"In rome, nothing mattered more than the gods, and nothing mattered less than its slaves."


The Mark Of the Thief is an adventure written by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It is about a slaved boy who works in mines. It was a risky and arduous job. Nic had been enslaved when his mother was also sold. Nic and his sister, Livia, had had a rough life. Slavery was popular at the times of ancient Rome. Unfortunately for Nic's family, they had all become one of them. All except his father, who had died years ago when apparently struck by lightning. Nic and Livia had never gotten to know him. This book is about magic, history, and Roman Mythology, all beautifully entwined. When a mysterious cave is discovered, it becomes the chance for Nic to become more than just a slave, to give Livia the great life she never had.

THE life of nic and livia

Nic and Livia both worked in the mines. They were enslaved by a cruel man named Sal. He gave ridiculous commands to follow. He also wanted to marry Livia when she came of age in a few years. Nic despised Sal. Not having any parents or money, Livia and him had to obey Sal to survive. When the general of Rome, a powerful and dangerous man named Radulf comes to the mines for critical reasons, Nic is chosen to retrieve the item that Radulf so desperately wants. He instructs Nic to go down a long passage leading down to a dingy and ominous cave. Only there, would he find the greatest treasure discovered in Roman history. The item that would change his life, Livia's life too.

THE setting

This exciting adventure develops in two main places. The mines, and Rome. The mines were a place of darkness and danger, especially with Sal around. However, most of the story takes place in the Eternal City, or Rome. Nic, having never seen such grand structures, was truly amazed. He further explored to find marvellous sculptures of the Gods. He saw a tremendous amphitheatre, where barbaric sporting events were occasionally held. It would be decorated in style of the type of event. Rome was bustling with activity, small shops lined the paths, selling wonderful food and items to locals. Being a slave, Nic had never imagined such a place existed, let alone ever going. The community of people cared about two things, the emperor and the Gods. The Gods and the Emperor were the most important things in Rome. The society had a strict social ladder, the slaves, who were at the bottom, had the hardest lives. The average citizen, a Plebeian, had responsibilities and freedoms, like citizens now. The Emperor, not wanting an uprising in the walls of Rome, had to keep the citizens entertained. Occasional battles would initiate, brutal fights between slaves and beasts. These amphitheatre combats would soon become part of Nic's insane adventure.

An intense clash between a gladiator and a lion


In "The Mark of the Thief," There are several main characters. The most important one being Nic, a slaved boy working in mines. He is kind and mostly obedient. He cares much for his younger sister, having to take care of her after their mother was sold away. Another character in the book is a strong girl named Aurelia. You as the reader can sense that even if she hates Nic at first, will help him out in the end. Nic also obtained another friend, one not common, a Griffin he named Caela. The antagonist of the book is the General of Rome, a man named Radulf. He wants the item that Nic had run away with, a magical Bulla which was owned by Julius Caesar himself. The Bulla gains power by a strong emotion of the wielder. It can unleash a godly fury, one that can destroy Rome. Owning the Bulla made Nic the most dangerous, popular, and envied person in all of Rome.

Nic in the mines peering into "Caesar's Cave"

The Plot

This book has a very exciting story. It starts with showing the life of Nic and Livia as slaves. It gets interesting when the General of Rome comes to the mines. He instructs Nic to go down a long strip, which ended with a dark cave. When Nic arrived, he explored to find a glowing Bulla, which clearly seemed to be the item that Radulf wanted. He took the Bulla and was badly injured when a Griffin attacked him from behind. After it saw the Bulla however, it stopped wanting to hurt Nic. He named the Griffin Caela and got on her back to fly them out of the cave through a different opening. Nic soon ends up in Rome, where he learns he has a mark on his back. People who steal the power of the Gods were to have that same mark. He had been told that people would kill him to get its power. Nic is forced into a gladiator battle, where he accidentally unleashes too much of the Bulla's power. The people of Rome try to hunt him down to get the bounty placed upon his head by the Emperor. On his run, Nic meets a girl named Aurelia. Soon, Nic learns to slowly control his power. Nic would be forced to battle Radulf, to see who would obtain the Bulla. However, Radulf had not been what people thought him to be. "The Mark of the Thief" has an incredible plot, it has you turning the pages until you get to the end. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It has magic, history, and Mythology, so if you like any of those, you would love this book.

Caesar's Bulla


I really enjoyed this book, it is probably one of my favourites actually. I adore books like this, where the reader doesn't want to stop until you get to the end. I think that's exactly what the author wanted. After finishing with such a mind boggling cliff hanger, it left me wanting more. I crave the next book in this series. The book was not long, so it was very action-packed. It is a great story about a poor slave and how he becomes great. This however, has gotten him into more trouble than he insisted. This leads to an amazing cliff hanger at the end of the book. I am just itching to start reading the next books in the series! Jennifer A. Nielsen has created a great book, some other works by her are: The Ascendance series, which includes three books, "The False Prince," "The Runaway King," and "The Shadow Throne." I will most likely be reading those as well after finishing Nic's story.

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