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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent!, 17 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Arms of Nemesis (Paperback)
I am currently reading my way through this marvellous series of books, this being the second (following 'Roman Blood') The Ancient Roman detective Gordianus the Finder travels south from Rome to the Cup of Italy, playground of the seriously wealthy, in order to solve a murder for which two slaves have been blamed. I was not disappointed with this after really enjoying the first novel. The books contain a wealth of factual historical information which is interwoven with the fiction. These are not dry historical tomes, but easy to read enjoyable 'whodunnits' which educate and entertain in equal quantities. A fast paced mystery from a superb writer.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping crime novel that explores Ancient Roman society, 18 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Arms of Nemesis is another in Saylor's Gordianus the Finder series. This one addresses the issue of Roman slavery, and Gordianus' attitudes to it while working for Marcus Crassus at his country villa solving a murder. It brings in Sparticus' slave revolt to give the social aspect of the book focus, so that while you are reading another gripping detective book, there is also the other thought provoking side. The mystery itself has the usual twists and turns, and although there is a great deal of scholarly research that is obviously behind all the details, Arms of Nemesis is incredibly easy to read. What more could you want from a book?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rewarding read, 4 Jun 2006
By 
Bee of Good Cheer (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Although superficially similar to the Falco series by Lindsey Davis, I found this book to be much superior.

To me, Gordianus is the more real character of the two - more human, more fallible, less of a wise cracking smart arse. Okay, so the book wasn't as funny (although there is wit) but it seemed to be a richer novel because of this.

The sights and sounds of Roman life are graphically detailed - perhaps a little too much in the scenes set on a galley - the author has obviously done stacks of research, but he wears it lightly, and facts aren't crammed in at the expense of plot.

I'll be searching out more by this author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greed, Power and Slaughter !, 19 Dec 2008
By 
Mr. R. Coleman (Marlow, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have to admit that when it comes to reading books in a series, I am one of those people who tend to get, save or collect a few and then read them all in a row in order to get some consistency and ongoing relationship with the characters - also without having to wait for the next one in the series being brought out in `cheapy' paperback format !! (Cheapskate!) So I found this book not only enthralling for the story, but also entertaining to follow the progression of `Detective' Gordianus, his adopted son Eco, his wife and the rest of the Roman household occupants.

Basic story overview ? Gordianus is awoken in the middle of the night and whisked off with his son Eco to one of the private estates of the rich - but never-the-less- `ill-fated' Marcus Crassus. On the suspicious death of one of Crassus's employees and family members, Crassus has ordered the entire slave retinue - men, women and children - to be slaughtered within three days unless the truth comes out - and maybe not even then if a slave is proven to be guilty.

Like all mystery novels in this genre, the author has filled this book with a variety of richly illustrated characters who all seem to have had a reason for murdering the victim. From poets, philosophers, soldiers, engineers, artists and slaves, everyone could be the mysterious killer. The actual full events do not come out until near the end, and though I could spoil it for you and tell you who did it, I will just say it was not the butler - or was it ! There is certainly no easy guessing the end of the story like the `House Of Vestels'.

Like his previous novels Saylor's research has paid off in the writing of this book with Roman history coming to life with vivid imagery, and as I have said before in reviewing his material, if you like Iggulden, Scarrow or Mannfreidi, your pretty much guaranteed to enjoyed Saylor.

Another good effort that, that has seriously left me looking on well known auction sites and seconds hand shops for more, though why the bookshops fail to stock his work is beyond me. 5 out of 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book in the series, 21 Nov 2008
I am currently reading this series having read and really enjoyed Roma (also a great book)and am enjoying this series as much, I prefered Arms of Nemesis to Roman Blood, I felt Roman blood was a slower to get going but it was the start of the series and we were having the characters introduced to us. Arms of Nemesis, however gets stuck straight in and flows wonderfully. Well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book, 6 Dec 2006
By 
Good Books (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
I also followed Roman Blood with this one. Surprisingly this is set several years later. It is once again excellently written with a good detailed description of roman culture and draws the reader in very rapidly. I look forward to reading the rest!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Book in the Sub Rosa Series, 17 May 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Arms of Nemesis (Paperback)
Steven Saylor's fascination with Ancient Rome began in his childhood. 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.

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.

Marcus Crassus is the wealthiest man in Rome. Apart from all his property and businesses in Rome he has a fine villa in the Gulf of Puteoli. When his estate manager is found murdered it seems pretty obvious to the great man that the deed was done by two of his missing slaves. A renegade gladiator called Spartacus is mounting a rebellion and two of Crassus's slaves are missing, probably run off to join the Slave Revolt.

Crassus vows that unless the missing slaves are found within 5 days he will massacre his remaining slave. It falls to Gordianus to find out the truth of the matter and in a place riddled with intrigue and secrets Gordianus realises that all is not as it seems and the deeper he delves the more danger he is bringing upon himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Book in the Sub Rosa Series, 18 Dec 2006
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Steven Saylor's fascination with Ancient Rome began in his childhood. 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.

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.

Marcus Crassus is the wealthiest man in Rome. Apart from all his property and businesses in Rome he has a fine villa in the Gulf of Puteoli. When his estate manager is found murdered it seems pretty obvious to the great man that the deed was done by two of his missing slaves. A renegade gladiator called Spartacus is mounting a rebellion and two of Crassus's slaves are missing, probably run off to join the Slave Revolt.

Crassus vows that unless the missing slaves are found within 5 days he will massacre his remaining slave. It falls to Gordianus to find out the truth of the matter and in a place riddled with intrigue and secrets Gordianus realises that all is not as it seems and the deeper he delves the more danger he is bringing upon himself.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as Roman Blood (i.e. very good), 1 Jan 2006
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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After finishing Roman Blood I immediately started Arms of Nemesis and liked it as much. Not set in Rome but in the south of Italy, Gordianus is faced with another mystery and gets tangled up with the formidable Marcus Crassus.
One of the things I like a lot is that Gordianus keeps developing (as a real human being would) and the set of characters surrounding him keeps growing (in this book Meto, adoptive son of Gordianus). Add to that an intelligent mix of real and fictional characters and you have all the necessary ingredients for a first-rate historical detective story (which probably makes it sound a lot easier than it is to write one).
On to the third book in the series!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saylor is one of the gods of the pantheon., 24 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Arms of Nemesis (Paperback)
What makes Gordianus such a comfortably accessible, loveable rogue of a character? Numerous protagonists throughout the history of the literate word have surely grasped more attention than the simplistically honest, erudite philosopher and investigator whom Saylor has created. Take for example Sherlock Holmes, Brother Cadfael, the steretypical Dick Tracy archetype of the American P.I. But Gordianus shines with a radiance only mirrored by the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series. In "Arms of Nemesis" the reader is lead along the third of the Gordianus novels, the others previous being "Roman Blood" a masterwork of the historical genre, and the astounding anthology of Roman mystery short-stories "The House of the Vestals: The Investigations of Gordianus the Finder". In both we quickly develop an irrepressible fondness for Gordianus, his once-mute son Eco, and the slow-witted but eternally loyal strong-armer Belbo. In "Arms of Nemesis" the situation in which Gordianus is placed is of a high nature, essentially the prominent high point in which he becomes renowned by the upper Roman aristocracy, one fascist aristocrat being Pompey, later on within the series. In "Arms of Nemesis" Gordianus the Finder is commissioned by Marcus Licinius Crassus, regarded as one of the largest historical and political losers of ancient Rome, to investigate the uncanny death of the overseer of Crassus's estate, South of the Gulf of Puteoli. What Gordianus discovers is the lemure of Lucius Licinius, a seedy yet amiable enough fellow, who died under the hands of two panicked slaves, whom were so utterly pompous of their dirty work that they decided to go ally themselves with the political upheaval of the Spartacan Slave Revolt...or so Crassus assumes. Throw in an undeniable meltingpot of mysteriously morose and gloom-enshrouded suspects, all of whom keep secrets in the very alcoves of their hearts, and Gordianus is indeed put in a position. He has a maximum of three days to reveal the killer--be it another, or indeed the two slaves--because if he fails in his mission, ninety-nine innocent villeins of the house of Crassus will be slaughtered because of ancient law. In this novel we first confront the affable countenence of Meto and also Bethesda's pregnancy with Diana, which rushedly leads us on to the fourth chronicle, "Catilina's Riddle." "Arms of Nemesis" is complexly written, and rarely ever pauses for an intake of breath between its rampantly and swiftly moving dialogue and prose, bringing us ever closer to Gordianus's solution. To accompany the tight plotting, we have the habitually entertaining Saylor surprises, as well as some elegantly witty speech spattered throughout the book. "Arms of Nemesis" may seem a bit overshadowed by the brilliance of "Roman Blood" but as a sequel of sorts, it really does deserve five stars. Worthy of burnishing in gold.
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Arms of Nemesis
Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor (Paperback - 21 July 2011)
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