Publisher's Note:  

The only guidebook you need for your next time travel vacation!

The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome
 contains information vital to the sensible time traveler:

   • Where can I find a decent hotel room in ancient Rome for under five sesterces a day? Is horse parking included? 
   • What do I do if I’m attacked by barbarians? 
   • What are my legal options if I’m fed to the lions at the Colosseum? 
All this is answered and more. There is handy advice on finding the best picnicking spots to watch Julius Caesar’s assassination at the Roman Forum in 44 BC, as well as helpful real estate tips to profit from the great Roman fire of AD 64. There are even useful recommendations on which famous historical figures to meet for lunch, and a few nifty pointers on how to avoid being poisoned, beheaded, or torn apart by an angry mob.
Remember: to make the most of your vacation to the past, be sure to pack a Thrifty Guide from the future!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers

The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome: A Handbook for Time Travelers

by Jonathan W. Stokes

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Overall Review:  

I have a book by Diana Wynne-Jones titled The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome by Jonathan Stokes reminded me a little bit of that, except the Thrifty Guide was perhaps bloodier and more sarcastic than the Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was informative, and for writers it would be useful in learning what happened in this era of ancient Rome, and the kind of lifestyle that was accepted then. However, it was incredibly sarcastic, and can be a bit descriptive when describing the various manners of death one might encounter while in ancient Rome.

It was often funny.  There are pages of "testimonials" from customers (who obtained this package deal to ancient Rome) about what they liked or didn't like about certain restaurants, hotels, or how they ended up as slaves because someone took a spite to them.  There were the occasional footnotes from members of Time Corp, the ones ostensibly responsible for the publication of this thrifty guide, which can be humorous. But it was perhaps a bit overly sarcastic and detailed (see below) when talking about the various affairs, deaths, suicides, and murders that occurred to different rulers/persons of interest during this era. 

Review of an Advance Readers Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Many joking references to gladiator games, the deaths/suicides/murders/assassinations of various leaders/politicians/historical figures, and ways to avoid decapitation, death, etc.; many sarcastic references to some hostile encounters one may encounter while time-traveling through ancient Rome and recommendations on how NOT to die while in ancient Rome; a few descriptions of hazardous conditions encountered in ancient Rome; mentions dead bodies lying in the streets; frequently mentions different violent sports (gladiator games) that usually result in death; mentions the deaths of many well-known figures during the ancient Roman era, including Spartacus, Julius Caesar, Brutus, Cleopatra, etc.; mentions Julius Caesar crucifying pirates who kidnapped him;  description of violence students might undergo to assist with learning; bloody descriptions of many of the battles fought during this timeframe (somewhat descriptive, but not overly gory); slightly disgusting medical advice which includes drinking the blood of a fallen gladiator; there are occasional pictures depicting violent battle scenes; report of betrayal and someone decapitating another; there are ironic testimonials on a character's fictional Rent-A-Slave deal; description of a ruler murdering off siblings; description of the somewhat disturbing deaths/murders in Cleopatra's family; describes the festivities of Caesar's "triumph" by the amount of deaths and bloodshed which occurred;  describes Cicero's death by "three blows and some sawing" to complete decapitation, as well as the disrespectful treatment of the severed body part; description of Marc Antony helping Cleopatra eliminating her family members to attain the rule; describes a list of people an empress killed or forced to commit suicide before being assassinated; describes Nero's bloody reign, his murder of both his wives, his murder of Christians by crucifixion and burning, and his own suicide; describes the fall of Rome after countless coups, assassinations and persecutions. 

Sex/NudityA character is described as stripped naked and beaten as a punishment for not learning well in school; mentions marriage in Rome and who can or cannot marry - jokes about men having more leeway in who they want to marry or who they want others to marry than woman have; a female character is described sneaking into a man's room to persuade him to help her fight a war; there is mention of the age difference between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, Caesar's current marriage, Cleopatra's divorce from her brother, and the birth of Cleopatra and Caesar's son, Caesarion; describes the sodomy of Ptolemy and Cleopatra; describes Marc Antony's fifth marriage by marrying Cleopatra and their subsequent offspring; various descriptions of people getting divorced, having affairs, etc.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Treachery, death, war, suicide, assassination, sodomy, bigamy, divorce, persecution, murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Opium, mandrake and henbane are mentioned as medical anesthetics on a battleground; alcohol is used for both pleasure and medical uses; mentions Romans drinking wine; Cleopatra and Marc Antony are said to drink wine and play dice.

Reviewed By Katrina
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