The Roman Mysteries
The Thieves of Ostia
The year is 79 AD.
The place is Ostia, the port of Rome.
From here, Flavia Gemina, daughter of a Roman
sea captain, embarks on thrilling adventures
with her three friends Jonathan, Nubia and
As she and her friends attempt to solve their first
crime, the clues lead them around Ostia: to the
harbour, the forum, the lighthouse, and the
tombs of the dead.
Later mysteries and adventures take them to
Pompeii, Rome, Greece and Africa!
My name is Flavia Gemina, daughter of Marcus
Flavius Geminus, sea captain. I live in the port of
Ostia and I solve mysteries. My mother died
when I was only three.
Age: Twelve
Birthplace: Ostia, the port of Rome
Family: Marcus Flavius Geminus (father)
Friends: Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus
Pets: my dog Scuto (his name means 'shield')
I am 'detectrix' or truth-seeker. I love
codes and puzzles and hate not knowing
Pater says I can be bossy, impulsive and
easily swayed by my emotions. He also
says I have a brilliant mind and that I am
very kind-hearted, with a strong sense of
When you read my adventures you will
have to judge for yourself.
My name is Jonathan ben Mordecai. I'm
Flavia Gemina's next door neighbour. My
hobbies are keeping Flavia out of trouble,
hunting, making things and collecting jokes.
Age: Twelve
Birthplace: Jerusalem in Judea
Family: Mordecai ben Ezra (father), Miriam
bat Mordecai (sister)
Friends: Flavia, Nubia and Lupus
Pets: Tigris (dog)
I am Jewish. When I was only 18
months old, my father and sister and I
fled Jerusalem. A few days later it was
surrounded by legions and within
months it was destroyed. My mother did
not escape. Or so Father tells me.
Some people call me a pessimist, which
means I always expect the worst.
Others accuse me of thinking
everything is my fault. It usually is.
My name is Nubia. I was born in a
country called Nubia. When I was still
young slave-traders came in the night
and took me in chains.
Age: Twelve
Birthplace: Nubia, a desert country
south of Egypt
Family: I am thinking my family all to
be dead
Friends: Flavia, Jonathan and Lupus
Pets: my dog Nipur
I saw my family being murdered. I was taken away in chains and
sold as a slave in Ostia. I am lucky that Flavia was the one who
bought me. She is being very kind to me.
Flavia says I am good at sensing if people are good or bad, lying
or truthful. I love animals and I can usually calm even the fiercest
beast with my flute or singing.
Flavia says I am gentle, kind, loyal and brave. Flavia says I can
sometimes be too nice and people can take advantage of me
because of it. I think she is right.
My name is Lupus. My name means
'wolf'. I am a bit wild, like a wolf. For
a long time I lived alone in the
graveyard outside Ostia, begging or
stealing what I needed.
Age: Ten
Birthplace: Symi, a Greek island
Family: I don't like to talk about them.
Friends: Flavia, Jonathan and Nubia
Pets: I don't need a pet. I am too wild
to own one.
I am mute, which means I cannot speak. But I
don't like to talk about it.
I am sneaky and crafty. I am good at spying
on people and eavesdropping on them. I am
brave and clever. I'm not bragging; it's the
truth. I am learning how to read and write and
it's very useful. Now I take my wax tablet with
me everywhere.
They say I have a fiery temper and that if you
upset me I will storm off and disappear for
They are right.
About the Author
• Caroline Lawrence was born in
London, England. Her
American parents returned to
the United States shortly
afterwards and she grew up in
Bakersfield, California with her
younger brother and sister. Her
father taught English and
drama in a local high school
and her mother was an artist.
• When she was twelve,
Caroline's family moved to
Stanford University in northern
California so that her father
could study Linguistics.
Caroline inherited her father's
love of words and her mother's
love of art. She subsequently
studied Classics at Berkeley,
where she won a Marshall
Scholarship to Cambridge.
There, at Newnham College,
she studied Classical Art and
About the Author
After Cambridge, Caroline
remained in England, and later
took an MA in Hebrew and Jewish
Studies at University College,
London. She then taught Latin,
French and art at a small London
primary school. In 2000 she wrote
'The Thieves of Ostia', the first in a
series of children's adventure
stories set in Ancient Rome. The
Roman Mysteries combine
Caroline's love of art history,
ancient languages and travel. Her
other passions include cinema,
jazz and London. Caroline has a
son Simon, from a previous
marriage, and she now lives by
the river in London with her
husband Richard, a graphic
The author’s study where she

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