I'm reading a book right now called Roman Blood by Steven Saylor. He has written several books about Ancient Rome and I love them because they are so well researched, and interesting. If you are interested in learning the history of Ancient Rome, but don't want to read boring history books, read Saylor's book Roma. It covers the history of Rome from before it was a city to the end of the Republic. He has another book called Empire that covers the time from the end of the Republic to the end of the empire. SO GOOD. (Interesting Fact: Saylor started his career writing erotic gay novels under a pseudonym. If you're interested in that particular genre check out Flesh Fables or Tag-Team Studs: Wrestling Tales. I haven't read them (yet) but he's such a good writer I'm sure they are good. [Flesh Fables got five stars on Amazon!])
Anyway, this book I'm reading now, Roman Blood, is the first in a series about an investigator named Gordianus the Finder. He is kind of like the Sherlock Holmes of Ancient Rome. People hire him to solve mysteries. In this particular book Cicero, you know Cicero, has hired him to find out if his client is guilty of patricide or not. Patricide was a particularly bad crime in Ancient Rome, and the punishment was to be flogged, then a crowd throws excrement at you as you crawl your way across a field and into a water-tight bag, and then they throw a dog and a snake and a rooster in there with you, (not kidding) and then you're thrown in the Tiber river. Lesson: Don't kill your dad. So the main character in the book, Gordianus, is investigating whether Cicero's client is guilty, and he has the help of a slave boy named Tiro who is bright, but naive and innocent.
You know how when you read a book and you get a picture in your head of what the characters look like? Maybe it's somebody you know in real life, or maybe it's an actor or something, but you have an idea of what they look like. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have involuntarily pictured Gordianus and Tiro as Professor Peabody and his pet boy Sherman from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.
I can't help it. I've tried to make them into other people, but it always goes back to the Professor and Sherman. I wish it would stop because Tiro (Sherman) has some sexual encounters and they are odd and slightly upsetting when I think of him as the pet boy, Sherman. On the up side, in my head Professor Peabody looks very nice in a toga.