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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forsyte Saga set in ancient Rome
Roman Blood, the first of Steven Saylor's Sub Rosa series of novels, introduces Gordianus the Finder and his family, fictional characters who become increasingly memorable and claim a hold on our affections and sympathetic concern as they interact throughout the series with many famous historical characters, Julius Caesar, Pompey The Great, Cicero, and Spartacus being the...
Published on 11 Sep 2003 by Michael Wells Glueck

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going
I found this rather heavy going and wordy, especially since the story didn't really get going until about a quarter of the way through. I disliked the lengthy diversion from the plot at a crucial point to detail the life story of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Maybe the author thought it would heighten the tension to postpone the resolution of the murder, but I found it...
Published 8 months ago by Livvy M


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forsyte Saga set in ancient Rome, 11 Sep 2003
This review is from: Roman Blood (Paperback)
Roman Blood, the first of Steven Saylor's Sub Rosa series of novels, introduces Gordianus the Finder and his family, fictional characters who become increasingly memorable and claim a hold on our affections and sympathetic concern as they interact throughout the series with many famous historical characters, Julius Caesar, Pompey The Great, Cicero, and Spartacus being the best known. The lawlessness of a great city - Rome - without a police force; the brutal treatment of slaves as chattel; the political intrigues and assassinations - all are faithfully portrayed in historically accurate and authentic detail. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these novels is their overlay of modern liberal values represented by the fictional narrator, who manumits (frees) and marries his Egyptian concubine, Bethesda, adopts two slaves as his sons, understands and accepts the independence and sovereignty of women, reveres and serves the truth as much as Diogenes, and evinces a genuine religious piety. The characters are memorably drawn and individuated, and the finder's daughter, whose patronymic name Gordiana is shortened to Diana, is perhaps the most appealing daughter in literature since Cordelia. Like all works of a master spirit, these books provide an edifying education, with recognizable allusions to ancient as well as Elizabethan literature, and they contain flashes of sardonic humor appropriate to the anatomy of the human condition that they reveal. They are among the very best of modern recreations of that peculiar combination of greatness and squalor that was ancient Rome.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hooked instantly, 1 Jan 2006
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Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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I stumbled across this book quite by hazard but was hooked from the very first page. Gordianus, 'the last honest man in Rome', is thoroughly believable because - how rare this has become in historical thrillers and novels - he is depicted as a real human being with real emotions (happiness, joy, sadness, jealousy, you name it) instead of a one-dimensional puppet.
The setting is very well drawn and the plot engrossing, the hours you'll spend reading this book will afterwards feel as if you've stepped back in time. What more can one ask for? I for one immediately went after all the other books in the series.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it and read it..., 20 Jan 2004
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Marcus Pailing (Bartlesnipe's Revenge) (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roman Blood (Paperback)
This is, simply, one of the best historical novels I have read (and I've read a few). There's no point in wasting hundreds of words on it - just read it and enjoy a superb story (based on Cicero's first major trial) with a realistic portrayal of Republican Rome.
Then, when you've done with that, read the other Gordianus books - you won't regret it!
So there!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Rome brought to life, 7 May 2012
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Kindlelover (East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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One of the things I love about my kindle is the ease with which I can search through many lists of books and discover new authors (new to me in fact). This is how I discovered Steven Saylor and his novel "Roman blood". After coasting through a number of categories of books and much reading of reviews I decided to give this book a try. I found it to be an intriguing story about the "finder" Gordianus who helps to solve a mystery of a horrible crime. The author's style tells the fascinating story woven round descriptions of life in the ancient Rome. I was treated to an interesting history lesson too. This book is a great read with all its twists and puzzles from the start to finish as it brings ancient Rome to life. Greatly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome resurrected, 24 Mar 2013
By 
Samuel Romilly (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder 1) (Paperback)
No greater praise than my title. Saylor manages to mix a suspenseful thriller with a painstaking and accurate reconstruction of ancient Rome. On more than one occasion I have thought some assertion absurd only to check it and find out it was true. This is a very intelligent book, even dialogues with such literary luminaries as Cicero are convincing. It is a feast for classicists but the lay reader will find much to amuse and instruct.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Blood, 1 Feb 2012
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V. Kucharska (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder 1) (Paperback)
This item was bought as a Christmas gift and I believe it was greatfully received as the title had been requested.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Gordianus, 16 Aug 2011
This review is from: Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder 1) (Paperback)
This is the first book in the 'Sub Rosa' series. I started reading them out of order and have become addicted. Although Gordianus is a fictional character, the 'real' people of the time, the environment and the proveable historic references are described with an amount of accuracy that reflects the author, Steven Saylor's academic background.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Blood, 17 Jun 2010
By 
J. L. Palmer (UK) - See all my reviews
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A superb story, Saylor has successfully captured the tastes and smells of 80 BC Rome . Link this with a detective with a difference, who always gets his man, and one is hooked from start to finish. I'm delighted there are many other books to read in this series.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent roman who dunnit, 6 Dec 2006
By 
Good Books (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
I'm not normally a fan of the detective genre but this book is excellently written. Surprisingly Mr Saylor is able to translate an old Cicero mystery into something we can enjoy. Intelligently written possibly better than the Falco books although I enjoyed those as well. Gordianus is a character that you can take an almost instantaneous shine to.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When in Rome....., 6 Dec 2002
By 
John (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Roman Blood (Paperback)
Steven Saylor has succeeded in writing a brilliant account of what life might have been like in Ancient Rome. The characters represent a broad spectrum of Roman people, from slaves (Tiro primarily, and Bethesda) to the corrupt dictator, Sulla.
The central character is Gordianus the Finder, a private investigator. The plot concerns his somewhat dangerous journey to uncover the truth before Sextus Roscius goes on trial for the murder of his father. What he dicovers is a complex conspiracy involving, amongst others, those who walk the corridors of power. The verdict following the trial (which is brilliantly described by Saylor) is by no means the conclusion of the story which has a twist at the end.
The book is written in a style that is rich in imagery and provides a very plausible account of what life might have been like 2000 years ago in Rome. You can almost smell the food at Chrysogonus's banquet, feel the cobbled streets beneath your feet, and breath the steam from the Roman baths.
Overall Roman Blood has an interesting plot, well developed characters, and a richly descriptive style providing an insight into Ancient Rome.
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Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder 1)
Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder 1) by Steven Saylor (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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