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The House of the Vestals [Paperback]

Steven Saylor
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Oct 1999
It is the Rome of the Late Republic, and Gordianus has a knack of finding trouble - and dead bodies. Known to many as the one man in the ancient world who can both keep a secret and uncover one. In this volume, blackmail goes horribly wrong and there is no one to take the blame.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing; New edition edition (14 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841190594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841190594
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Saylor is the author of EMPIRE: THE NOVEL OF IMPERIAL ROME, a follow-up to the international bestseller ROMA: THE NOVEL OF ANCIENT ROME. These two epic novels comprise a multi-generational saga that spans the first 1200 years of the city, from Iron Age trading post to the height of empire under Hadrian.

Steven is also the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder, set in the ancient Rome of Cicero, Caesar, and Cleopatra. The latest book in the series is THE SEVEN WONDERS, a prequel that follows the 18-year-old Gordianus on his journey to the Seven Wonders of the World.


Outside the Roman books are two novels set in Steven's native Texas. A TWIST AT THE END is based on America's first recorded serial murders, which terrorized Austin, Texas in 1885. The chief protagonist is young Will Porter, who later became famous as O. Henry. HAVE YOU SEEN DAWN? is a contemporary thriller set in a small Texas town not unlike the one where Steven grew up.

Steven's books have been published in 21 languages, and book tours have taken him across the United States, England, and Europe. He has appeared as an expert on Roman life on The History Channel, and has spoken at numerous college campuses, The Getty Villa, and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel.

Steven was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics. He divides his time between homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas. "If I could have another home," he says, "it would definitely be in London, my favorite big city in the world." When not using his brain, he likes to keep in shape running, swimming, and lifting weights.

Product Description


"Engrossing ... Simmering with eroticism ... An absorbing brew of Rome's decay." -- Publishers Weekly on The Venus Throw

"How wonderful, to have a scholar write about ancient Rome; how comforting, to feel instant confidence in the historical accuracy of a novel." -- Sunday Times on A Murder on the Appian Way

"I can't say enough good things about Saylor's style, scholarship or his mastery of the period." -- The Poisoned Pen on Catilina's Riddle

"Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthrals." -- Ruth Rendell in The Sunday Times

Book Description

Wonderfully entertaining mystery stories set in the world of the acclaimed ROMA SUB ROSA series. It is the Rome of the Late Republic, and Gordianus the Finder has a knack for finding trouble - and dead bodies. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictively Predictable. 18 Nov 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection 16 Dec 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars House of the Vestals 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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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steven Saylor continues educating us 6 Oct 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sixth book in the Sub Rosa Series 23 May 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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4.0 out of 5 stars One for Gordianus Fans 30 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The House of the Vestals. 17 Dec 2013
By Jo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steven Saylor's other book of short stories.
Recommended, for a short Train Bus or Coach journey.
Still Gordianus Stories for when traveling a few stops.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 31 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once again a very good read from the author Steven actually feel like you are living the book....easy to read but full of historical facts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift
My Father-in-law requested a collection of Steven Saylor books, he's an avid fan.
He really enjoys reading this type of historical book, and rates this author highly.
Published 10 months ago by Ness
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the series
I brought the books in paperback version initially, now I've got them on my kindle. Great story lines and a rip roaring read, you feel you're part of Roman history. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lesley
5.0 out of 5 stars House of the Vestals
Steven Saylor's writing style has got me hooked on all the Roma sub Rosa books. It gives me a clear picture of what life was like at that time. Highly recommend it.
Published 14 months ago by J. R. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Saylor Scores Highly AGAIN
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. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Peter T H
4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of short stories featuring Gordianus
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. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Simon Binning
3.0 out of 5 stars The House of the Vestals
The service was good. It was a used book but was described as being in "good" condition. On arrival I thought that this was the case but on opening the book I found that the book... Read more
Published on 2 Oct 2009 by Mr. Norman Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sixth Book in the Sub Rosa Series
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. Read more
Published on 23 Dec 2006 by J. Chippindale
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