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Literature / The Roman Mystery Scrolls

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The Roman Mystery Scrolls follow the adventures of Threptus, a poor orphan living in the time of The Roman Empire. The character was introduced in the final book of The Roman Mysteries, where he is inspired by the character Lupus's Rags to Riches success and good works to learn to read, write and lead a life helping other people. Threptus gives up begging and become apprentice Floridius, a self-proclaimed soothsayer of dubious honesty. With the help of his unlikely mentor, he finds himself struggling to outwit the law and solve mysteries.

The series is a sequel to Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries, however its target audience is somewhat younger. Caroline Lawerence is also the author of The Western Mysteries.

List of Books

  1. The Sewer Demon (2012)
  2. The Poisoned Honey Cake (2012)
  3. The Thunder Omen (2013)
  4. The Two-Faced God (2013)

This series contains examples of the following:

  • The Bully: A street tough named Naso and his gang of young ruffians chase after and even beat up Threptus.
  • Changing of the Guard: The series promotes two minor character from The Roman Mysteries to the role of lead character.
  • Color-Coded Patrician: Threptus is able to identify members of the Roman Equestrian class by the types of distinctive class-specific clothing that they wear.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Threptus apparently doesn't have any living parents.
  • Detective Fiction: Thereptus is something of a detective, although the stories are at times more adventure than mystery solving.
  • Down the Drain: A non-videogame example of a sewer adventure.
  • Haunted House: A woman believes that her house is being haunted and hires Foridius to get rid of the demon.
  • The Hero, Kid Hero and The Protagonist: Eight year old Threptus is the hero and protagonist of the story.
  • Historical Detective Fiction: The books are set in a well researched depiction of The Roman Empire during the reign of Domitian.
  • Kid Detective: Threptus solves mysteries, though he detective skills are not yet as developed as Flavia and the others in The Roman Mysteries.
  • Oh, My Gods!: "Pollux" is used as an exclamation, which not only is the name of a Roman deity, but also sound remarkably like a more contemporary swear word.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Romans believe in larvae; shades or spirits of the restless or malignant dead. A woman who believes that her house is being haunted by such a demon asks Floridius to drive away the demon.
  • Passing the Torch: While the actual event took place in the earlier series, the The Sewer Demon makes reference to Lupus asking Threptus to carry on his good works.
  • Phony Psychic: Floridius claims to be soothsayer, however no evidence is provided that he has any real powers. More often then not, he simply lies to customers about where he gets his information, or makes things up entirely. He has also been known to fake omens. However, it does appear that he really does believe in the gods and he does seem to believe that he really has some soothsaying powers.
  • Protective Charm: The protective charm was an important part of Roman superstitition, and was in great demand. A large part of Floridius's income comes from selling them.
  • Sequel Series: Sequel to The Roman Mysteries.
  • Sherlock Scan: Threptus is training himself on using his powers of observation to figure things out about people. While hardly as developed as Sherlock, he still is able to pick up some key clues that way.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Floridius is the Roman equivalent, selling various Protective Charms that are supposed to keep away demons and the evil eye. However, he is not regarded as a con man, as historic Romans placed great stock in things of that nature.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Threptus listens in on a conversation that provides information that latter turns out to be useful.
  • The Summation: Partially subverted. Floridius reveals how the "demon" got into the house , however, he fails to explain that the demon is really an octopus. He also takes advantage of the situation to sell more protective charms in addition to recommending solutions that would actually help keep out the octopus.
  • The Stakeout: Threptus and Floridius stakeout a house where a demon has been alleged to appear.
  • Street Urchin: Threptus grew up on in the streets. However, shortly before the first book begins, he starts living with Floridius as has apprentice. His former streat kid friends take up stealing.
  • Survival Mantra: When Threptus is scared, he asks himself "What would Lupus do?" a touches a wax tablet that was a gift from Lupus.
  • Warding Gestures: Character often use a "sign against evil".
  • You Are Number 6: Several character have names based on numbers; however, instead of being a dehumanizing practice, it is just an accurate reflection of Latin names.