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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.

In this novel Gordianus the Finder is assigned to a case by the great man himself, Pompey. He is now one of the most important, if not the most important man in Rome, although perhaps one Julius Caesar, may in later times argue with that. Pompey is determined to find out about the disappearance of the high born politician Publius Clodius. His disappearance has caused a great upheaval in the city of Rome, with riots on the streets and bouts of arson taking place. He needs Gordianus to find out what happened to Clodius and quickly before the mob destroy the city.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Steven Saylor takes a very different tack from Lindsey Davis in his Roman series and bases it quite closely on historical events. This one is sited in the midst of the riots leading up to the Civil War and focuses on the murder of Publius Clodius, the popular and ruthless populist politican. The historical bit is done well and follows the classical sources, with nice imaginative touches such as the manipulative women Clodia (his sister) and Fulvia (his widow, who also marries Mark Antony). Where the book fails for me, is where Saylor departs from this and creates his own mystery around this event. After the heady burning of the Senate house, Gordianus' adventures with his gladiator son-in-law are just an anti-climax, and the solution was extremely disappointing. Ok, we don't know the definitive truth of Clodius' murder, but it sure wasn't like this...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2014
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
Gordianus the Finder has a reputation for being beholden to no one, which makes him the perfect go-between among the factions struggling for power in Rome of the first century B.C. in 'A Murder on the Appian Way,' the fifth in the series by Steven Saylor.

It was the early spring of 52 B.C., and Rome explodes in riots when a popular leader, Publius Clodius, is found murdered on the famous road his ancestors built. Rumors fly that Clodius died during a clash with the bodyguards of a rival politician, and Clodius' allies in response burn the Senate and demand justice. Amidst the rioting, Gordianus is hired by both the dead man's family and none other than Pompey the Great to discover the truth.

Saylor takes his time developing his story, which allows the reader to tour Rome with Gordianus as his guide. We get to walk with bodyguards streets that take meanness to another level, take part in public forums in which politicians manipulate the feelings of the masses (no surprise there), and even travel the countryside to visit Julius Caesar. 'A Murder on the Appian Way' is based on actual events. The murder of Clodius, Saylor points out in an appendix, had great ramifications for the republic. The inability of Rome to deal with the crisis indicated a power vacuum that both Caesar and Pompey attempted to fill, and the result was a civil war which aided the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. But to the reader, the story's the thing, and Saylor's accomplished mystery is wrapped around an ancient world that, to the imaginative mind at least, could easily look like home, and that's a worthy accomplishment for the historical writer..
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2006
I am a massive fan of this series and "A Murder on the Appian Way" is my favourite book of the lot. I have always had an interest in Roman matters and was previously familiar with the likes of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, Cicero etc, but this book, and the series in general, has introduced me to a number of other, fascinating figures of the late republic, such as Publius Clodius, his infamous sister Clodia, Titus Annius Milo and Marcus Caelius. I have found myself reading up on these "secondary" characters since I began reading Saylor's novels, so my (limited) education on late Republican Rome has benefitted! Saylor always keeps us guessing as to where his sympathies, and those of his narrator, Gordianus, lie (unlike, for example, Coleen McCullough, who spoils her "Masters of Rome" series with her obvious unconditional worship of Caesar) but his portrayal of the gruff and charmless Milo probably leaves most readers siding with the dandyish Clodius. Saylor's books are perfect reading for holidays sitting in the Italian sun with a glass of Chianti!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As usual, the characters are great and the sense of place and time very genuine. This toddled along quite nicely, though the endless diffeent intrepretations of the battle/ambush between Milo and Clodius grew a bit tiresome after a while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 August 2010
My first book by Stephen Saylor and it will not be the last. I have sped through this articulate and gripping mystery with hardly a put down of the book. I have enjoyed Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden's historic Roman fiction and place this on the same shelf - so if a fan of these two authors, meet another of the same class. Gordianus, the lead character, and his son, Eco, are the investigative double act who take the reader through the investigation by their adventures. The narrative flows well and convincingly and nothing is clear until the end.
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on 11 June 2015
Steven Saylor is one of the finest historical novelists of our age, His narrative writing is easy and fluent and the plotting and characterizations are superb. But more than that he has that most important gift, of a historical novelist, of bringing a distant and long dead age back to life with beguiling simplicity; no need here for a battery of archaic Latin terms on almost every which require a fat glossary. As in all walks of life, very talented people make things look deceptively easy.

The series charts the final, moribund years of the Roman Republic, through the medium of the crime and thriller genre but make no mistake, the quality of each novel leaves many high brow alternatives in its wake. Murder on the Appian Way is a beautifully crafted novel and I would say is the last of the dazzling group that make up the first five novels of the Roma sub Rosa series. It centres on the murder of the glamorous, rabble rousing politician Clodius and around that event the chaos and anarchy of Rome is evocatively portrayed while the spectre of dictatorship is never far away.

The entire series is excellent but the first five - Roman Blood, Arms of Nemesis, Catalina's Riddle, The Venus Throw and this novel - are truly brilliant. If you're new to Saylor, then I envy you because all those wonderful novels are waiting to be read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 1999
Gordianus continues his career as things hot up in Rome (literally). Those who expect they'd like Cornwellian/Rendell/Dexter mystery set in a Roman setting with Conwell's medical detail replaced with historical material will not be disappointed. Start the 6 (excluding House of the Vestals) book series with Roman Blood and work forward.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2014
One of the best in the series in my humble opinion. A solid set of characters with believable storyline. Really enjoyed this book, well done.
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VINE VOICEon 19 July 2014
The history (1st Cent BCE) of the Roman Republic is confused and baffling. While I find it hard to imagine a gumshoe in ancient Rome, it has to be said that this particular work is outstanding re the Milo/Clodius affair, involving Caesar and Pompey, both in the text and in the action. With the CSI style of material omitted, this could serve as an engaging textbook. The descriptions too of ancient courtroom procedure well deserve attention.
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