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4.5 out of 5 stars26
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 November 2008
Though this book was published far later in the series, the novel actually fits in at number two in the timeline of Saylor's novels about the adventures of Gordianus `The Finder', and his family in ancient Rome. Well, that is until he publishes another back-history story, that is so frustrating to some readers.

The book is mainly a collection of short stories, set during the time period between the books `Roman Blood' and `Catalina's Riddle', which fill out some of the events in Gordianus's life, that the author felt needed filling in.

The stories themselves, whilst entertaining and filled with all the history that Saylor has researched and come to be praised for, are however far too predictable for my own liking. Indeed I found myself far more reading the short story to confirm who the `perpetrator' was, rather than waiting for some suspense filled ending. Maybe unlike other books in the series the author did not have enough pages to fill them out more, for the book is only about 300 pages, and the stories themselves only about 50 pages in length.

Maybe, also his other fiction has prepared me too well on Roman society and the devious lengths that the patricians will go to raising their profile within the Forum or the Political world, or for that matter just for their own greed !

Overall, a smooth, enjoyable book and one that would encourage me to further read more Saylor novels, but far too predictable. Those out there who like his style of writing will enjoy it, as will those who like to read about this period in history. 4 out of 5.
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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2006
A great collection of short stories from, in my view, the master of Roman murder mystery fiction - interesting, amusing and at times horrible and grotesque. A great read.
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Steven Saylor's fascination with Ancient Rome began at an early age. A history graduate and former newspaper and magazine editor, he lives in Berkeley, California. His series of books about Ancient Rome and featuring Gordianus the Finder are extremely popular both here in England and also in America. Anyone who is a fan of Lindsey Davis will love these books too. Steven Saylor brings Ancient Rome to life, so much so that the reader can lose himself in the sights and sounds of the ancient city.

Gordianus the Finder, the investigator of crimes, a man whose skill and integrity have made him much sought after by some of the most important men in Rome. Men who may need a secret to be kept, men who need to know that when Gordianus is working for them he will be discreet and not susceptible to bribery.

This is a collection of nine short stories featuring Gordianus the Finder. I am not really a fan of short stories, preferring something that I can get my `teeth into.' But I did find these very entertaining and enjoyable and what they do achieve is that they help to fill in the gaps that are left by the longer novels. We learn a little more about Gordianus's slave, Bethesda, who has now become his wife and some of the many other details skimmed over in the novels. For those who love the Saylor books this is well worth reading.
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on 28 November 2012
Written as a form of gap filler, filling the gaps between his first and second novels about Gordianus, this groups of excellently constructed short stories is outstanding. Not only are they first class reads, but they each bring to the fore a different aspect of the character that is Gordianus.

The book is also bringing to the reader more and more of an understanding of what life was really like in Rome during the life time of its central character, as well as introducing new and interesting characters that become his friends. If I was in any doubt as to whether I would read any more of Saylors books, then those doubts are dispelled. I have 12 of them now. I heartily propose that those of you reading this should do likewise. But, a word of caution-DO read the books in the order in sequence. Visit Saylors web site to see the right order.
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on 6 October 2000
This book is a series of short adventures, wich could be placed between "Roman Blood" and "Arms of Nemesis". I have personally read all of Saylors books, except the late "Last seen in Massilia", wich I hope to read soon. I have enloyed reading all of his books so much, i can't wait.
If you have read some of his books, you will know of his friend Claudius, Catilina's adventure in the house of vestals, the Alexandrian mob after the killer of a cat, etc. Well, here you have the stories, some of when Gordianus was a young man.
I very much like his writing, and the mistery is always, and i do mean always, kept to the end. The reason i don't give it 5 stars, is because i cant place this book over any of his other novels. Impossible. It is after all, only of short stories, no matter how good they are.
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VINE VOICEon 19 May 2014
There's no doubting Saylor's knowledge of ancient Rome (my own speciality), but somehow I can't quite come to terms with a 1st Cent. BCE speaking and reasoning like a CSI pathologist. It doesn't feel right. Murder on the Appian Way (the Milo/Clodius enmity) was excellent in explaining a highly confusing issue of that time. I couldn't fault it. But this succession of short stories doesn't do. The ancient world did possess medical and surgical skills and a highly refined legal code. But pathologists and detectives, even amateur? I doubt it, but I could be wrong.
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on 28 July 2009
Steven Saylor has brought considerable scholarship to his Rome Sub Rosa series, and this is one of the stronger novels in the series
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on 30 December 2013
I lowered the rating to 4 star as I felt the book would not really stand alone ... you'd need to be a Roma sub Rosa fan to appreciate it. This is certainly up to Steven Saylor's usual standard and filled in so many gaps in the life of Gordianus. An excellent read if you're already a fan. Start reading the others if you're not - you'll soon be hooked.
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on 15 November 2012
If you are a fan of the Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, then you will probably love this collection of short stories. They fit between the first and second books of the series, and fill in a little about Gordianus, but they are mainly a series of 'whodunnits'!
Great fun, a good read, but a bit pricey for what they are.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 December 2006
Steven Saylor's fascination with Ancient Rome began at an early age. A history graduate and former newspaper and magazine editor, he lives in Berkeley, California. His series of books about Ancient Rome and featuring Gordianus the Finder are extremely popular both here in England and also in America. Anyone who is a fan of Lindsey Davis will love these books too. Steven Saylor brings Ancient Rome to life, so much so that the reader can lose himself in the sights and sounds of the ancient city.

Gordianus the Finder, the investigator of crimes, a man whose skill and integrity have made him much sought after by some of the most important men in Rome. Men who may need a secret to be kept, men who need to know that when Gordianus is working for them he will be discreet and not susceptible to bribery.

This is a collection of nine short stories featuring Gordianus the Finder. I am not really a fan of short stories, preferring something that I can get my `teeth into.' But I did find these very entertaining and enjoyable and what they do achieve is that they help to fill in the gaps that are left by the longer novels. We learn a little more about Gordianus's slave, Bethesda, who has now become his wife and some of the many other details skimmed over in the novels. For those who love the Saylor books this is well worth reading.
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