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Historical Fiction

Last Seen in Massilia

Last Seen in Massilia Family bonds and family relationships play an important role in this, the latest of Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa mystery series.

Set in Marseilles in 49 B.C.E., 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.


RubiconCaesar and his troops have crossed the Rubicon and are marching on Rome. Pompey, his rival, prepares to flee south with the Senate and his loyal troops, leaving the city unguarded, ungoverned, and on the verge of chaos.

In the midst of the mounting panic, Pompey's cousin and protege, Numerius, is found murdered, garroted in the garden of Gordianus the Finder. Enraged, Pompey demands that Gordianus investigate the murder and uncover the killer, taking his son-in-law held by Pompey, Gordianus must learn the secrets of a dead man and reveal his killer to protect his own family from being crushed by the opposing forces that will forever change the Roman world.

Catilina's Riddle Catilina's Riddle

Set in ancient Rome, the latest in Saylor's carefully researched historical mystery series centers on the age-old theme of politics.

Even in 63 B.C., it seems, ambitious, clever, scheming, scamming politicians flourished. Take Gordianus, a Roman citizen turned gentleman farmer who has fled noisy, crowded Rome to seek peace in the Etruscan countryside.

To his chagrin, Gordianus finds he can't escape the intrigues and influences of the city as easily as he had hoped. He becomes embroiled in a bitter political rivalry between his patron, Cicero, and a clever up-and-comer, Catilina.

A Murder on the Appian Way

A Murder on the Appian Way As civil war between Caesar and Pompey looms, lesser demagogues wage gang war in the streets of Rome. When the rabble-rouser Clodius is killed on the Appian Way, Rome erupts in flames. His arch-enemy Milo is the obvious suspect...or is he? Amidst the rioting, Gordianus is hired by both the dead man's family and none other than Pompeius Magnus to discover the truth.

The Venus Throw

The Venus Throw

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 is murdered.

Arms of Nemesis : A Novel of Ancient Rome

Arms of Nemesis Second in the acclaimed Roma Sub Rosa series, starring Gordianus the Finder.

South of Rome on the Gulf of Puteoli stands the splendid villa of Marcus Crassus, Rome's wealthiest citizen. When the estate overseer is murdered, Crassus concludes that the deed was done by two missing slaves, who have probably run off to join the Spartacan Slave Revolt. Unless they are found within five days, Crassus vows to massacre his remaining ninety-nine slaves.

To Gordianus the Finder falls the fateful task of resolving this riddle from Hades. In a house filled with secrets, the truth is slow to emerge. And as the hour of the massacre approaches, Gordianus realizes that the labyrinthine path he has chosen just may lead to his own destruction.

The House of the Vestals

The House of the Vestals

When I had the good fortune to meet Steven Saylor two years ago, he described the role that many of his fans played in dishing up this nice collection of short stories that fill in some of the questions raised by the popular Roma Sub Rosa series.

Set between the years 80 and 72 B.C.E., these nine tales document some of the early adventures of Gordianus the Finder between the time of Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis.

During the course of these cases, Gordianus establishes firm and tender relationships with Eco, his adopted son. Bethesda, his Jewish-Egyptian concubine. Belbo, his loyal manservant and bodyguard and Lucius Claudius, his generous patron.

Roman Blood

Roman BloodFirst of Saylor's excellent Roma Sub Rosa series, this remains one of my favourites.

Marcus Tullius Cicero's papers are the inspiration for Saylor's first novel, a fictionalization of the immortal Roman orator's first important case--his defense of well-heeled farmer Sextus Roscius on the charge of killing his hated father.

We meet narrator Gordianus the Finder, hired by Cicero to dig up evidence, and so good at his job that he soon learns the pretext that lured the elder Roscius to his death--a summons from Elena, a young prostitute pregnant with a possible heir.

Gordianus ferrets out the location of the murder, finds witnesses who set him on the track of a brutal conspiracy, and reveals some interesting truths about the Roscius family in time for Cicero's famed courtroom histrionics.

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