Decius to find the killer - and quickly.
Although evidence points to the son of one of Decius' clients - a youth who was the particular target of the centurion's brutality - Decius racks his brain to find a way to save him from the sentence of death. The investigation leads Decius to two German slaves of the dead man - a dwarfish old man and a beautiful woman. They are puzzling; the man is arrogant, the woman haughty - very unlike slaves. There are unanswered questions. It soon becomes clear to Decius that only by finding and punishing the real murderer will it be possible to quiet the rising dissatisfaction with Caesar's unorthodox method of warfare and forestall a mutiny against the mighty Caesar's authority and aims.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Decius the reluctant warrior

I have always enjoyed the SQPR stories more when Decius gets out of ROME, and this recounting of his adventures in Gaul particularly shines. A good part of the SPQR stories comprises the historical descriptions; taking the reader into the world and mindset of ancient Romans. With this story Mr Roberts gives us some experience of life in the Roman legions. That adds a lot more interest than another series of descriptions about the minutiae of life in Rome.

Decius's adventure with Caesar's legion unfolds at a satisfying pace. It is well dosed with humour and interesting characters. Decius is clearly a 'modern' man that we can identify with, and is also clearly a man out of his time. His contemporaries mostly think him mad, but I find him totally sane.

Anyone with an interest in historical novels will enjoy the delicate substance of this story intermingled with historical narrative. Anyone with an interest in the history of Ancient Rome would be foolish to miss this book.
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- Michael Stringer

but everybody loves a Senator!

Decius is so droll, so honest, and so damn much fun. I love the way he finally decides the only way to solve the mystery is to do something so outrageous it will either provide the solution or kill him. I adore the narrator, John Lee. He has just enough attitude without being pompous about it. I'm trying to limit myself to one book every other month so I don't go through them so quickly but it is really hard. No complaints at all from me!!
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- Wadie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios