Top critical review
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A poor ending for a great character
on 19 May 2008
This was a real disappointment. The beauty of Saylor's books was always the sensitive and intricate way he used the mystery stories of Gordianus the Finder to inform and enlighten the reader about Roman society and history. But Gordianus was - to me - always the heart and soul of the story. Saylor clearly knows Rome back and forward, in and out. But its fair to say recent entries in the series have begun to use Gordianus as the device rather than Rome. The low point came with Roma (not a Gordianus book) where Saylor's ambition to write a full story of Rome tried to balance names and dates with stories - much of which didn't work. The same is true here. If this is the last Gordianus book then Saylor seems to want to use it to tie up every storyline (most in two or three pages at the end. But Gordianus is almost forgotten. the "story" is terribly minor. How sad. 3 stars as even poor quality Saylor is still worth reading. But not for new readers. Go back to Roman Blood or Murder on the appian way.