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4.2 out of 5 stars21
4.2 out of 5 stars
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This book is a compilation of nine mysteries involving that likeable sleuth Gordianus the Finder. They are all new stories and anyone who is a fan of Saylor will certainly want to add this book to their collection.

Steven Saylor is right up there with a number of excellent authors who use the backdrop of Ancient Rome as a canvas for their literary works. It is a period of history that holds a particular magic for me, so basically I cannot get enough of them, excellent, good or mediocre. I would certainly put Saylor's books in the excellent category and although in the main not a great lover of short stories, in this case I am more than happy to make an exception.
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on 18 September 2007
Saylor's Gordianus the Finder operates as a private detective in Rome during the unstable times that mark the end of the Republic. He has starred in a whole series of excellent novels.

This collection of short stories (I recognise two of them that have already been anthologised elsewhere) lacks the dark intensity that so often characterises the novels. Even where the subject is murder there is a lighter feel to them. There is also, in some of the stories at least, a predictability that lets the reader work out the twist in the tail long before he should. The overall result is a light, undemanding read: pleasant, and I don't regret having bought the book, but it's not what we have come to expect with Gordianus.
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on 21 September 2005
I am a huge Steven Saylor fan and have loved every singe one of the books; I was so upset after finishing the Judgement of Ceaser because it seeemed that Gordianus was no more... This collection of short stories, as with the previous (house of Vestals I believe) are genius, thet fill in the various time gaps which are left by the longer volumes, they introduce different characters and the quick pace makes a nice change from the longer investigations. I enjoyed all the short stories but especially 'A Gladiator Dies only once' as it was full of very rich characters and the twist of the investigation was although slightly predictable, fulfilling and fun. If you enjoyed the other Gordianus books you certainly will not be disappointed.
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on 29 July 2010
Saylor's second release of Gordianus short stories are as delightful as those in the `House of Vestals'. In chronological order he opens with The Consul's wife, a quick story of newspaper cryptic messages and a paranoid consul with a beautiful and independent young wife who's not adverse to backing a quick sesterce at the races. Swiftly narrated and demonstrative of Gordianus' quick eye and intelligent lateral thinking our super sleuth solves this case carelessly in a matter of hours and takes his fee. The second `If a Cyclops Could Vanish in the Blink of an Eye' is the shortest of the nine and is Bethseda's only real mention during this feline crime. `The White Fawn' has Gordianus scampering west to Spain to meet up with the renegade general Sertorius in order to chase down Mamercus Claudius, a hot-headed youth who has joined up with him against his grandfather's wishes. Gordianus gets dragged into a search for a white fawn that is acting as Sertorius' soothsayer. This story has a darker ending with our first murder of an innocent.
`Something Fishy in Pompeii' appeals to our palatable readers with its focus on industrial espionage over a missing batch of finest garum whilst `Archimedes Tomb' neatly combines the pomposity of Cicero in Syracuse with the infamous `Eureka' and the bath. Here, Gordianus is called upon to solve another murder after a Trimalchio-esque dinner between the merchant men Agathinus and Dorotheus with their pet poet, Margero. Here we find a reference to Tiro and Eco is also along for the ride.
`Death by Eros' deals with unrequited love in a gymnasium as the overly beautiful Cleon is found at the bottom of the pool and his sister Cleio and tutor Mulciber are dragged in. In what I feel is the best story of the lot, `A Gladiator Dies Only Once' Gordianus sits through a munera with Cicero, witnessing the brutality of gladiatorial combat, and is then by recruited by the Nubian, Zuleika, who is searching for her brother Zanzibar whose death isn't quite what it seems. In `Poppy and the poisoned cake' we find Lucius Gellius Poplicola, a somewhat stuffy censor, allowing Gordianus to rapidly solve the mystery of his cyanide cake with his wife Palla, and son Lucius but finds himself a pawn in a greater political game which echoes many of the fuller novels. We conclude with a visit to the oppulent table of Lucullus and his cherries for a mystery that skips murder entirely and offers Syalor's own conclusion to Lucullus' fading from history.
This is a delightful set of small additions to the Sub Rosa series and serve well to fill in the gaps of the thirty odd years that we have followed our Finder. I sincerely hope more Gordianus come from the pen of Saylor but this may mean he has to move away from creating mysteries based on histroical events as those events are fast running out, though having Gordianus involved in the most famous murder of all in 44B.C must sure lure Saylor's pen.
If you're an ancient history murder mystery fan then Saylor's one of the best. Buy it.
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on 17 April 2012
This was the first Gordianus book I read, and it must have made a good impression because I have become quite a fan of the series. I can't remember where this one fits into the series, but I don't think the timeline is important with the Gordianus books. Some people say 'you must read x before reading y' but I disagree, the stories hold their own even out of the context of the series - a bit like James Bond films, you might say.
This is a great read, and I think it would be especially suitable for teenagers with an interest in ancient Rome.
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on 15 November 2012
This is another collection of short stories featuring the star of the Roma sub Rosa series.
If you are a fan of the series, then you will certainly enjoy them; if you have not read any of the books, I would suggest that these shorts are not the best place to start - try Roman Blood, the first in the series.
Good reading, but too expensive for what they are.
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on 9 February 2013
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. Love the diverse family and the plots woven around historical events.
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on 29 December 2012
Can't speak highly enough regarding the stories about Gordianus. These short stories explain what happens in the period between the first and second books and should be read before the third in the series.
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on 11 December 2013
Steven Saylor gives you a good, deep insight into life and how people lived in the roman times. Once you've read one book, you'r hooked. Brilliant Author. Would highly recommend you try his books.
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on 17 December 2013
A book of Gordianus short Stories by Steven Saylor.
Recommended when traveling by Train, Bus or Coach to while the time away.
Short Journey short story.
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