The Riddle of a Murdered Slave

The Riddle of a Murdered Slave is a conspiracy thriller, focusing on the lives of ordinary people in the late 1st century in this city, capital of the world. It is based on events that occurred in the year when Rome had four Caesars.

For fans of historical fiction, adventure novels and unexpected endings.

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Details of the books and ISBN at the end of this page.
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About the Riddle of a Murdered Slave

The year 69 was one of the darkest in Italy. Nero died, and the Empire had four Caesars. Galba, Otto and Vitellius violently succeeded each other on the throne, until Marcus Antonius Primus finally conquered Rome. On the other side of the Mediterranean, war still ravaged Judea, threatening the Eternal City with famine as the new Emperor Vespasian took power. Meanwhile, violence, conspiracies and murders have become commonplace in the streets.

This is the time chosen by Gnaeus Pontus to flee the legion, and return to Italy hoping to be forgotten. He intends to take as long as it needs to justify his newly acquired fortune. But Rome is not a place where one can disappear and hide: especially after having cheated the Emperor.

Gnaeus is thus forced to solve the riddle of a murdered slave found in the apartments of the Emperor’s favorite, and thus finds himself caught up in the middle of conspiracies that could jeopardize Vespasian’s power.

The Riddle of a Murdered Slave (2016) is the first volume in the Lucius Apex series, whose books can be read independently. It is followed by Unforgiven in Massilia (2017), and Bad Blood Beyond the Grave (2021).  

The Lucius Apex Series delves into the daily life of the Romans, to give substance to police investigations against a background of murders and conspiracies against the Emperor Vespasian.

Preview of the book


This novel reads very well. One feels propelled into the life of the Romans under the reign of Vespasian. The plots are well conducted, the dialogues are quite caustic and ironic. In short, a novel which offers a good entertainment and teaches us a lot of things about this time or reminds us of them if we had forgotten them a little.



I read this book by a a keen writter of Roman history, I was not disappointed. The author gives us a portrait of Rome at the time of Vespasian. The characters are credible, the plot flows without displeasure. I will read the sequel with hopes of  as much pleasure.


First Rate Murder Mystery. Move over Agatha Christie!!

I love history and murder mysteries, with plot twists and turns, and exciting final chapters. Thierry’s book was first rate!

Charles A. Gleason Jr.

Great read!

Incredible read, intriguing plot that keeps you interested. Couldn’t put it down! Would recommend 🙂

Rachel simm

Political Plot in Ancient Rome

A very interesting book. The author knows ancient Rome well and gives an accurate and uncompromising description of it. His description is based on solid historical knowledge and the plot is of good level and plausible. The characters are credible and endearing.
For me this book is on the same level as those of Steven Saylor or Cristina Rodriguez. An additional advantage for the reader is the extremely reasonable selling price of the book.
But this is not the main argument. This book deserves to be read by amateurs of historical thrillers because it is simply a good book.


In Ancient Rome

Very good historical thriller, very explicit about life in ancient Rome and the Roman army. To be highly recommended


loved it

I liked the characters and the plot, I’m looking for more investigations of our hero. It reminded me of the adventures of Gordian by Steven Saylor.

Marie Le Maire

An authentic journey through time

If you like History with a predilection for the Roman Empire you will not be able to ignore The Riddle of a Dead Slave, then its sequel Massilia by Thierry Bontoux.
The Author is first of all an efficient novelist with an excellent style but moreover the intrigues to which he gives life develop in a rigorously historical context of daily life.
If its Characters do not express themselves in Latin (fortunately for the reader!), they reveal us with precision the social organization, the manners, the mode of clothing, the habitat, the food often with the words of the time…
We thus feel like contemporaries of the characters.
A clear lexicon, remarkably documented is available to the reader and shows the author’s will to provide us with the essence of a bygone era….

Eric Bertier

Rome as if you were there

Superb book I devoured this story that takes us to ancient Rome very well documented to recommend for Christmas to lovers of ancient history.


Nice and Pleasant

good Roman novel …
the author makes us benefit from his erudition, without losing the romantic dimension.
Above all, he knows how to transport us to the daily life of the time.
The trip was therefore both interesting and pleasant.

Ellroy Lehane

well documented

Very well documented and well written. It is a real pleasure to read it. Sometimes the vocabulary used seems current, but it is an interpretation of the language of the time, which meant the same thing but in a way we can understand.

Bernard Sales

A good book

book that can be easily read with an excellent knowledge of Roman mores and the customs of ancient Rome



very good novels, pleasant to read, realistic, considering the difficulties of ancient Rome, to recommend.

bonard roger

Excellent and gripping

Excellent and gripping!!!

michel maria


No character attracted me.
The historical side is mostly summarized in the use of Latin terms that the reader won’t remember anyway.
The plot is unremarkable, there are no twists and turns, nothing to keep the reader’s attention.
I have botched the last chapters…


Very good but…

The story is very good but the descriptions are too long / too detailed / too scholarly between actions and discussions between the characters


The history in a Novel

Historical novel that is easy to read, lots of details but never long: the plot holds us throughout the book, the writing is fluid, pleasant and documented. A must read. Can’t wait for the next book!


My bedside book

I loved it



thanks to Mr. Bontoux’s books, I have found back the taste and the desire to read, thank you for your wonderful stories. Bravo!


Goodreads giveaway

A story set in Roman times. It follows our character through the intrigue and deception of the politics of the times. Great explanations of all of the unfamiliar terms.





An intrigue, not rather plots, in the time of Vespasian.

I took this book as I am a lover of historical novels, especially about the Roman period. I took it on vacation not thinking I would have time in a week to read everything, wanting to do something else as well. Well, I think I read it in three days, because I “had to” do something else in those moments of interruption. I would only like one thing “a sequel” because it deserves it.

Concerning the plot I find that one feels immersed, without being drowned in details. In the past I have visited Ostia Antica, not far from Rome, and I have imagined the protagonists in those places I visited.

The plot is fascinating, with twists and surprises. If it is only a hobby for the author to write this kind of book, I wish him all the free time he can to write more.

I highly recommend it!


Detailed and captivating.

I really like Thierry’s style. He makes you travel in time. The perfect book if you enjoy history and suspense. I highly recommend it.

Carine Wahl

Very Good Book

I really appreciated this very well documented book on Roman life in all its aspects. The story is very well written.


Very Good Book

Very interesting book especially for lovers of ancient Rome.

Frederic Z.

For fans of novels

Very good historical novel well documented a sequel would be welcome to read urgently this is great

Pascal les kerylos

Very good time

This book can be read in one go. It is very well documented, the characters and their lives at that time are very well rendered.
To read


I Loved It

I recommend this book. The plot is well conducted and the story very well documented. It takes a plunge into ancient Rome.


I loved it

I loved it!


All testimonials on this site

Details of the Books

date of publication: ‎ May 28, 2021
Language: ‎ English

314 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8574940273
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.79 x 9 inches

314 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎   979-8511659923
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches