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The Charioteer of Delphi by Caroline Lawrence (The Roman Mysteries)

cover image Orion Children’s Books, 2006
(Age 10+) Filled with the sights and sounds of Ancient Rome, this series of books by Caroline Lawrence will entrance the reader of historical fiction, as the four protagonists find all sorts of crimes to uncover and solve. Presently being screened on the ABC, the series is enthralling.

In The Charioteer of Delphi, the group is involved with the kidnapping of the lead horse destined for the coming events at Circus Maximus. A huge reward has been posted for its return, and the four venture to Rome to join the throng of searchers. Flavia and her companions, Nubia, Jonathan and Lupis, join their new friend, the young charioteer, Scopas. Together they search for the horse, uncovering a mesh of intertwined intrigue.

What better way to learn about Ancient Rome than through a series of stories such as these. Every page is filled with new words and descriptions, the settings are authentic and entrancing, the detail convincing. This books, as do all the others, contains a series of maps to allow the reader to know exactly where the story is set, and a very detailed glossary at the end helps those novices for whom the words used need some reference. With this story too is a short description of the chariot races in Ancient Rome, leading the reader to historical records as well as modern films such as Ben-Hur. (The author does not stint in telling of the brutality and bloodthirsty nature of these races.)
Fran Knight


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