The Roman Mysteries: The Charioteer of Delphi

Caroline Lawrence

6-9 years
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02 April 2007
256 pages

September AD 80. Flavia and her friends go to Rome to celebrate the Festival of Jupiter at Senator Cornix's town house. When a famous racehorse goes missing, Nubia sets out to recover it. The four friends find themselves caught up in a plot against one of the rival factions, the Greens. Who is trying to sabotage the charioteers? Could it be an inside job, or someone with a grudge from long ago? And how many men and horses will die before the killer is caught?

The traditional arc of the sports story is emphasised by references to some of the worst aspects of Roman slavery in flashbacks to Nubia's background, followed by the best outcome of slavery for a Roman, as Sisyphus is suddenly freed with the final victory. This makes the story about so much more than which set of horses wins a race and effectively uses the Romans' slave trade to enhance the sports story, while also maintaining a sense of the horrors of the world outside the Circus.

Juliette Harrison, POP CLASSICS