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Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.
- ISBN-13: 9780545561549
- ISBN-10: 054556154X
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: February 2015
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 9-12
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.92 pounds
Series: Mark of the Thief #1
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-12-01
- Reviewer: Staff
In vivid first-person narrative, Nielsen (the Ascendance Trilogy) sketches a slave’s-eye view of the Roman Empire. Five years of hard labor in the mines haven’t quelled Nic’s will to survive. Neither naïve nor a fool, his main weakness is lack of experience. Thus his story is as much about his education in the deviousness of human behavior as it is about Nic’s magical fate. Dropped down a mine shaft to search for a possible buried trove, Nic emerges with a griffin, a scar, and a golden bulla, a magical amulet that once belonged to Julius Caesar. Freedom is within reach, but Nic won’t abandon his younger sister. Instead, he and the griffin are turned over to Rome, where Nic becomes a pawn of schemers struggling to control the city—or destroy it. Set during the reign of Tacitus, the story is true to the political and social culture of the time without committing too closely to its political history. This maximizes Nielsen’s scope for creating page-turning twists while evoking a milieu that retains its appeal for history buffs. Ages 10–14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.)