Roaring Brook Press: Brookfield, CT, 2001.
First published by Orion Children's Books: London, 2001.
The Thieves of Ostia is Caroline Lawrence's first book, the first book of her Roman Mysteries.
In the Roman port city of Ostia in 79 AD, a girl, Flavia, meets 3 other children and plans with them to solve the mystery of beheaded dogs on their street. Jonathan is her new next-door neighbor, the son of a Jewish doctor. She buys Nubia, a terrified young slave girl, from the market, and befriends her. The children save a mute homeless boy, Lupus, being chased by wild dogs, and Jonathan's family takes him in. The children become close friends through their adventures together, solve the mystery, and trap the one responsible.
The story is an unusual mystery. The Roman and ancient background is noticeable, but the mystery and children's friendship remain the focus. Also highlighted is the differences between the lives of all four characters.
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