Mystery of the Roman Ransom

Our rating: *****

The Xanthos School is back with another adventure! The pupils, Julius, Publius, Flavius, Caius, Rufus, Muscius and Antonius give a slave, whose name is Udo, unable to speak or hear, to Xantippus for his “50th birthday.” Xantippus refuses, telling the boys to take the slave back to the slavedealer, Callon. When the boys get to Callon’s cottage, they find that Callon had sold all his slaves, except for one old slave that nobody would take, and fled! The old slave tells them that an ex-gladiator came and wanted Udo. When Callon told him that he didn’t have him anymore, the ex-gladiator said he was coming back the next day, and if Udo wasn’t there, he would kill him and all the slaves! After the boys leave the cottage, the ex-gladiator shows up and tries to take Udo, which the pupils manage to prevent. Then, Udo discloses that he can talk and hear! He is a slave of Pollino, the famous general! What’s going on? Is Udo to be trusted?

The sequel to Detectives in Togas, Mystery of the Roman Ransom is another enjoyable book.

Detectives in Togas

Our rating: *****

The Xanthos School has 7 scholars: Publius, Flavius, Julius, Caius, Mucius, Rufus and Antonius. When Rufus writes “Caius is a dumbbell” on his wax tablet and hangs it up for everyone in the school to see, the teacher of the school, Xanthos, (known as Xantippus to the boys) tells him to leave and that he will talk to his mother about removing Rufus from the school! The next morning, the boys, not including Rufus, find Xantippus locked in the wardrobe! After rescuing him, he tells them that he had been assaulted! Also, they can have a holiday from school until his leg, which was swollen from the long wait in the wardrobe, heals. Then he tells the boys that he was only scaring Rufus when he told him about talking to his mother. Leaving Xantippus to rest, the boys happily go off and decide to go tell Rufus that he won’t be expelled from school. On the way, they find, in Rufus’ handwriting, “Caius is a dumbbell” on the temple of Minerva! Did Rufus get so angry that he desecrated the temple? And who assaulted Xantippus?

A great book! As a warning, they sometimes swear things “by the gods,” etc. This book is set in Ancient Rome and the ending is hilarious!