The Prophet from Ephesus
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Peter Sutton,
Fred van Deelen
|Series||The Roman Mysteries|
|Publisher||Orion Children's Books|
|15 January 2009|
|Media type||Print (Hardback|
|Pages||224 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|Preceded by||The Scribes from Alexandria|
|Followed by||The Man from Pomegranate Street|
The Prophet from Ephesus is a children's historical novel by Caroline Lawrence. The novel, the sixteenth in the Roman Mysteries series, was published in 2009. It is set during the reign of Titus, primarily in the Roman province of Asia.
The novel is set in late summer, AD 81. The four children resume their investigation of the slave traders kidnapping freeborn Roman children. They travel to Halicarnassus and Ephesus, where the new Christian religion is gaining many adherents.
The story begins in Egypt where Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan and Lupus, still wanted by the Roman authorities, are hiding in Chrysis's house. They are delighted to be visited by Aristo, but he brings bad news – not only are they all accused of treason, but one of Jonathan's twin nephews has disappeared, apparently taken by the slavers who have resumed their kidnapping of Roman children. Flavia's father has pursued them, and still does not know that Flavia and the others are alive after the shipwreck.
Aristo, their tutor, comes to find them. He is their guardian for most of the book and he helps them get to a great many places. Delighted to find the children alive, he is shown as being the happiest since his love Miriam's death.
They embark for Halicarnassus in Roman Asia, where they encounter several old acquaintances: the slave trader Magnus and his giant bodyguard, last seen in The Colossus of Rhodes, the magistrate Bato and the poet Flaccus.
Jonathan is having prophetic visions he cannot make sense of, and is still plagued with guilt over the fire in Rome in The Enemies of Jupiter. Flavia is shocked to discover that Flaccus, whose proposal she had decided to accept, is already engaged to someone else. The countryside is full of prophets who are reported to heal the sick and cure the lame, giving Lupus hope that his muteness can be cured. Nubia is still love-sick over Aristo, whose own feelings are obscure. In the end it is revealed that the "eye-witness" to Philadelphius' (Jonathan's nephew) and his wet-nurse's kidnapping was bribed by Lydia, the wet nurse; her child had died and she kidnapped him to compensate for her loss.
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