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1. Empire: The Novel of Imperial
2. Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome
3. Roman Blood: A Novel of Ancient
4. The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel
5. A Gladiator Dies Only Once: The
6. Catilina's Riddle: A Novel of
7. Last Seen in Massilia: A Novel
8. The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel
9. The House of the Vestals: The
10. A Mist of Prophecies: A Novel
11. A Murder on the Appian Way: A
12. Arms of Nemesis: A Novel of Ancient
13. Rubicon: A Novel of Ancient Rome
14. The Venus Throw: A Mystery of
15. Rome at War: Caesar and his legacy
16. The Judgement of Caesar (Roma
17. A Twist at the End : A Novel of
18. Past Poisons: An Ellis Peters
19. Honour the Dead
20. The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits

1. Empire: The Novel of Imperial Rome
by Steven Saylor
Hardcover: 608 Pages (2010-08-31)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$13.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312381018
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

“May Steven Saylor’s Roman empire never fall. A modern master of historical fiction, Saylor convincingly transports us into the ancient world...enthralling!” —USA Today on Roma

Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome’s empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more.
Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire, the persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel’s heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii.
Steven Saylor once again brings the ancient world to vivid life in a novel that tells the story of a city and a people that has endured in the world’s imagination like no other.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting ancient Roman slice of life
Saylor understands the daily rhythm of daily Roman life. He evokes interesting characters which he places at the epicenter
of the early days of the empire. The events are fleshed out in a manner which evokes a visceral and human setting. Recommended
for those who are familiar with the history of the period and want to get a feeling for its impact on contemporary residents of Rome

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, amateur sequel to the better Roma
It's hard to conceive that this book was written by the same person as Roma.It is such an amateur work.Roma was far from the best book on the period and the writing and characterizations were not exceptional, but it was highly readable.This books feels like a high school effort.I learned absolutely nothing I hadn't read elsewhere about the period.But even assuming the person who read this was new to the period and did learn a little, the writing style and characters were so poor that it still would not be a great read.It's too bad too because there was so much potential for this post-Augustus period of Rome that doesn't get nearly the attention of the pre-Caesar and Caesar period.

First, far too much of the story is doled out as unrealistically long exposition by the characters conversing with each other.Entire periods of history are covered this way with one sequence after another of characters sitting around at parties recalling events they often experienced first-hand but told as if they were lecturing small school children in history they had never heard.This is such a freshman writing mistake it is shocking it would come from such a seasoned author.There is no fathomable reason he couldn't have structured the story to actually have the characters in the action in real-time instead of just sipping wine and conversing on it.

Second, and related to the first, almost nothing happens to these characters.With one exception, they are almost entirely observers of events and not meaningful players.Or if they are shown to contribute, it is usually of no consequence to their person or status.In Roma, there were frequent, and more typical of multi-generational epics, reversals of fortunes.From one generation to another the family went from prominence to slavery to, middle class, etc.Here the family seems to only slightly and gradually decline due to nothing more than the complete apathy of the lead characters, and despite improbable repeated run-ins with sociopathic emperors.I kept waiting for more dramatic reversals that never came.

Third, as a result of the above issues, we really get so little perspective on the history and what happened during this period of Roman history which was constantly dramatically fraught with changes of reign and global expansion.Someone relying primarily of this story would walk away thinking that all the emperors after Augustus were preoccupied with nothing else but attractive young, usually castrated boys, with occasional building projects thrown in.This is vastly over-simplistic and, again, not indicative of the previous novel in the series.This is a huge missed opportunity to take the characters out of Rome and to the action all over the world as Rome ruled it in the time.It's staggering how limited and lacking in imagination this take on the period is.

Finally, the dialogue and characters themselves are just so shallow and unrealistic.Right from the start we are introduced to our first generational protagonist as a man in his mid-twenties who comes across with all the maternity of a 12-year-old, which is not to say childish but ultra-naïve and innocent.By the time Caesar was that age he had already traveled the world, conquered pirates, held a sacred religious office and participated in the Senate, and this boy comes across as if he hasn't left the confines of his house for the first time in his life.Similar simplicity follows through-out, with dialogue that always strains of the overly simplistic.

The only time the book remotely rose to the level of interesting was when it attempted to convey the various philosophies popular at the various periods it covered as its lead characters and their convenient friends grappled with them.That was mildly interesting.

Overall, a major disappointment.I have to believe the author phoned this one in.Either his heart wasn't in it or his was distracted.Either way, not a work to be proud of.

5-0 out of 5 stars Epic Picture of an Empire
I am a huge fan of Steven Saylor, and as a Latin teacher, I love Roman-based historical fiction.Let me begin with the negatives, for they are few.Someone should have edited this book before it went to press!I have never seen so many typos in book from a major publisher!There are endless omitted words and wrong words.In the first half of the book, it became comical.

That said, Saylor's story is great.How do you tackle a period as broad as this?He keeps the Pinarius family as the centerpiece, and contrary to what some of the negative reviews said, he does a great job of making us care about them.I was truly excited for the Pinarius and Vestal, moved to tears by the ending of that relationship, and had to pause when Lucius Pinarius the Seeker finally passed away.His son's reaction caused me to think back to the passing of my own father a year and a half ago.

The torture of the Christians in the Colosseum was a sort of Roman Kristallnacht.My heart was pounding when Pinarius was mistaken and dragged into the dark, horrific arena.

My area of focus has always been the Republic, so this look at the Empire was quite intriguing for me.I will be reading my Tacitus, Suetonius, and Plutarch again.

As a writer, I am always interested in how authors tell a story.Saylor uses fairly short sentences to keep the action moving at a steady pace.His sense of detail is wonderful, drawing the reader in, yet not overwhelming him with unnecessary facts.

Hats off to a job well done!This is a great read of a huge, hugely important, and complex period of history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saylor repeats
All I can say is that EMPIRE like ROMA is a repeat of an incredible style and sense of history that is casual, informative, human and so real. For me a history buff(I know it's fiction), this is truly a gift of the gifted. Viva storia romana! I am loving it!

3-0 out of 5 stars A good read, but a tad long
I did enjoy this continuation of the stories of thePinarius family, first seen in the authors' previous book Roma. Unfortunately, the stories in this sequel occasionally seemed overly long and sometimes struggled to hold my interest.

If you enjoyed Roma, then this book may be for you, but it can require patience to get through.

... Read more

2. Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 592 Pages (2008-03-04)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$8.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312377622
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.
     Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city's first thousand years Â-- from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome's astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history. Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome's republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.
     Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome's first families, the Potitius and Pinarius clans:  One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a
mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself.
     Epic in every sense of the word, Roma is a panoramic historical saga and Saylor's finest achievement to date.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (89)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascination Novel
There is no need for me to recapitulate the storyline of Roma because this has been done in a number of previous reviews.However, I found it one of the best-written and most fascinating books I have read in a long, long time.Saylor has a gift for making the ancient Romes of many different eras come alive.Struggling with the issue of mortality as we all must do sooner or later, I found the ending particularly moving.

1-0 out of 5 stars If you want a trot through Ancient Roman history...
... this novel picks out the high points and turns them into a story of sorts. It follows various generations of two families starting with the founding of Rome as a wayside trading post even before Romulus and Remus. I certainly learned some things about these episodes that I didn't know before. However, it really doesn't work as a novel. By its nature it is episodic, with little connection between the episodes. The writing is plodding and pedestrian, the characters one-dimensional and uninteresting, with "good" and "bad" characters crudely highlighted. Implausibly one of the two main families is always on the good side and one on the bad side through many generations. Much of the text, including dialog, is taken up with descriptions of places and events in far more detail than useful for the flow of the story. Characters take time to explain to each other events that they would know of intimately. It was a struggle to maintain interest despite the nuggets of interesting facts about Roman history.

4-0 out of 5 stars NOT BAD
A well done epic in JamesMichener style. A reasonable use of Historical facts in creating this tale of the Roman Republic.Easy read that should help those without an extensive background in Roman history to understand her past.Not in my Top 10 list of great fiction about the Roman era but not a bad way to spend some time if the subject interests

3-0 out of 5 stars Long slog through early Roman history
This novel begins with the unknown historical origins of the geographical area which would become Roma and intertwines its history through the descent of a talisman ("Fascinum") which moves to succeeding generations one receipient at a time to the reign of Julius Ceasar. Its characters are not especially well developed, the most interesting being that of the errant Vestal Virgin and her relationship with the "slave" Pennatus.Just as the reader becomes absorbed with one character and time period, the novel shifts without warning to a later period and begins anew.The story lacks continuity from one period to another except through family names and ties, which are often not explained and/or further developed for the reader.The novel bogs down mid-point and does not pick up even as it nears its climax.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I was a bit hesitant to get this book because of conflicting messages in the reviews, but I'm very glad I did.I thoroughly enjoyed it and may very well re-read it at some future point.I have a decent background in Roman history and I was able to pick out the episodes or incidents that Saylor was highlighting in his novel, and then get a close-up view of events from the standpoint of a contemporary.Many reviewers made negative comments about Saylor's technique of highlighting only certain points of interest during Rome's 1000-year history, and how the cast of characters changed so frequently that they could not 'get into' the story (those were the issues that struck me when I was trying to decide whether to purchase or not).I didn't feel that way at all.My impression of Saylor's narration was that the history of Rome was a grand tapestry - 1000 years long - and that a spotlight sone on a certain point in time, while leaving the rest in darkness.When the light shone on them, the characters at that point came alive and began to go through their lives.When the light went dark, their piece ended, just as though they were on stage.The amulet that each wears made a thread by which each main character was linked to the others across space and time.It turned out to be an excellent narrative technique and allowed the author to cover a vast timeline without cluttering the book with minor details.Saylor has an excellent grasp of the historical facts, and a great 'feel' for the everyday life of ancient Rome. This did not feel at all lilke a historical fiction, even though characters spoke modern Engish - he did a great job in seamlessly combining the ancient and the modern into a very readable (and educational!) book.Highly recommended!

Note on the Kindle edition:Formatting was excellent.There were a couple - but only a couple - of what may have been typos, or may have been formatting errors.Maps of the 'current' layout of Rome at the beginning of each section were small; I did not try to enlarge them to see how well detail was preserved. ... Read more

3. Roman Blood: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 400 Pages (2008-04-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002LITT0G
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on a case involving the savage murder of  the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius. Charged with the murder is Sextus's son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.

The case becomes a political nightmare when Gordianus's investigation takes him through the city's raucous, pungent streets and deep into rural Umbria. Now, one man's fate may threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (95)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fine fiction
This is an excellent novel. The structure is well conceived. The style is gratifying. The setting is vivid. The plot is engaging. The characters are credible and admirable. But it is the relationships between the characters that makes the novel satisfying. Just as the relationship between Holmes and Watson is the chief attraction in the Sherlock series, so the interaction between Gordianus and Tiro makes Roman Blood a novel of substance. Highly recommended if you want to take a journey to ancient Rome.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ehhh
I'm not completely finished with this book but it's been somewhat of a struggle to get this far. I find myself saying to myself "it has to get better, just keep reading!" lol I really hope it does get more interesting. I feel like Steven has laid so much ground work that I can now predict Gordinius' (the main character) moves before he acts them out. But it's definitely not horrible and perhaps someone who has more knowledge of the Roman Empire would better appreciate what I have forced myself to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version Corrected
Let me start off with this -- Steven Saylor is a very talented author.His building a story based, in part on historical fact, ranks with some of the best writing in the mystery field.There are little nuances of storytelling that put you completely into that world.Roman Blood is the author's first in a series of books and sets the stage for further development.

The kindle version however had been blighted with a collection of typos and weird ligatures that distracted from the enjoyment of the story.I can attest to the fact, as of August 3, 2010, the kindle version has been corrected and is near flawless.The "redo" of the kindle version was in part due to kindle readers bringing the distracting element to the attention of Steven Saylor who contacted his editor at St. Martins to make a new edition for kindle available. Bravo to you, Steven and your editor at St. Martins. Enjoy the new version!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book... marred by Kindle typos
This was a very interesting read, in which the setting of the Roam Republic in the first century BC really comes alive.There are the usual coincidences and improbabilities that mystery stories typically rely upon, but they detract only a little.

What REALLY detracts from the reading, if you bought it on Kindle, are the numerous typographical errors. Clearly the text wasn't proof-read at all when it was converted from print to digital. Very annoying!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Roman Republic in the days of Sulla!
"Roman Blood" is the first of the "Gordianus the Finder" series of novels, all set in the latter days of the Roman Republic.It is the time of the dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and thus Rome is under the rule of a Dictator.Gordianus the Finder is commissioned by none other than lawyer Marcus Tullius Cicero, who is defending his client against the charge of patricide: the murder of his own father (I use the modern English word; the novel uses the more archaic term "parricide").This crime entails a particularly gruesome penalty which is a form of death by torture.Gordianus is commissioned by Cicero to investigate the facts of the murder in the hope of finding exculpatory evidence.

Gordianus investigates the crime, and this makes for, in itself, a fine detective novel.But it is much more, which is why I easily award this one five stars.This novel provides true insights as to the problems of Republican Rome under Dictator Sulla.This was a time when Sulla's enemies, or anyone else who happened to get in the way of the State or of Sulla's friends, could be summarily proscribed, which means that they will be murdered for the bounty on their head, their lands taken, their families turned out of their properties as penniless beggars.This fate, in fact, has already been suffered by the family of Cicero's client.For Cicero and Gordianus to endeavor in their client's defense they risk incurring the ire of the State themselves, the usual penalty for which is proscription.

This novel is full of twists, turns, and surprises.And all along the way it acquaints the reader with insights as to the nature and problems of the Roman Republic.For while ancient Rome shared certain conspicuous features with a modern Western democracy, it was based on slavery, a rigid class structure, and a hereditary nobility.The rule of law was weak and often unenforced; the society was violent and unsafe.All of this provides the backdrop for an exciting novel.And if this were not enough, Gordianus, Cicero, Tiro (Cicero's slave and right-hand-man) and Sulla are all brilliantly portrayed; the characterizations in this story are excellent.Highly recommended.RJB. ... Read more

4. The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Roma Sub Rosa)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-07-07)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$4.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002XULZZ4
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The Roman civil war has come to its conclusion – Pompey is dead, Egypt is firmly under the control of Cleopatra (with the help of Rome’s legions), and for the first time in many years Julius Caesar has returned to Rome itself. Appointed by the Senate as Dictator, the city abounds with rumors asserting that Caesar wishes to be made King – the first such that Rome has had in centuries. And that not all of his opposition has been crushed.

Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder’ but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife. Troubled  by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead – murdered -- on her doorstep. With four successive Triumphs for Caesar’s military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies -- to protect Caesar’s life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar’s, Gordianus agrees to help – but only to find the murderer who killed his friend. But once an investigation is begun, there's no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Intrigue in the time of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is about to stage his four Triumphs into Rome, celebrating his many military victories.Gordianus the Finder is hired (dragooned really) by Caesar's wife Calpurnia to investigate death threats against Caesar Dictator.This makes for an engaging story against the fabulous backdrop of Caesar's return to Rome as its absolute master.

This one moves along at a deliberate pace.The historical backdrop in this particular novel is stronger than the detective story; I did not see the conclusion of this whodunit coming and I suspect that most other readers will not either.In fact, in a sense, neither did Gordianus.You'll see what I mean when you read this one.

My favorite aspect of this Gordianus the Finder novel, in common with several others of the series, is Gordianus' interactions with historical figures such as Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Cleopatra, and of course Caesar himself.Saylor has a gift for writing about Republican Rome, and this one is a fine read.I hope that this novel does not conclude the Gordianus the Finder series.I would like to see Gordianus deal with Caesar's assassination and the rise of Octavius Caesar.Surely we Saylor fans can look forward to that.

Highly recommended.RJB.

3-0 out of 5 stars Just okay
I certainly didn't dislike this novel, but I have to confess at the outset - the latest instalment in Saylor's series featuring Gordianus the Finder unfortunately lacks the spark that made the earlier novels so engaging. It's not a bad book, but not one of Saylor's best - and definitely don't start with it if you're new to the series.

Essentially, it's a series of Gordianus's interviews with a who's who of Rome in roughly 46 BC as he tries to track down the killer of a friend. There is no real sense of suspense or threat as he does so, nor is the reader given much of a reason to care about the outcome.The novel felt shorter and less complex than its predecessors, and the story's resolution seemed rather perfunctory.Gordianus - after several days of apparently going through the motions - finally figures out the mystery through a kind of deus ex machina moment, then we have our unspectacular showdown with the killer and ... that's about it.It's a shame, because this period of history is a gold mine for compelling stories.

The descriptions of life in late Republican Rome are vivid as always, and that's what saved the novel for me.It's nice to revisit well loved characters, but the overwhelming feeling I had while reading this is that the series - like Gordianus himself, who reluctantly comes out of "retirement" to investigate, at the request of Caesar's wife Calpurnia - is getting rather tired. What I did like was the depiction of his daughter Diana starting to show some resourcefulness and aptitude for detection, notwithstanding the societal restrictions upon a "young Roman matron" as her father disapprovingly puts it; I hope this is a set up for future novels where she will take on a more substantial role, perhaps along with Eco (who is only mentioned in passing in this novel).Maybe it is time for the kids to take over.

3-0 out of 5 stars Vivid writing but I find the Finder a bit of a dud this time around
I'm a big fan of Saylor's Rome books. I liked them partly because I always felt Gordianus was seeing the same stuff I was but was just smarter than me and could put things together. In this book, Gordianus seems tired and out of ideas. He makes the rounds of his interviews, and I certainly learned a lot about how Romans kept their prisoners, for example, but no clues emerged and there was no sense of build up to a solution. By the time the solution is revealed, the device of explication is strange and out of character. How the heck did Gordianus survive Egypt anyway? Liked the depiction of triumphs, and the constant digs at Caesar and Cleopatra, and as usual the details of daily life that lift the Romans right off the page, but as a mystery the whole plotting seems too hasty, forcing the author to adopt a very dubious strategy at the end. Now I do hope he takes the series farther. Gordianus's daughter appears to be waiting in the wings to take over. A Findress perhaps?

4-0 out of 5 stars Not a 'whodunit' more a 'whowilldoit' with history thrown in for good measure!!
agree with the majority of my fellow reviewer's. This leans more towards description of the history of Rome set in a particular time rather that a Murder mystery for Gordianus to solve. But what a time and what marvellous descriptions of them! I pride myself of thinking I know a lot about Rome at the time of Caesar and the great Julius himself but I was pleasantly surprised by Saylor's vivid descriptions and how he introduced me to events and major description of the times There is a `whodunit' or should that read a 'whowilldoit'? For Gordianus is tasked by Caesar's wife to find out who wants Caesar dead and the side issue of who killed Gordianus' predecessor and was it because he was getting too close to the truth? And that in it self poses another problem. Just like in 'The Day of the Jackal' by Frederick Forsyth we all know that the key figure Caesar like Degaulle does not get assassinated... well not until later.
Along the way Saylor weaves some of the major player's in Caesar's later regicide... I was particularly impressed with his depiction of Marc Antony.. Surely a figure that Saylor will use in a major book later in the Finder's later episodes (or is Saylor teasing us with Gordianus' family taking over).
All in all a cracking read. Not one of Saylor's best BUT dear reader remember that is up against some really stiff competition Saylor is THAT good. An average Saylor book beats the best of others hands down. I'd say a very satisfying book that you finish with regret that the wonderful story has ended. More please!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book.
The may well be the last of the series. Saylor is the best of his genre. ... Read more

5. A Gladiator Dies Only Once: The Further Investigations of Gordianus the Finder
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-05-30)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312357443
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series of novels, set in the later Roman Republic and featuring Gordianus the Finder, has garnered unusual acclaim from readers and reviewers alike, establishing him as one of the pre-eminent historical mystery writers. In A Gladiator Dies Only Once, the second collection of his award-winning stories featuring Gordianus, Saylor more than meets his own high standards. Set between the events of his novels Roman Blood and Catilina's Riddle, these previously untold adventures from the early career of Gordianus - when his adopted son, Eco, was still a mute boy and his wife, Bethesda, was but his slave - will delight Saylor's many fans while illuminating details of the ancient world like no other writer can.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction
To read Steven Saylor's "Gordianus the Finder" stories is to be transported back to the days of late Republican Rome.Author Saylor really seems to understand how things were in that society, and these stories are an enjoyable way to gain an appreciation of ancient Rome while also reading fun detective stories."Gordianus the Finder" functions as a private investigator and as such rubs shoulders with the top echelon of Roman society, since many top Romans (such as Marcus Tullius Cicero) were lawyers, and accordingly have need of Gordianus' services.

Saylor never forgets that his first duty is to entertain, and in all of these stories he succeeds brilliantly.These stories are great fun.Highly recommended.RJB.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Gladiator Dies Only Once
Like most of Mr. Saylor's short stories, these are long on ambience and short on suspense. Mr. Saylor has long been praised for the depth of his learning and his ability to bring ancient Rome to life. And I have no problem with that assessment. I am only too happy to pass these stories (as well as the rest of Mr. Saylor's work) on to my students as examples of "local color," as a means of learning about life in ancient Rome without having to resort to a deadly regurgitated PhD dissertation. However, if you plan to read these stories as examples of gripping suspense stories of the Agatha Christie variety, then I would say to look elsewhere. Most of the denouements are totally predictable.

Mr. Saylor's novels fare a bit better as suspense stories, by the way, perhaps because he has more space to develop plot and characters. Nevertheless, one can often see the concluding revelations coming pages away (Meto is certainly the mysterious, hooded man Gordianus spots around Masillia in "Last Seen in Masillia").Either that or the actual resolution is so contrived that it begs credibility ("A Murder on the Appian Way").

Even so, one would have to hunt with great diligence to find a more entertaining way of learning about Rome and these historical Romans.

5-0 out of 5 stars As always, a pleasure.
I normally don't waste my time with collections of short stories no matter how good a main series is, it always seems to me that just as a story is building momentum its over.Upon reading Saylor's "A Gladiator Dies Only Once" I was again pleasantly surprised by the author.Some of these stories are so short that you will want to skip them, don't they all in their own unique way add something to theRoma Sub Rosa cannon.

The Highlights that should be mentioned in this collection are

A Gladiator Dies Only Once-A commentary on arena fighting, gladiators and slavery in Rome which is way more fun and interesting then I am making it sound

The White Fawn-A friend of a friend hires The Finder to discover why his grandson has taken up with exiles and malcontents in Rome

If a Cyclops Could Vanish Overnight-Eco, still a boy at this point comes to his father with a problem some of his possessions have started to disappear

Death by Eros-Tells the tail of a vicious love triangle as usual it is up to the finder to determine who was spurned by whom.

Any time I get to visit Saylor's Rome it is a treat its true I prefer the books but this story collection is a very good contribution on its own merits.If you are a fan you should check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful roman mysteries
In his sttories Steven Saylor adopts a lighter tone than in his novels. There is tragedy, but there is also farce, deception, tragic irony and wonderful rendering of athmosphere. I just loved this collection!

5-0 out of 5 stars Rome Conquers Again
I am not a fan of ancient history (have always found the Middle Ages more interesting), but Saylor's Roman mysteries have conquered me!About a year ago, someone in a doctor's waiting room gave me Catilina's Riddle . . . and I was hooked on the series.Saylor uses his vast knowledge of Roman history judiciously. The reader learns a lot of political and sociological history but is never subjected to name-dropping for its own sake or burdened with useless detail.In Gordianus Saylor has created a character that reaches across the millennia to grab the reader's interest and sustain it from volume to volume.Saylor also accomplishes the difficult task of creating entertaining mysteries in the form of both novels and, as in the present volume, short stories.Highly recommended. ... Read more

6. Catilina's Riddle: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 528 Pages (2008-11-11)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00342VGDQ
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"Saylor rivals Robert Graves in his knack for making the classical world come alive." --(ortland) Oregonian
"Engrossing...Ironic and satisfying." -- San Francisco Chronicle
The third in Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa novels featuring Gordianus the Finder. Gordianus, disillusioned by the corruption of Rome circa 63 B.C., has fled the city with his family to live on a farm in the Etruscan countryside. But this bucolic life is disrupted by the machinations and murderous plots of two politicians: Roman consul Cicero, Gordianus's longtime patron, and populist senator Catilina, Cicero's political rival and a candidate to replace him in the annual elections for consul. Claiming that Catilina plans an uprising if he loses the race, Cicero asks Gordianus to keep a watchful eye on the radical. Although he distrusts both men, Gordianus is forced into the center of the power struggle when his six-year-old daughter Diana finds a headless corpse in their stable. Shrewdly depicting deadly political maneuverings, this addictive mystery also displays the author's firm grasp of history and human character.
On first publication back in 1994, Catilina's Riddle was a finalist for the Hammet Award.
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Customer Reviews (66)

4-0 out of 5 stars Roman wonderment
This series of books is such a flavorsome tidbit....so I heartily recommend them to you for your pleasure and education. The man has a marvelous grasp of early Roman lore....and the beauty of it is...he is willing to share it us.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb historical fiction
This is one of Steven Saylor's excellent "Gordianus the Finder" series of novels set in Republican Rome.It truly constitutes superb entertainment at several levels.Firstly, this novel is permeated with extremely insightful observations concerning the basic nature of Republican Roman society.We see Rome as a society with certain recognizable features of our own, but still shockingly different from Western culture.Slavery, a rigid class system, a thoroughly corrupt system of justice, and a dysfunctional economic system are among the chronic problems of ancient Rome.This novel explains much of this without boring the reader.To the contrary, Saylor's discussions of Roman society and government are fascinating.

Equally fascinating is the plot of this novel.The story is told in the first person by Gordianus the Finder, who is essentially a professional investigator.Here, Gordianus is asked to do certain favors for Consul of Rome Marcus Tullius Cicero.Specifically, Cicero asks Gordianus to play host to Lucius Sergius Catilina, Cicero's sworn enemy.The reasons are complex, and in this novel Gordianus finds himself becoming enmeshed against his will in violent Roman politics of the highest nature.

This novel moves at a leisurely pace, in common with most or all of the Gordianus the Finder novels.This will put off some readers, but I found myself enjoying every page of the novel.This one is an excellent read, made even better by the fact that the author has something to say.Catilina is a controversial figure in Roman political history and to this day historians argue about whether he was the rogue that Cicero made him out to be.What we see in this novel is that the ruling Roman aristocracy is smothering the middle and lower classes and political change is inevitable.Perhaps Catilina was trying, with many allies, to effect this change.As the "Afterword" in this novel points out, Catilina was the loser and the histories were written by his enemies. Likely we will never fully understand the man or his intentions.

Author Saylor's portrayal of the aristocratic Claudius family is hilarious.Saylor clearly has little use for the Roman upper classes as he believes they existed in late Republican Rome.

The gradual pace of this novel is offset by the fact that it neatly ties up most of its loose ends in a startling and entertaining fashion that most readers will appreciate.Besides being good history, this novel is also excellent storytelling.

Highly recommended.RJB.

5-0 out of 5 stars The many faces of Catilina...
Who was Catilina?A Hero of the masses?A power hungry insurrectionist?Revolutionary?We may never know, but this book is a great fictional window into the historical events that happened in Roman Republic, as the struggle between Catiliniaand Cicero went from politics to out right war.
This is not the only novel on the subject.I suggest also reading The Catiline Conspiracy (SPQR II).I would also suggest getting the very book Gordianus was reading,Roman Farm Management: The Treatises of Cato and Varro.I would also suggest Slavery and Society at Rome (Key Themes in Ancient History) to understand more of the background.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent combination of history and mystery
This is number 3 in the "Gordinius the Finder" series: Start with number 1, Roman Blood, to get a sense of flow and development of the characters. After reading Roman Blood you will want to continue with this book Arms of Nemesis, which shares the same great traits as the first book in the series. My review for Roman Blood is:

This excellent historical fiction mystery has 1) an interesting story and 2) a believable, detailed sense of time and place that drops the reader right into the historical scene. The author avoids the problem encountered in some Roman-times fiction wherein the story becomes lost or frustrating because the reader is trying to keep track of complicated family trees or political complexities. Here the author has found just the right balance to keep the story moving; but his real talent is portraying the streets, the life, the customs of ancient Roman in a fascinating and realistic manner. And the story line is based on an actual occurrence documented in ancient texts. A great read and the beginning to a very good mystery series. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Entry into the Roma Sub Rosa Series
Gordianus the Finder gives up the big city and retires to a country estate where he hopes to leave Roman politics behind him for good in Steven Saylor's "Catilina's Riddle".Unfortunately for the Roman detective scheming neighbors, the politician Catilina, and the consul Cicero all work to destroy his hoped for peace and solicitude.When a headless body appears in Gordianus' stable, he must use all of his deductive powers to understand who is responsible and what the murder has to do with Rome's political future.While not as engaging as "Roman Blood" and "Arms of Nemesis", "Catilina's Riddle" is nevertheless a wonderful mystery set in the final days of the Roman Republic.As is the case with all of the Roma Sub Rosa series, this novel highlights Saylor's knowledge and understanding of the Roman world.Though a little slow at times, fans of the series will no doubt have a field day. ... Read more

7. Last Seen in Massilia: A Novel of Ancient Rome
by Steven Saylor
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (2001-09-17)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312977875
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Once again, Steven Saylor creates a marvelous novel of Roman life, rich with the bloody pageantry of war, the heartaches, lusts, and passions of a vivid cast of characters, and the sinister intrigues of politics, when one man's private sorrow sweeps him into a world of gaudy excess...and danger...In the city of Massilia (modern day Marseilles), on the coast of Southern Gaul, Gordianus the Finder's beloved son Meto has disappeared-branded as a traitor to Caesar and apparently dead. Consumed with grief, Gordianus arrives in the city in the midst of a raging civil war, hoping to discover what happened to his son. But when he witnesses the fall of a young woman from a precipice called Sacrifice Rock, he becomes entangled in discovering the truth-did she fall or was she pushed? And where, in all of this, could it be connected to his missing son? Drawn into the city's treacherous depths, where nothing and no one are what they seem, Gordianus must summon all of his skills to discover his son's fate-and to safeguard his own life.AUTHORBIO: Steven Saylor has had a lifelong fascination with Rome, beginning with the drive-in movies of his boyhood (Cleopatra, Spartacus, Ben Hur), on to his degree in history from the University of Texas, and through his appearances on the History Channel as an expert on Roman politics and life. He is the author of eight volumes in the Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder. He splits his time between homes in Austin, Texas, and Berkeley, California.Amazon.com Review
In this mystery set in Marseilles in 49 B.C., master detective Gordianus the Finder is on a personal quest to learn the truth about his missing son, Meto. Plunged into the midst of the bloody Roman civil war, the well-connected Gordianus and his son-in-law Davus survive adventure after adventure as they penetrate the Gaulic city Massilia, which is walled against Roman invasion. From the first pages, author Steven Saylor is on sure ground with his distinguished protagonist. Gordianus's careful, thoughtful musings are infused with real pathos as he seeks out information about the lost adoptive son whom, he has been informed, is dead. There is some speculation that Meto betrayed Caesar and that death was his punishment. Lacking a corpse, Gordianus cannot bring himself to believe that Meto is really dead.

Indeed, bonds between fathers and children--their betrayals, promises, and legacies--play a key role in the twisting plot of Last Seen in Massilia. Literally the title refers to Meto, but the motif extends to other key characters as well. Apollonides, the imperious ruler of Massilia, has a peculiar bond with his horribly deformed daughter. And the city's "scapegoat" Hieronymus lives out the legacy of his parents' illegal double suicide by being the human repositor of Massilia's collective sins. He is expected to hurl himself from Sacrifice Rock to appease vengeful gods.

Sacrifice Rock is central to the book, the site of a tussle between man and woman that ends, provocatively, in the woman's death. Was it suicide or murder? The three witnesses--Gordianus, Davus, and Hieronymus--are sharply divided on exactly what they saw. Gordianus pursues the truth of this mystery almost as a diversion from the more compelling mystery of his son's weird disappearance.

Fans of Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series, of which Last Seen in Massilia is the eighth installment, will be pleased by the author's consistent tone. Saylor has proven that he knows how to season a good plot with lively historical details, and this book is perhaps even more gratifying than previous installments. --Kathi Inman Berens ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

3-0 out of 5 stars For Kindle Version Only
I am a fan of Steven Saylor's series of books about Gordianus and his family.I have read them all three times, and this book is another good one- not the best of the series, perhaps, but enjoyable.The three stars is a reflection on the Kindle edition which was not, apparently, proofed before going onto the market.Every book I purchase for my Kindle has some errors, and this is to be expected (though I wish these publishers would demonstrate a little pride in their work and go through them carefully before releasing them), but this book is the worst novel in that regard so far.It is by no means unreadable, there are not so many errors that you lose the story, but there are so many that it is clear the publisher took the quickest route to getting it into Kindle format, and the book ought to have been cleaned up quite a bit more before being sold for this price.

4-0 out of 5 stars Yet another excellent "Gordianus the Finder" novel
"Last Seen in Massilia" takes place during the war between Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus ("the Great One").The war is starting to tilt towards Caesar, who is laying siege to the independent city of Massilia, which had unwisely declared for Pompey Magnus.Gordianus the Finder seeks to locate his adopted son Meto, who he believes is spying for Caesar within the city of Massilia.

Most of this story takes place within Massilia.There is a mystery for Gordianus to solve: where is Meto and what happened to him?That is the essential plot of the story.

This one meanders along even more than most of Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" series, but it is still an excellent read, which as always manages to acquaint the reader with an episode of Roman history.As is often the case in Saylor's novels, there is a surprise at the end.No spoilers here.


5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best one
I find the books in the series to be much better when The Finder actually leaves Rome and travels somewhere else because this always leads us to sideline views of actions undertaken by the roman legions, interesting bits of history and cuts out all of the nonsense about how his wife rules the household with a firm hand.However it is sometimes maddening to see the ease with which a man in his early 50s infiltrates himself into attacking forces only to be captured and not killed outright by the defenders of the city but hey it's a necessary plot device.Most of the finder stories while they are fun reads blend together for me but I think this one is in many ways the best installment in the series primarily because we are introduced to the character of the Scapgoat of Massilia who makes appearances in other installments and serves the function of stating the obvious in a hilarious way..

5-0 out of 5 stars Ground shaking installment
I do not want to give this away but this book was a huge installment in this series because of the changes that take place in his family. With the family changes that this book has it is a must read of course for the fans of the series but my favorite thing about this book was that it had my favorite mystery for Gordianus to solve so far. He is charged with trying to find his son Meto in Masillia a besieged town in present day France. While he is there is meets a doomed scapegoat and whitnesses what may be a murder or a suicide. All during this time he is still looking for his son. Great read and I am sure all Saylor fans would agree.

4-0 out of 5 stars Search for Meto
Last seen in Massila is every fathers nightmare - the death of his child.In this book Gordianus frantically hunts for his son Meto.He received an anonymous note form Massilia claiming that Meto was dead.The pursuit of Meto drives most of the emotional stress and action in this book.
While in Massilia Gordianus is hired by a merchant named Arausio to find his daughter Rindel who went missing soon after a women fell to her death from sacrifice rock.The search for Rindel is complicated and filled with intrigue.

The story begins with Gordianus and Davus approaching Massilia.Tribonius, the Roman general charged by Caesar to manage the siege to conquer Massilia, explains to Gordianus that he will not be able to enter the town.Tribonius commands Gordianus and Davus to depart and return to Rome.The general promises to send official word concerning Meto as soon as it is available.Needless to say, Gordianus finds an imaginative and dangerous way to enter Massilia to continue his mission.

This is a fun novel filled with suspense and danger.The exacting details, especially of the engineering attempts to breach the city's walls are interesting and graphic.The efforts to protect the walls by the leaders of Massilia are equally fascinating.Gordianus' investigations are engaging and often frustrating.The resolution of each of the suspenseful plot lines is startling.
This is an enjoyable novel, but would be much more fun if the reader has first enjoyed the following books that present Meto's earlier years:Arms of Nemesis: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome),Catilina's Riddle: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome),The Venus Throw: A Mystery of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome) ... Read more

8. The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (St. Martin's Minotaur Mystery)
by Steven Saylor
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2005-06-13)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312932979
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In 48 B.C., Roman generals Caesar and Pompey have long engaged in a battle to rule the world. Now, as Pompey plots a reckless stand on the banks of the Nile, Gordianus the Finder-who has brought his wife Bethesda to the river seeking a cure for her in its sacred waters-finds himself suddenly at the heart of a series of treacherous and history-altering events.

While Caesar and Cleopatra embark on a legendary romance, Egypt remains ravaged by the brutal contest between the Queen and her brother King Ptolemy. Worst of all for Gordianus, his once-disowned son and Caesar's right-hand man, stands falsely accused of murder. Caesar's judgment will decide Meto's fate, and it is up to Gordianus to somehow overcome colossal malevolent forces to reveal the carefully obscured truth and spare his son's life.
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Customer Reviews (48)

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting story of Caesar encountering Cleopatra
I am a big fan of Steven Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" (Secret History of Rome) series.In some ways, "The Judgment of Caesar" is one of the better novels in this series.In this one Gordianus the Finder goes to Egypt with his ailing wife to seek an Egyptian cure for her illness.This coincides with Pompey's flight to Egypt and Caesar's pursuit.Gordianus is eventually asked by Caesar to investigate the murder of Cleopatra's food taster (poison) in which Gordianus' own son is implicated.

The story of Caesar's adventure in Egypt with Cleopatra and King Ptolemy has often been told, but readers may rest assured that they have not read the story told this way.There are plenty of surprises here.

One opinion of mine concerning this novel is that it dwells excessively on pederasty and the possibility of Caesar's practice thereof.This is a significant component of this story, and some readers, myself included, could have done without it.There is some language in the novel that seems to indicate Caesar's justification of this practice.This should have been left out in my opinion and degrades an otherwise fine novel.As the author points out, Caesar was dogged by rumors that he sometimes preferred men as partners (this practice was not well-accepted in the Roman Army) due to an incident early in his career.Nonetheless, all indications are that Caesar fought off these rumors, true or not, by his flagrant womanizing throughout the rest of his career. It is historically irrefutable that Caesar never tried to justify the earlier rumors.He denied them.(To this day no one knows if they had any basis in fact and we never will.)

The above issue aside, this is a well-written story, albeit the ending was a bit pat for my taste (no spoilers here).Each reader may decide for him or her self.Recommended with the caveats contained herein.RJB.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tug of War...
More historical fiction than historical mystery, I still liked this latest installment of Gordianus the Finder, who seems to find himself at a crossroads as he struggles to come to terms with alienating his adopted son and his sick, possibly dying, wife. He arrives in Alexandria at his wife Bethesda's request, in order to "take the cure" by immersing herself in the Nile's "sacred" waters. At the same time, Pompey has arrived to seek Egyptian support after his defeat at Pharsalus. What comes after is history and Gordianus is there to witness the tug of war between Caesar, Cleopatra, and Ptolemy, which I think is basically what this novel is about. Hardcore Gordianus mystery fans might be disappointed because the mystery plays a small part in the novel, but in Saylor's version of events, it tips the balance historically as Caesar chooses between Ptolemy or Cleopatra.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tops off a wonderful series
Just finished this one and it really topped off the series for me. I've been enjoying all the other Gordianus books available for Kindle, but in this one Saylor takes it up a notch by having Gordianus leave Rome for Egypt and witness historic events in the larger Roman world. Some would say that having Gordianus involved in such major events and in such close contact with characters like Pompey, Ptolemy, Caesar, and Cleopatra is ridiculous. I say, who cares? The panorama of Egypt and Alexandria is fascinating, the character portraits are believable, and the mystery is fun.

And last but not least, for once Amazon has provided a clean, error-free Kindle edition that's actually worth the price of a paperback.

5-0 out of 5 stars Steven Saylor Triumphs with Judgment of Caesar
I love Steven Saylor's Sub Roma series and Caesar's Judgment is the best ever. I couldn't put it down.I especially appreciate Saylor's devotion to accurate history of the times and historical characters involved in the stories.Do hope Gordianus will live long enough for many more books.

D. PaulsThe Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)

4-0 out of 5 stars I love this series
There are two really good series of books set in ancient Rome one is this series by Steven Saylor and another series by John Maddox Roberts it is difficult to choose between the two series.If you like mysteries I would go with Roberts series because in those books the mystery is the main plot but with Saylor's books I feel that the political situation in Rome or Alexandria is the main story and the mystery of who was murdered is secondary.

Take this story for example Saylor can spin a good mystery to be sure but the best part of this book are the vivid descriptions of Egypt under the Ptolemy's.There is also interesting interaction between the characters of Gordianus, Ceasear Cleopatra, and always especially Pompey.

With all mysteries in this series I find myself having trouble remembering the details after I finish the books but I distinctly remember enjoying myself while I was reading them and I am confident that you will to.
... Read more

9. The House of the Vestals: The Investigations of Gordianus the Finder (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-01-05)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312582412
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It is Ancient Rome, and Gordianus the Finder has a knack for finding trouble.   Known to many as the one man in the ancient world who can both keep a secret and uncover one, Gordianus lays bare some of his most intriguing and compelling adventures.
The House of the Vestals collects nine of the award-winning stories of Gordianus the Finder by critically acclaimed, bestselling author Steven Saylor. Filling in some of the gaps between novels, this delightful collection of unique and unforgetable mysteries is Saylor at his finest - revealing the intrigues in the secret history of Rome.
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Customer Reviews (27)

3-0 out of 5 stars So-so Bedtime Stories
Steven Saylor's "The House of the Vestals" is a collection of nine short stories featuring Investigator "Gordianus the Finder" in the 70's B.C. in ancient Rome and is part of Saylor's excellent and highly successful "Roma Sub Rosa" series of books. I've read them all.

The main problem with these 9 stories is that they are quite transparent, with the reader having "solved" almost all of the little "mysteries" long before reading about Gordianus' solution (or Bethesda's in one case). Thus, there is not much mystery here in any of the stories, although the writing, as always, is excellent, and the stories are charming and mostly engrossing. They all are a very quick read. Seeing Eco grow up was fun, too.Your reading of these stories would be improved if you have read at least 3 or 4 of the book-length stories of Gordianus.

With Saylor's stories, the reader learns more history than anything else, and the history lessons are always spot-on, relevant, and revealing of ancient times and customs that we don't know or have forgotten about. Saylor is simply a superb history writer and a first-rate historian.

While I have loved most of Saylor's writing and all of his books involving Gordianus, this one is the weakest of the lot, though correctly filling in a gap in the chronology.I finished it in a couple days and rather easily forgot most of it quickly - except the history lessons.

The best stories are: "Little Caesar and the Pirates," "The Disappearance of the Saturnalia Silver," and "King Bee and Honey."The story titled, "The House of the Vestals," is weak and not very interesting. However, all of the dialogue is very crisp and realistic, and there is often a nice touch of humor in the stories.

If you like easy-to-figure-out "mysteries" and a fun romp through this time period in Rome's history, you will love this little book of short stories. But, if you want substantial mysteries to be solved in creative and surprising ways with many twists and turns, you will be disappointed.

Even though the stories disappoint (me), because it is a sample of Steven Saylor's way with words, I rate it a 3 on Amazon's rating scale, giving Saylor the benefit of the doubt.Sorry Steven.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nine short stories...
Nine short stories, set between Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis, so while published later in the series you should treat it like the second book in the series.Blackmail, cats, pirates, and bees.We learn how he first met Lucius Claudius and watch as he has to deal with the undead.
Wonderful, short stories, but just because they are short does not mean you should speed through them.Enjoy them, reread them, treat them like the candy they are.The perfect book for travel or just staying home.Have some wine and olives while reading them and maybe some good dark bread too!

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good one with Gordianus
In The House of the Vestals, Rome's best finder Gordianus is back in a series of short stories full of political intrigue, murder, theft, and mystery.Set in between the novels Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis, The House of the Vestals update readers on what Gordianus has been up to in the years that pass between the two books.

In Death Wears a Mask, Gordianus tracks a murderer who targeted an actor in between play scenes.Bethesda tells the story of a King's missing treasure in The Tale of the Treasure House.Rich Patrician Lucius Claudius, who soon becomes a close friend of Gordianus, first comes to him with a mystery about a will, a supposed dead young man, and a sighting of the supposedly dead man in A Will is a Way.The Lemures is about two separate households plagued with spirits of the dead, which Gordianus must figure out even as he has his own wits scared out of him.Gordianus' life is once again put in danger when he is sent to ransom a kidnapped young boy from pirates in Little Caesar and the Pirates.The Disappearance of the Saturnalia Silver once again involves Lucius Claudius and his missing Saturnalia gifts-- this one is solved by Bethesda.In an attempt to get away from the chaos of the city, Lucius Claudius and Gordianus escape to the country in King Bee and Honey, but death and mystery follows.To entertain Lucius Claudius, Gordianus tells him the story of The Alexandian Cat and how he saved the life of a fellow Roman in Egypt after the murder of a sacred cat.Finally, in the namesake story, The House of the Vestals, Gordianus must help Cicero by solving a murder that happened in one of the most sacred buildings of Rome.

I was very eager to read this book because Roman Blood is such a good book and now one of my favorites.When I got The House of the Vestals, I didn't know it was a novel of short stories until I opened it up.Each story is short enough that it is to the point with no tangents or intertwining plotlines to stray from the one major plot focus, the mystery.Novels can get complex because they require a lot of build up and climax, as well as a lot of details, but short stories need very little of any of that and can get to the point quickly.I like short stories because they are like instant gratification, plus you can sit down and read one in between other things.Sometimes my attention span needs a break.

There are also some good character developments within the short stories.First, there is the introduction of Lucius Claudius, a new character.Second, we get to see how Gordianus and Eco are progressing in their relationship, which is almost father and son.Third, the story Little Caesar and the Pirates tells of how Gordianus got his bodyguard Belbo.And fourth, Bethesda once again shows herself to be more than a mere slave-- indeed, she is quickly showing herself to be the equal of Gordianus and very perceptive.All in all, I just really like Gordianus-- he is realistic, witty, imperfect, and practical.Like Roman Blood, the history is rich and subtle, not shoving facts in your face so much as using them for setting but teaching you about the time nonetheless.If you like short stories and Roman mystery, there is no way that you won't like The House of the Vestals.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good bridge
This is the second book in the roma sub roma series that takes place between the two novels. This is a good book but most of the stories are forgettable. The best short story is the namesake of the book about the potential sexual escapades of a vestal virgin which would lead them to be executed. Very good book that bridges together the two novels but nothing really exciting.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Read from a Fine Author
I did not like this book. It is not that Steven Saylor is any less erudite or any less able to create brilliant portraits of Rome during the Republic. It is just that the genre itself is not Satlor's strong point. At its best, fiction creates a bond between the reader and the characters, and most of the time that takes a certain number of words. These stories are simply too short to create any compelling relationship between the reader, author and characters. While Gordianus the Finder is in all the stories, and while Lucius Claudius is in most of the stories, they are simply too short. Saylor never has enough time to hook the reader in, to make the story compelling and gripping. Rather, before the situation even gets interesting, the story is over.

Towards the end of the book, the solutions are not even clever. While there is a certain amount of imagination in the early stories, the later ones can be solved with little work. I still admire Saylor's ability to combine history and fiction together so effortlessly; I still am amazed at how much Roman History gets imparted in the course of - at least here - very few pages. But I miss getting truly involved with the story and characters. I look forward to getting back to Saylor's strong point - the complete novels. But even when not at his best, Steven Saylor is worth reading, and you will pick up bits of history do matter how simplistic the story. ... Read more

10. A Mist of Prophecies: A Novel of Ancient Rome
by Steven Saylor
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-05-18)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312983778
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the year 48 B.C., Rome is in the midst of Civil War. As Pompey and Julius Caesar fight for control of the Republic, Rome itself becomes a hotbed of intrigue, riven by espionage, greedy profiteering, and bitter betrayals...


A beautiful young seeress staggers across the Roman marketplace and dies in the arms of Gordianus the Finder. Possibly mad and claiming no memory of her past, Cassandra--like her Trojan namesake-was reputed to possess the gift of prophecy. For such a gift there are many in Rome who would pay handsomely...or resort to murder.

Obsessed with Cassandra and her mystery, Gordianus begins to investigate her murder. As he gradually peels away the veils of secrecy that surround Cassandra's life and death, he discovers a web of conspiracy linking many of the city's most ruthless and powerful women. Now Gordianus's pursuit of the truth not only endangers his own life, but could change the future of Rome itself. . .
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Customer Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good historical entertainment
This novel is another in Steven Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" "Secret History of Rome" series.In this one, the protagonist, Gordianus the Finder, falls in love with a beautiful woman who is apparently a seeress.When she is murdered, he seeks to find the culprit.All of this takes place against the backdrop of Julius Caesar's struggle with Pompey Magnus ("the Great One") as Rome is riven with civil strife and intrigue.

While this is not my favorite novel in the series, it is excellent historical fiction and an enjoyable read.The author departs from his usual linear storyline and instead presents the story as flashbacks.The technique is effective, if a bit jarring to Steven Saylor regulars such as myself.Recommended.RJB.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great series, but this volume disappoints
I'm a big fan of Saylor's Gordianus series and gladly give four or five stars to the other "Roma sub rosa" books. But this one volume in the series is a disappointment on several counts. First, Gordianus starts an affair that's totally out of character for him, as a person who's normally all about truth and integrity. Second, the book is written in alternating chapters that jump between two timelines in a very jarring way; it's a dumb literary device that detracts from Saylor's skill as a writer. Third, the plot isn't much fun, it's just Gordianus visiting a series of potential suspects until things fall into place.

Last but not least, the Kindle edition of this book is overflowing with appalling (and sometimes hilarious) typos due to poor text recognition software. Clearly no attempt was made to clean it up with even the most basic spelling checks. I know that's not Saylor's fault, but there's no good place to point it out except in a review. The fact is that Amazon's Kindle versions of books often do a disservice to their authors and readers, and Amazon should be ashamed to be charging normal paperback prices for digital books of such poor quality.

I wish I could just say, "skip this book," but aspects of it carry over to the next one, The Judgment of Caesar -- and that volume is excellent, so it would be a shame to miss the background you need to fully enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Saylor has a true gift for his genre. He is stand alone. If you have read the preceeding books in the series, this one will not dissappoint. If not, start with the first.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole's review
I am a Steven Saylor fan and anything about Gordianus the Finder is something I would read.A Mist of Prophecies was a very readable historical novel.Quite a bit of true history but written in a way that keeps the reader going trying to figure out "who did it".I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Roman history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ten Tenacious Women
Mist of Prophecies is a tale of trouble. In this story Gordianus encounters many problems.Caesar and Pompey are fighting a war for control of the republic.Rome is in desperate economic times as inflation rages.Most people have difficulties paying rent and buying food.Merchants seldom stock their shelves.Gordianus, himself, borrows money to pay expenses and falls deeply in debt to a selfish banker named Volumnius.Bethesdia, his wife, suffers from a strange ailment which saps her energy and affects her mood.Diana, his daughter, pushes him to get work and suggests that she and her husband Davus take over the family business. Gordianus begins to feel old and useless.

Then, in addition to his wife and daughter, eight more women challenge Gordianus' sanity: Cassandra, a seeress with a reputation of being mad; Culpernia, Caesars wife; Clodia, a manipulative temptress he has encountered before; Faustia, daughter of former dictator Sulla and wife of the banished politician Milo; Fulvia, Clodius' widow who married Caesar's lieutenant Curio; Terentia, the pious and proper wife of Cicero; Antonia, Mark Antony's wife and cousin; Cytheris, an actress and former slave who is Mark Antony's lover. Gordianus is convinced that one of the women is responsible for the death of Cassandra.

Action begins after Cassandra's death.Gordianus, who had some secret relationship with Cassandra, arranges for and finances her funeral.The story unfolds through flashbacks and encounters and interviews with the ten women.Gordianus decides that Cassandra was poisoned.At first Gordianus avoids inquiring into the situation.After being nagged by Diana, he begins his investigation, wanting only peace of mind.

Mist of Prophecies presents fascinating characters through Gordianus' interviews. The characters are encountered in their own element and most reveal themselves through their words and behavior.Gordianus, being a man, doesn't always completelyunderstand what he sees.

This is a fun book written by an excellent historian.I may read it again. ... Read more

11. A Murder on the Appian Way: A Novel of Ancient Rome
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-04-14)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312539681
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Torchlight flickers on the elegant marble walls.  The sound of a mob echoes in the street.  The year is 52 B.C. and the naked body of Publius Clodius is about to be carried through the teaming streets of Rome.  Clodius, a rich man turned rabble-rouser, was slain on the most splendid road in the world, the Appian Way.  Now Clodius's rival, Milo, is being targeted for revenge and the city teeters on the verge of chaos.
An explosive trial will feature the best oration of Cicero and Marc Antony, while Gordianus the Finder has been charged by Pompey the Great himself to look further into the murder.  With the Senate House already in ashes, and his own life very much in danger, Gordianus must return to a desrted stretch of the Appian Way - to find the truth that can save a city drunk on power, rent by fear, and filled with the madness and glory of Rome.
Amazon.com Review
This is the fifth in Steven Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" series:murder mysteries set in classical Rome just before the fall of theEmpire. Once again, Saylor's sleuth is Gordoianus the Finder, a sortof Sam Spade in a toga, who is hired by the rich and infamous of Romansociety to solve their personal and political troubles. This time thepowerful politician Publius Clodius is murdered on an open road and asriots break out, the fate of the Republic is in doubt. The plotting isdeft and the action -- both physical and intellectual -- isnonstop. Most of the characters here are heterosexual but Saylor (whoalso writes great erotica under the name Aaron Travis) brings acritical gay sensibility to his tales that forms the cultural andemotional crux of his work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (66)

5-0 out of 5 stars Saylor sails flawlessly through roman politics
The author has deep knowledge of the events leading to this Gordianus adventure and Steven Saylor "sails" through Roman politic with ease...not so for Gordianus that lives one of his most dangerous investigations so far.

The events by themselves are fairly known, so the mystery part is somewhat second rate; but the fabulous grid that the author builds where many factions try to get information and contact our "finder" is rethorical, emotional, pratical (Cicero, Fulvia, Pompeus respectively) and leads to a very interesting story.

Several new characters are introduced, others are developed and there is one huge loss.

Again, this series represent an excellent History lesson, with many facts about Rome and its streets, Roman politic, society and family.

The political fighting between Milo and Clodius will be the stepstone for events that will change the western world...and our Gordianus and Eco are in the middle of giants!

This political mystery is definitively highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery in Republican Rome!
"Murder on the Appian Way" is another installment in Steven Saylor's excellent "Gordianus the Finder" series of stories set in the latter days of Republican Rome.Here, Gordianus is commissioned by Marcus Tullius Cicero, who is acting as defense counsel, to investigate the murder of Clodius, who was killed in his caravan on the Appian Way.As with most of the "Gordianus the Finder" novels, the story proceeds at a leisurely pace, because the real purpose of the novel is to give the reader an understanding of life in ancient Rome.Saylor succeeds brilliantly.

Saylor reminds us that Republican Rome had no police force.Thus, if an unruly mob erupted there was no civic force available to control it.So corrupt was Rome that everyone knew that a police force would simply sell out to the highest bidder.Similarly, Roman justice was hopelessly corrupt, with jury verdicts only incidentally concerned with the actual truth of the matter.This makes Gordianus' and Cicero's jobs that much more difficult.

In common with the entire Gordianus series of novels, this one is entertaining and also good history.Highly recommended.RJB.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much history not enough mystery
I have been reading the Sub Rosa series this summer. The first novel Roman Blood was a superior mystery.
The author put the reader in Rome. The mystery was beautifully plotted; the characters came alive. I was happy. the other books were not as good, but I stayed with them. This one is the low point, so far. I had trouble sustaining interest in reading this. I finished finally to a no surprise ending. the mystery was especially transparent. I usually keep he mysteries that I red, but this one I threw away at the hotel. I hope these stories get better. If the next one is not better, I will skip reading any others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great whodoneit in ancient Rome
Part of the Roma sub rosa series, this is a great story set in the ancient Rome of Caesar and Pompey. It continues the story of Gordianus the Finder as he and his son Eco go about discovering who killed Clodius, a Roman politician with some bitter enemies. Truly enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Series that Gets Better with Each Installment
I started with the first volume of Steven Saylor's sub rosa series and after Murder on the Appian Way, I have to say that each one is better than the last. This is just as much historical fiction as a mystery series. Besides interesting plots and characters, in Murder on the Appian Way Saylor takes us on a tour of ancient Rome as it might have been. We witness an urban riot, go on a guided tour of the Appian Way in which we visit villas, inns, and temples, experience adventures with Rome's most unsavory characters, and also meet such historical characters as Julius Caesar, Pompey, Cicero, Marc Antony, and many others. I am a Roman history buff which is likely part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. Familiarity with the institutions, historical stream, and personalities heightened my understanding and enjoyment. For me, this is a slam dunk 5 Star review. ... Read more

12. Arms of Nemesis: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 320 Pages (2008-05-13)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002XUM1Y8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The hideously disfigured body was found in the atrium. The only clues are a blood-soaked cloak, and, carved into the stone at the corpse's feet, the word Sparta. The murdered man was the overseer of Marcus Crassus's estate, apparently killed by two runaway slaves bent on joining Spartacus's revolt. In response to the murder, the wealthy, powerful Crassus vows to honor an ancient law and kill his ninety-nine remaining slaves in three days. Now Gordianus the Finder has been summoned from Rome by a mysterious client to find out the truth about the murder before the three days are up.

Enmeshed in a world of desperate slaves and duplicitous masters, extravagant feasts and sordid secrets, Gordianus must risk all he loves, including his life, to stop a senseless slaughter-and save the very future of Rome itself.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery in the days of Spartacus
This is the second novel in the "Gordianus the Finder" series by Steven Saylor.The story is told in the first person by the protagonist "Gordianus the Finder" who is a private investigator in the days of Republican Rome.This story is set during the slave uprising led by Spartacus, when Gordianus is hired to investigate the murder of one of Marcus Crassus' close associates.Crassus believes that one of the household slaves committed the murder, which means that under Roman Law the other 99 slaves in the household must be put to death.Gordianus suspects otherwise, and the story of his investigation makes for an excellent story.

Saylor has a superlative ability to describe Roman society as though he has actually seen it.The reader is transported by this novel (and the other "Gordianus" novels) back to a society that originates many of the conspicuous features of our own modern Western culture, but which, nevertheless, is startlingly unlike it.

As in all of the "Gordianus" novels, there is also something of a history lesson contained in this story.In this one, the author highlights the evils of slavery as it was practiced in Roman times.Slaves are regarded by many Romans as less than human; as "objects" in fact.Masters can torture or kill slaves with impunity and often do.Indeed, slave testimony is only deemed valid in a Roman court if it is induced by torture.The utter inhumanity of this institution leads to the Spartacus uprising, which is ultimately crushed by armies led by Marcus Crassus.

It is a tough call as to whether this one is better than "Roman Blood."Highly recommended.RJB.

5-0 out of 5 stars The last few years of the Republic...
South of Rome, in the Gulf of Puteoli stands a villa.That is not strange, for there are a lot of villas in that area - it is where the rich and famous live.Well, mostly just the rich.Very, very rich.And one of these rich villa owners is murdered.
And Marcus Crassus, the very richest among the rich, wants to know why the owner, a member of his family, has been killed.And he hires Gordianus the Finder to solve the case.And he better solve it quick, because the lives of a hundred slaves hang in the balance.Because it looks like some slaves are the ones who murdered the overseer, their master, and if they did ALL the slaves will die.Every man, woman and child.
Come to Italy, during the last years of the Republic, among the fears of the Romans, and the blood spilled because of a slave revolt led by a man named Spartacus.Will the Finder find the murderer?Will he be able to bring him to justice if he does?Read and found out!

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent combination of history and mystery
This is number 2 in the "Gordinius the Finder" series:Start with number 1, Roman Blood, to get a sense of flow and development of the characters.After reading Roman Blood you will want to continue with this book Arms of Nemesis, which shares the same great traits as the first book in the series.My review for Roman Blood is:

This excellent historical fiction mystery has 1) an interesting story and 2) a believable, detailed sense of time and place that drops the reader right into the historical scene. The author avoids the problem encountered in some Roman-times fiction wherein the story becomes lost or frustrating because the reader is trying to keep track of complicated family trees or political complexities. Here the author has found just the right balance to keep the story moving; but his real talent is portraying the streets, the life, the customs of ancient Roman in a fascinating and realistic manner. And the story line is based on an actual occurrence documented in ancient texts. A great read and the beginning to a very good mystery series. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Second Entry in the Series
"Arms of Nemesis" by Steven Saylor, is if anything even a better novel than "Roman Blood".Gordianus is hired by the Roman general and politician Crassus to learn the identity of a murderer among his slaves.Political considerations determine that if the killer is not found Crassus must kill all of his slaves as a matter of Roman justice.What follows is a race to discover the truth and save the lives of dozens of innocent slaves.Saylor throws plenty of red herrings and false leads in Gordianus' way and builds a fantastic dramatic tension in the process.In the distance lies the shadow of Spartacus' epic slave rebellion, driving even the most moderate Romans to fear and violence.A wonderful follow-up to "Roman Blood" and great mystery story in its own right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I read this as the third book in the series. This is the second novel and is just about as good as Roman Blood. This is about a rich man that is hellbent on killing his 100 slaves because he believes two slaves were responsible for killing a man. Also in this novel Gordianus' son Eco goes on the case with his dad and we really start to see his family take shape, which in my opinion makes this novel better because we get to see Gordianus' home life. ... Read more

13. Rubicon: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 320 Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312582420
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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As Caesar marches on Rome and panic erupts in the city, Gordianus the Finder discovers, in his own home, the body of Pompey's favorite cousin. Before fleeing the city, Pompey exacts a terrible bargain from the finder of secrets-to unearth the killer, or sacrifice his own son-in-law to service in Pompey's legions, and certain death. Amid the city's sordid underbelly, Gordianus learns that the murdered man was a dangerous spy. Now, as he follows a trail of intrigue, betrayal, and ferocious battles on land and sea, the Finder is caught between the chaos of war and the terrible truth he must finally reveal.
     Rubicon, set in early days of the Roman Civil War, is a pivotal novel in Saylor's bestselling and critically acclaimed series of novels set in late Republican Rome.
Amazon.com Review
Steven Saylor's seventh installment in his Roma Sub Rosaseries begins with a character saying, "Pompey will be mightilypissed." Scholars might argue that there is no evidence of thisparticular synonym for anger ever being used in 49 B.C., but the authorwould no doubt respond that poetic license includes doing whatever ittakes to bridge the gap for modern audiences. And indeed, the head of the Roman Senate is mightily pissed. Rome is on the vergeof another civil war, and the forces of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony havecrossed the Rubicon River and are marching toward the capital. To topit all off, one of Pompey's favorite cousins has been garroted to death.

Before Pompey flees the city, he asks Rome's greatestdetective, Gordianus the Finder, to solve the murder. But Pompey hasreason to distrust Gordianus, who may have an allegiance with Caesar.To force his loyalty, Pompey seizes the detective's son-in-law, and makes himjoin his household army. By doing so, he ensures that Gordianus'sinvolvement in the coming conflict will be a very personal one. Confusedand troubled, Gordianus walks through Rome toward the house of his formerfriend and mentor, the poet Cicero. "All around me, I felt the uneasinessof the city, like a sleeper in the throes of a nightmare." Awakening fromthe nightmare, surviving the chaos, and solving this whodunit will be theFinder's toughest battle yet. --Dick Adler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best "Gordianus the Finder" novels
This is a mystery set in Ancient Rome in the late-Republican period.Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar are in conflict for control of the Roman Republic.In Rome, friends, families, and business colleagues are torn apart by the conflict, as Rome's close-nit elite must choose sides: Pompey or Caesar.In the midst of all this, Gordianus the Finder is confronted with a sitation in which one of Pompey's closest relatives is killed on Gordianus' own property."Pompey is mightily pissed..." and he tells Gordianus that he must find out who committed the murder ... or else!

This is a genuine mystery with a genuine surprise ending, no spoilers here.It is set against the backdrop of the Roman Civil War, and as usual, author Saylor skillfully weaves history with storytelling.This is one of the very best "Gordianus the Finder" novels that both aficionados of this series, and newcomers to it, will enjoy.Highly recommended.RJB.

5-0 out of 5 stars greatmystery, great historical novel in one
I read a lot about ancient Rome, however, none of my reading (mainly nonfiction) has brought that historical time and place to life for me as much as the mystery novels of Steven Saylor.I've taken a bit of time to write a review of RUBICON, because I feel it is one of his best, with one of the more compelling story lines, however, all of them are good.The other reviewers have covered the plot, which I won't review here, however the mystery I must admit had me guessing until the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saylor got it right
I loved the book, and of course, the main character but I truly enjoyed how the author treated the historical personalities in the novel. If you like history mixed in with your mystery, you can't do much better then Steve Saylor and his Sub Roma series

5-0 out of 5 stars Rome Panics - - Civil War
In Rubicon, Steven Saylor reveals the diversity of his tales of Gordianus.From the clever investigations of Roman Blood, through the psychological thriller of Catilina's Riddle, to the political struggle of Murder on the Appian Way, Saylor writes "novels of Ancient Rome (not just detective stories).Rubicon presents a very different puzzle.
Rubicon is a story with many levels: the military struggle between Caesar and Pompey, the strife between Pompey and Gordianus concerning the death of Numerius Pompey, the tension in Gordianus' family over the drafting of Davus and the long absence of Gordianus, and the struggle with Tiro during the long trip through Italy.Although the main plot appears to be the search for the killer of Numerius Pompey, it is the characters and their struggles that enhance this book.

Rubicon has very strong characterization.Pompey is a strong leader who is impatient, proud, and very stubborn.Pompey seems to live off the reputation of earlier campaigns.Caesar appears almost infallible.He is a dynamic leader with the unquestioned loyalty of this troops.His army is so disciplined that every one of his more than thirty eight thousand soldiers knows his job and does it without being told.Caesar is also human.He is generous with his friends and shows mercy to his enemies.Tiro, who in earlier stories was the cautious slave of Cicero, has grown into a confident and driven freedman.He often masquerades as Soscarides, a traveling philosopher.

The details of the military campaigns are impressive.The battle scenes are very realistic.As a former military engineer I marveled at the accomplishments of Vitruvius, Caesar's military engineer, who builds blockades and battle towers in the bay.Although actually floating on the water these devices are stable,unyielding as barricades,and effective fighting platforms.

Rubicon is a masterful novel.It is accurate history and vivid description.If you like history, if you enjoy suspense, if you revel in visualizing humanity in realistic situations,you must read this.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
All of Saylor's books are really good reads.They are set in ancient Rome and are written so as to make the reader feel that they are in ancient Rome.It's as if you can even smell the air in the markets.Saylor is really a scholar of Ancient Rome, but also an excellent story teller.I highly recommend. ... Read more

14. The Venus Throw: A Mystery of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-12-23)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002LITS5M
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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On a chill January evening in 56 B.C., two strange visitors to Rome - an Egyptian ambassador and a eunuch priest - seek out Gordianus the Finder whose specialty is solving murders.  But the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, has come to ask for something Gordianus cannot give - help in staying alive.  Before the night is out, he will be murdered.
Now Gordianus begins his most dangerous case.  Hired to investigate Dio's death by a beautiful woman with a scandalous reputation, he will follow a trail of political intrigue into the highest circles of power and the city's most hidden arenas of debauchery.  There Gordianus will learn nothing is as it seems - not the damning evidence he uncovers, not the suspect he sends to trial, not even the real truth behind Dio's death which lies in secrets - not of state, but of the heart.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another excellent "Gordianus the Finder" novel
"The Venus Throw" is not my favorite Gordianus the Finder novel, but it is an excellent novel nonetheless.In this novel Gordianus is tasked to find the murderer of an Egyptian envoy, who also happens to be one of Gordianus' mentors in his early youth.Things are not as they seem, and Gordianus finds his loyalties and his skills as an investigator to be challenged.

One of the things that Saylor really seems to understand is how the institution of slavery functioned in late Republican Rome, and how it destroyed the Roman working and agrarian classes.This theme is worked into "The Venus Throw" and the reader will come to more fully appreciate the harm that the institution of slavery inflicted upon Roman society, and its cruelty and indifference to human suffering.

Highly recommended.RJB.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent combination of history and mystery
This is number 4 in the "Gordinius the Finder" series: Start with number 1, Roman Blood, to get a sense of flow and development of the characters. After reading Roman Blood you will want to continue with this book Arms of Nemesis, which shares the same great traits as the first book in the series. My review for Roman Blood is:

This excellent historical fiction mystery has 1) an interesting story and 2) a believable, detailed sense of time and place that drops the reader right into the historical scene. The author avoids the problem encountered in some Roman-times fiction wherein the story becomes lost or frustrating because the reader is trying to keep track of complicated family trees or political complexities. Here the author has found just the right balance to keep the story moving; but his real talent is portraying the streets, the life, the customs of ancient Roman in a fascinating and realistic manner. And the story line is based on an actual occurrence documented in ancient texts. A great read and the beginning to a very good mystery series. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gordianus finds more than he bargained for
When his past philosophical mentor, Egyptian philoisopher Dio of Alexandria, comes seeking is help at staying alive, Gordianus finds himself moved by his predicaments, by Doi's helpless defence of his country's independence, but unable to provide what he asks. So Dio gets killed, and Gordianus must confront himselfwitha baffling enigma, and the most fascinating woman of his time, Clodia, sister (some say also lover) of the rabble rouser Clodius. Gordianus shall be enthralled by human beauty, the uglyness of human capacity of deviousness and intrigue, the hopelessness of poor Catullus' unreqwuited love for Clodia, and Cicero's exquisite eloquence. But he'll find the truth, a truth he'd rater wouldn't have known, about his mentor and about someone else.
A gripping, fascinating taleof the Roman Republic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gordianus'Discoveries about Gender
Venus Throw is a multi leveled story that involves: the murder of the Egyptian Ambassador Dio, investigation into the murder conspiracy, exacting preparation for the trial of the accused, presentation of he trial, and the gender education of Gordianus.
The conspiracy to murder Dio, the ambassador and former teacher of Gordianus, contains several missed murder attempts.The investigation by Gordianus is suspenseful and very difficult for the "finder".The trial is brilliant with possibly Cicero's best oration.
The fun theme in Venus Throw is the many sexual allusions.He visits arun down barthat has a phallus symbol for it's sign (a very large penis).He listens to a detailed discussion of how eunuchs castrate their new members. He finds himself in abathhouse where men are propositioned.And his new employer, Clodia is blatantly explicit sexually .
For me, it is Gordianus' struggle with women that steals the show. Gordianus finds he is puzzled by his interactions with several females: His wife Bethesda, his daughter Diana, his client Clodia, and the slave girl Zotica. Gordianus has lived with Bethesda for many years and thought he knew her, but suddenly her behavior is unpredictable.His daughter Diana, who he saw as a child, now acts more like her mother's co-conspirator.Clodia is forward and openly manipulates men. Gordianus finds himself walking the streets of Rome in the middle of the night pondering women.As any male who has attempted to understand women will agree, Gordianus is just beginning a long journey toward appreciating the female gender.
This theme could be even more appreciated after reading the following:The House of the Vestals: The Investigations of Gordianus the Finder (Novels of Ancient Rome)A Gladiator Dies Only Once: The Further Investigations of Gordianus the Finder (Novels of Ancient Rome)

3-0 out of 5 stars out of time and place
It appears from some study I did after reading this novel
that the Roman morals portrayed are one to two centuries ahead of the actual
decay that did happen.
The Dio mentioned is probably roughly based on Dio Chrysostom of the first century AD
not the first century BC. The incipient decadence of the Roman Empire had it's origin in this era
of the Republic , but wasn't as strongly manifested as this novel portrays.
In later life Cicero was a stoic convert of the Diodotus school
which was diametrically opposed to the Epicurean traits portrayed here.
As the moral turpitude of the Egyptian philosopher is one of the major plot devices
the issue is important to the credibility of the plot.
In a stoic dominated era where the leaders were short haired and clean shaven,
this novel justs fails to be historically accurate.
During the Republic the morals portrayed would
have sentenced the people involved to capital punishment
by a magistrate. The Romans were actually a very conservative heterosexual
society at this time and even allowed only one marriage as the Caesar Cleopatra affair
has written clearly in history.
It was the effects of the bread and circuses of the Empire
that led to the later laxness in morality.
A Study Of History (Abridgement of Vols. 1-10, 2-vol. set) ... Read more

15. Rome at War: Caesar and his legacy (Essential Histories Specials)
by Kate Gilliver, Michael Whitby, Steven Saylor
Paperback: 288 Pages (2005-03-20)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$2.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1841768812
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The story of a small town that rose to become the most powerful empire of the ancient world has been an inspiration to generations of people. Even after the collapse of the Roman Empire, many nations and their leaders have styled themselves 'heirs of Rome', emulating its society, technology and warfare. This book details the wars that shaped the Roman Empire, from the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar and the subsequent civil war between Caesar and Pompey which tore apart the ageing Republic, through the expansion of the early Empire to its 'decline and fall'. Contains material previously published in Essential Histories 21: ‘Rome at War’, Essential Histories 43: ‘Caesar's Gallic Wars’ and Essential Histories 42: ‘Caesar's Civil War’. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative Survey
Recently I have become very interested in Roman history and have found this book to be a good overview of the empire from Caesar's time forward.This text as aforementioned is a compilation of: The Gallic War, Caesars's Civil War, and Rome at War 229-696.It covers in very brief summary the major actions/wars of the Roman empire both Western and Eastern parts but due to its length 288 pages is very brief on some subjects such as battles and commander bios.That being said the most important battles: Siege of Alesia, Pharsalus, Thapsus, and Adrianople are diagrammed and some detail is provided in describing the battle.What made it a very good book is its appreciation of not just the army but of the socio-economic factors at play that either strengthened or weakened the army and how that played an integral role in the outcome of war.Overall a good book I would recommend to others

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid book for begginners
A good book in the Osprey tradition.It basically is 3 books in one from the Osprey publications.Many good maps and outlines of battles.Not as in-depth as some other books, but a great starting place for anyone interested in the Roman war machine ... Read more

16. The Judgement of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa)
by Steven Saylor
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-06-23)
list price: US$11.09 -- used & new: US$6.65
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Asin: 1841199222
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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48 B.C.: In search of a cure for his ailing wife, Gordianus the Finder leaves Rome on a journey to Egypt, little realizing the part he is about to play in some of the most crucial moments in the history of the ancient world. The civil wars that have consumed both Rome and Egypt are about to reach their climax in the fabled city of Alexandria, capital of Egypt. Gordianus will witness the death throes of the old world, and play a crucial role in the birth of the world to come. For years, across seas and continents, the rival Roman generals Caesar and Pompey have engaged in a contest for world domination. Now Pompey, his forces destroyed at the battle of Pharsalus in Greece, flees to Egypt, hoping to make a last desperate stand on the banks of the Nile. But Egypt is a treacherous land, torn apart by the murderous rivalry between Queen Cleopatra and her brother King Ptolemy. Caesar, too, is on his way to Egypt, where his legendary encounter with the goddess-queen will spark a romance that reverberates down the centuries. Into this hothouse atmosphere of intrigue and deception comes Gordianus the Finder, seeking a cure for his wife Bethesda in the sacred waters of the Nile.But when his plans go awry, he finds himself engaged in an even more desperate pursuit - to prove the innocence of the son he once disowned. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Losing his touch?
I'm a HUGE fan of this series and I preordered the book prior to publishing because I couldn't wait to see how the next chapter in the saga played out.

Unfortunately, I was dissapointed and let down by this latest installment.Although his historical references are still engaging and instructional, he failed to keep my interest in the ongoing characters in Gordianus' family.And where is the promised explanation of how Bethesda was miraculously returned to the family after supposedly drowning in the last book!Was Bethesda even present in this book?Yes, she sat with the family in the grandstands during the triumphs!Is that as extensive as her role is going to be from here on out?

The story was loose and not nearly as page turning as the others in the series.I really hope Saylor puts more effort into the next book, if there even is another.......

4-0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read
This man writes in such a comfortable style, that it is a pleasure to curl up with one of his books and while away an afternoon.I enjoyed the short stories more in that he focused on a particular part of roman living in each story.The novels balance more on the detective skills of the protagonist. But his novels are just as entrancing to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saylor Has Done itAgain
The Judgement of Caesar continues the saga of Gordianus the Finder in the same high style of the rest of the Sub-Rosa series. Our sleuth is present at the un-wrapping of Cleopatra and takes the back way to visit the tomb of Alexander. As usual, he unravels many a know along the way and then leaves us with... a cliff-hanger???
Make this one come out right, Steve.

I strongly suspect that The Judgement of Caesar and the rest of the the sub-rosa series will be read with pleasure 200 years from now. ... Read more

17. A Twist at the End : A Novel of O. Henry
by Steven Saylor
Hardcover: 464 Pages (2000-04-05)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$17.36
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Asin: B000C4T4J2
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Steven Saylor, author of the highly praised Roma Sub Rosa mystery series, now blends real-life characters and meticulous historical research into a chilling fictional narrative about America's first recorded serial killings and one of our most celebrated short story writers O. Henry. And just like O. Henry's famous denouements, Saylor's novel promises to deliver... A TWIST AT THE ENDAustin, Texas in 1885 is a place of dust and dreams, quick riches, and wild desires. But "the Servant Girl Annihilators" are also making it a city of fear. The first victim, a mulatto housekeeper, is torn from her bed and murdered. Six more women will die, including pretty blond Eula Phillips, who is bank clerk Will Porter's lover. Over a decade later, living in New York as O. Henry, Will cannot escape his memories-or a blackmailer's merciless demands. Then a mysterious letter invites him back to Texas to follow the dark path of a sadistic killer and make a stunning discovery as he is forced to confront the demons of his own tormented mind...AUTHORBIO: STEVEN SAYLOR is the author of the internationally popular Roma Sub Rosa mysteries, set in ancient Rome. A Texas native, he now divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.Amazon.com Review
Austin, Texas, 1885. Manhattan, 1906. Twenty-year-old ghosts haunt Will Porter, a.k.a. famous writer O. Henry, who may have changed names and cities but hasn't outrun the memory of a series of murders that cast a chilling shadow over a sunny and bustling town. In A Twist at the End, Steven Saylor, author of the Roma Sub Rosa mystery series (Rubicon, The House of the Vestals, A Murder on the Appian Way, The Venus Throw), riffs on reality: brutal and sadistic, the "Servant Girl Annihilator" killed seven Austin women in 1885, but the murders were never solved. Saylor weaves together murder mystery and love story, historical exploration and fictional creation, combining careful research with artistic license to hazard a potential solution to the now-obscure mystery.

Will is summoned back to Austin by a mysterious stranger bearing a letter whose author claims to have discovered the perpetrator of the hideous crimes; Saylor cleverly frames the story as a series of flashbacks during Will's trip to Texas. The sense of the train moving both forward, west toward Austin, and backward, deep into the past, accelerates the story itself, creating a foreboding sense of portent. Will himself is an engaging protagonist: "He considered himself to be fairly well-rounded, for a self-educated fellow. He could throw a lariat, quote from Idylls of the King, and grow an exceedingly fine moustache. Despite this résumé, once in Austin he had encountered some difficulties in earning a livelihood." His youth and naiveté are compelling counterpoints to the gritty boisterousness of the capital city, which Saylor evokes with careful precision.

Saylor has a light touch with historical irony. All too often, writers wrestle unsuccessfully with the temptation to have their characters make claims that we know, with all the wisdom of hindsight, will be disproved. The trick is to do this without making readers feel they've been poked sharply in the ribs (Do you get it? Do you get it?), and Saylor exhibits the commendable talent of grounding his characters' thoughts and observations in their historical context; they never seem forced or sly.

Unfortunately, the urge toward verisimilitude carries its own risks. Too often, Saylor will weave an item of historical record into his narrative--the so-called Female Clerks bill, for example--then seem oddly compelled to dispose of it; he brusquely states its actual outcome and drops it forevermore. The reader has the impression of a file drawer sliding shut (perhaps the one labeled "Historical Atmosphere"). Such moments, though they testify to Saylor's familiarity with Texas history, rupture the flow of the narrative.

The opening of the novel is so successful--with its O. Henry-esque twist that leaves readers ruefully shaking their heads, realizing too late the author's trickery--that one expects great things from the conclusion. Sadly, Saylor falls short of his own inspiration; the dénouement may be logical, but it certainly is neither startling nor ironic, and what, after all, is an O. Henry story without irony? --Kelly Flynn ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars Which twist does the title refer to?
Having picked up this book without ever hearing of Steven Saylor prior, I have no 'comparison' to make with his other works, which seem to be very popular, and the 'bar' that followers of his works set in reading this novel, which has no connection to his 'Roma' series other than being authored by the same man.

'A Twist' tells a story of author O. Henry, famed for his offbeat, colorful narratives in the late 19th/early 20th century, having adopted this 'nom de plume' following (as this story tells) a conviction for embezzlement in Austin, Texas. This 'novel of O. Henry' also reveals that Will Porter (O. Henry's true identity) had an indirect 'involvement' with a series of unsolved murders in late 1800's Austin, known as the Servant Girl Killings, as the victims (mostly) were African-American servants in caucasian households, and all murdered (and raped) in the same fashion. Twenty years later Mr. Porter is called back to Austin as an old friend purports to have unraveled the mystery of the killer's identity.

The bulk of the story takes place in Will Porter's past, when the murders took place. It reveals his humble beginnings in the working world...his near obsession with a married lady, Eula Phillips, and his friendship with newspaper reporter Dave Shoemaker, who follows the murder case from the beginning.

I have high praise for this story with all but the end, as some of the 'revelation' didn't suprise me in the slightest. It would seem that Mr. Saylor was a little too liberal with his clues to truly mask that intended 'twist'. I, however, found a revelation OTHER than the identity of the killer to be a much greater surprise, and wonder if perhaps the author intended for that to be the 'twist' that the title refers to.

This book is many things;...a well-written historical novel, a good murder mystery, a (doomed) romance story, and an entertaining 'biography' of the early years of author O. Henry. While I believe that fans of Mr. Saylor's much more prolific 'Roma' series are disappointed in this work, as author Anne Rice seems to have found when she deviated from her most popular series of books to other subject matter, I still recommend this book to those who enjoy a good historical novel and 'whodunnit'. While the killer's identity was not much of a surprise to me, there is still a very large 'twist at the end' awaiting readers.

2-0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic Twaddle
Being a big fan of Steven Saylor, I purchased "A Twist at the End" after having already read all of Mr. Saylor's "Sub Rosa" stories and other ancient Roman mysteries with relish.Approching this novel with an open mind, the book started with a lot of promise. I was expecting a good mystery but instead the story got bogged down with a lot of melodramatic twaddle that sadly misses the mark. The storylines are too spread apart to form a cohesive novel. I found myself skipping whole pages of prose that to me were excessive and unnecesary. It got to the point that reading "A Twist At the End" was too labor intensive.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Twist at the End
ISBN 0684856816 - When I picked up a copy of this book, it was with the hope of selling it for a reasonable price.Usually, I curse the (insert bad word)s who ruin book prices by selling for a penny.In this case, I thank them!Unable to sell it, I thought I'd read it and am glad I did.

Will Porter was living in Texas when one of America's earliest serial killers started killing.At first, the murders were of blacks, and the city seemed to care little about the loss of life.Porter's interest is at least in part because he is close friends with Dave Shoemaker, who covers the story for the papers.When the killings eventually take two white women in one night - including Porter's one love - the manhunt becomes more serious.

At the same time, the author tells the story of O. Henry - the name under which Will Porter writes, years later, in New York.He is being blackmailed, although who and why are not revealed; he is being hounded by editors that he's promised articles to, and he hasn't got them written.When he is approached by a man who claims to be a friend of a friend, when the man claims that their mutual friend has the answer to who the Servant Girl Annihilator was... Porter sheds O. Henry to go back to Texas for the answer.

While I'm glad I read this book, it's not because it's a great book.It's a good book, with an interesting fictional story that twines together two true stories.That twining together simply muddies up the line between fiction and reality and I think it did a disservice to both stories.Still, the book is well-written, manages to present some possible answers to unanswered questions and gives Porter a nice, clean reason for his embezzlement (which isn't a newly suggested reason, it's just more fleshed-out).I can't help but wonder how the descendants of Grooms Lee, a buffoon in both history and historical fiction, and Eula Phillips, painted a whore here at least, feel about the book.I found myself annoyed that Saylor had Elisabet Ney speaking like Yoda, but that's a small thing.I'd read something else from Saylor, if it was either fiction or non-fiction, but there's something in his style with historical fiction that I won't be seeking out again any time soon.

3-0 out of 5 stars O. Henry the Sleuth
While not as interesting nor as successful as his Roma sub Rosa series, Steven Saylor's venture into an earlier America is still well worth reading. The plot, although traditionally convoluted, is a bit too obvious for my taste.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not interesting enough to actually dislike
This book was boring. It wasn't actually offensively boring, it just went on too long, was too dull, and could have been chopped quite effectively. It dragged. There was extraneous detail that makes one think of a teacher's pet, showing off. It just went on and on and on and then really arrived nowhere. The foreshadowing was not subtle. The sexual politics were rather annoying. It was a slog.I won't be trying any more of this author's books. ... Read more

18. Past Poisons: An Ellis Peters Memorial Anthology of Historic Crime
Paperback: 356 Pages (2005-12-25)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$1.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596871601
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Edith Pargeter, who also writes under the name Ellis Peters, previously combined her passion for history and storytelling in her creation of the much-loved monk, Brother Cadfael. It was she who paved the way for many others to explore the past through the thriving field of historical mysteries, and for this she was loved by readers and other writers alike. Past Poisons is a bumper crop of outstanding new short stories by the leading American and British historical crime writers, all wishing to pay tribute to the work of Ellis Peters. It is a fitting memorial, and a landmark anthology that no fan of historical crime can do without. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Unimpressive
The name Ellis Peters in the title of the book was clearly meant to lure readers.None of the writers are up to her standards.There is no shame in not being a master but it left me feeling a little cheated.There were a couple of stories that I kinda liked but the rest were forgettable except two were downright yucky.And the tributes to Ellis Peters written by each and every author were so uninteresting that I didn't bother to read any of them through.

The biggest sign of how unimpressed I am with this book -- I am going to give it away which I never ever do, but I feel kinda guilty that I am going to inflict this lame book on some poor soldier in Iraq.I shall have to include better reading material and some snack food in the box. ... Read more

19. Honour the Dead
by Steven Saylor
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-07-25)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$26.47
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Asin: 1841195650
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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The year is 1885. A brutal killer is terrorizing the streets of Austin, Texas, and panic engulfs the city as one black servant after another is slain. The spectre of bigotry emerges when lawmen indict a black man but as the bodies continue to mount it becomes apparent that the killer is still on the loose...and the resulting trial uncovers one explosive scandal after another, threatening to tear the city of Austin apart. Steven Saylor, author of the resoundingly successful series of murder mysteries set in Ancient Rome [Roma Sub Rosa], proves his sure touch with this sinister and gripping thriller set nearer our own times, with resonances that still ring out. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars An odd coverage of an uninteresting event
The author points out that this series of crimes is of little importance and has largely been forgotten. It will remain so. ... Read more

20. The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits
Paperback: 526 Pages (2003-09-25)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$39.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786712414
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A host of totally new stories written by some of the most popular writers of historical mysteries brings to life the glorious and nefarious world that for nearly a thousand years—from the founding of the Republic in 510 B.C. to the deposing of the last emperor, Romulus, in 476 A.D.—was ancient Rome. Events from the turbulent reigns of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Caligula, and Nero provide the colorful background to tales ingeniously contrived by contributors like Paul Doherty, Gillian Bradshaw, and Richard Butler. While John Maddox Roberts offers a new SPQR story, Steven Saylor, Marilyn Todd, Rosemary Rowe, Darrell Schweitzer, and Michael Kurland challenge their sleuths Gordianus the Finder, Claudia, Libertus, Pliny the Younger, and Quintilian with baffling new cases. Mary Reed and Eric Mayer conjure new intrigue for John the Eunuch, and Peter Tremayne sends his Fidelma on the trail of a Roman legion lost in Ireland. In addition to the original stories specially commissioned for this volume, this book also includes such rare reprints as a Slave Detective story by Wallace Nichols and one of the earliest historical mysteries to be set in Rome, "De Crimine" by Miriam Allen de Ford. which features Cicero as the investigator. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nothing special
This is an interesting collection of stories set in various periods of ancient Rome.The first is set during the Third Punic War, and the last two stories take place after the fall of Rome.

It's a nice idea, and the stories are (mostly) well-written, but most of them don't really evoke the time and place.They could happen almost anywhere.For example, one story is set during the reign of Domitian, but other than one mention of his name, it could just as easily occur during the reign of Hadrian or Caracalla.

Also, most of the stories don't really have a complex mystery, and calling them "whodunits" is more than a stretch.This is less important to me than evoking the historical milieu, but for those looking for juicy mysteries may well be disappointed.

The best stories are, unsurprisingly, by John Maddox Roberts and Steven Saylor, the two best writers in the genre.Roberts' story is not so much a mystery as a tale of political intrigue, but that's fine with me, as he's a brilliant writer and his feel for the period is unsurpassed.

There are a couple of stories I really didn't like, but most of them are middling pieces with a few interesting twists.I was hoping to discover more writers specializing in this genre but didn't come across anything that interested me.Still, these are decent light reads.

4-0 out of 5 stars Consistently good anthology
This is a very good anthology, with a wide spread not only of quality authors, but of stories set in different times and places in the Classical Roman sphere of influence.I am a minor historian and was not perturbed by any glaring inaccuracies.As a reader for pleasure I was not annoyed by painstaking details or footnotes.Some ripping good mysteries, and I find myself tempted to check out certain novel series based on short stories involving their sleuths.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for short story lovers!
For those who love Steven Saylor, you are in for a treat forther into Roman times before Gordanius,the Finder and beyond.For those who have never traveled to ancient Rome or have other favorite "Roman era" authors, you are sure to find them here and maybe some new ones!

3-0 out of 5 stars Some really great stories; some flat stories
I love the mysteries from Steven Saylor and Rosemary Rowe so I thought this would be a great collection.They each have a story in this collection.Both are good, Rowe's better than Saylor's.I was also very impressed with Wallace Nichols older story; it made me want to try and find his other work.Caroline Lawrence's children's story was also interesting but I didn't think it did the period justice.In fact, maybe because I study ancient history (and just taught a college level Roman History course in the spring of 2004) I couldn't get over some of the historical problems with several of the stories in this collection.For example Michael Jecks' piece was full of very odd words that just did not fit in the context of his chosen time period and that made it very difficult for me to read.Other stories just didn't have main characters that grapped me.*shrug* Large collections are generall so-so in quality so I guess I should not have been very surprised.

4-0 out of 5 stars A bit tired
The stories in this book just don't seem to be of the same caliber as those in previous Mammoth editions...or maybe I'm just getting tired of "ancient" mysteries.One thing I do know, however...this book needed a good editor...and didn't have one...too many misspellings, etc. ... Read more

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