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on 13 November 2014
This is another great read from Steven Saylor. Slightly different from many of the other books in the series, in that it's main plot is fairly simple, and very close to Gordianus, it is nevertheless a compelling read. The usual great events are happening around him, as Gordianus attempts to find out who murdered a young and beautiful woman who was - or may have been - able to prophesy the future. He has other reasons for wanting to solve the crime, but that would spoil the story for you!
Suffice to say, this is as good as the rest of the series.
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on 24 July 2002
The Mists of Prophecy
The Mists of Prophecy is the latest in Steven Saylor's Rome Sub Rosa series and marks the return of Gordianus the Finder. While Rome anxiously waits to hear the outcome of the war between Pompey and Caesar a beautiful young seeress, the aptly named Cassandra, is poisoned. As Gordianus investigates her death he comes into contact with the wives of many of the men that have been at the centre of Saylor's earlier mysteries and reminisces about his own intense relationship with the murdered woman.
As with his previous books Saylor manages to weave historical fact and fiction so tightly that readers may be tempted to consult the history books to establish which events are documented fact and which only occurred in the imagination of the author. The supporting cast of recurring characters continues to increase which each novel but now at the expense of some stalwarts (eg. Gordianus and his older son are suddenly distant for not apparent reason) although any appearance by Clodia is worth sacrificing a considerably less interesting character for.
After a disappointing entry with Last Seen in Massallia Saylor has had a return to form with this book and although it does not reach the heights of Murder on the Appian Way fans will find much to enjoy. As with the most recent novels in the series a more sombre atmosphere pervades this book than in his earlier works. The disintegration of his relationship with his son Meto, a devoted follower of Caesar, weighs heavily on Gordianus's mind as does the mysterious illness of his wife and crushing debt. This Gordianus is not the sardonic observer of earlier novels but a tired and aging man on whom political upheaval and his own personal problems are taking their toll. The gallery of roman political wives in this novel make for fascinating reading (perhaps at the expense of the mystery itself) but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book are the hints in the final chapter which promise the return of some well loved characters in the next installment.
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on 17 August 2003
This was the second Steven Saylor book I have read and have since ordered all of the 'Roma Sub Rosa' Series.
In this book Saylor creates a first class mystery which seems to have a life of its own. Caesar is away from Rome engaging Pompey, his rival, in battle, leaving lesser mortals to care for the city and the citizens' problems - not altogether satisfactorily. Times are hard and there is widespread unrest against which Saylor weaves a tale of intrigue and deceit wherein from beginning to almost the end it is never clear what roles Cassandra, the young seeress, and the most important females of Rome play. Saylor's tapestry contains threads of the culture and society of the time integral to the mystery adding shadow and light to the tale. All in all this is a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable read.
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VINE VOICEon 9 September 2002
A disappointing entry in the Roma Sub Rosa series after the brilliant "Rubicon" & "Last Seen in Massilia". With those books Saylor took us into the heart of the civil war tearing Rome apart, but here he takes a step back. Unfortunately the case Gordianus is pursuing is a minor one and worse still the Finder seems engulfed in a perilous depression. His mood permeates the book in a negative way, weighing down the narrative and hobbling an already pedestrian plot. The book finally catches fire at the end and hopefully bodes well for the next instalment (Gordianus in Egypt with Caesar, Pompey and Cleopatra?)
An enjoyable read, but below Saylor's usually flawless standards.
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on 24 September 2004
I've really enjoyed Saylor's roman novels, but this latest continues the decline noticeable in the previous couple. The plot involves Gordianus' personal life in a fairly implausible way and the historical setting of this particular year in Roman history (i.e. the history of the city itself, not the republic/empire) just isn't as vivid as in previous installments. I'll probably get the next one, but more out of duty and a diminishing hope that Saylor will do something new - but plausible - next time.
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on 14 September 2009
From Giulia Regoliosi's web page "Gli antichi detectives" (Detectives of the ancient world)
Ambientato nel 48 a.C. e incentrato quindi sulla battaglia di Farsalo, il romanzo si svolge però a Roma, in un'atmosfera di angoscia e attesa: con un'idea particolarmente efficace, è costruito intorno alle donne dei protagonisti, Terenzia moglie di Cicerone, la figlia Tullia, La Vestale Fabia sua sorella, Antonia allora moglie di Marc'Antonio, la sua amante Citeride, Fulvia vedova di Clodio e di Curione, Fausta figlia di Silla e moglie di Milone, la moglie di Cesare Calpurnia e Clodia. Legata in vario modo a tutte loro è una giovane attrice e presunta profetessa, di cui per la prima volta Gordiano si innamora, allontanandosi dalla tenace fedeltà alla moglie. Lo scioglimento dell'intrigo, incentrato sulla morte della ragazza, giunge contemporaneamente con l'annuncio della vittoria di Cesare: Gordiano, uscito dal suo breve sogno con la responsabilità di un nuovo figlio adottivo, parte per l'Egitto con la moglie, egiziana d'origine e malata di nostalgia oltre che di gelosia forse inconsapevole, seguendo quasi senza volerlo la via di Cesare.
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2013
Classical Rome is the setting for this historical murder-mystery. Part of the "Roma sub Rosa" series featuring Gordianus the Finder.

I haven't read any of the previous books of this series, or, in fact, any of Saylor's work. Not a bad introduction; This is a solid enough read, it is more or less self contained though, inevitably, past volumes are referenced and the ending leaves plenty of loose ends for the next episode.

Told in a dual narrative structure, in the first person, the two strands are the events leading up to and following on from the death of Cassandra, a mysterious prophetess. This structure is maintained almost to the end of the book and is well done.

The set up, a collection of Rome's most powerful women present themselves as suspects at the girl's funeral, feels very forced but apart from this one scene, which is needed for plot purposes of course, the historical detail and background is convincing.
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2010
It was nice to return to my favourite Roman characters after 18 months since I read Last Seen in Massilia. There were a lot of static scenes in this one and jumping back and forth in time and I found that while a good page turner as ever, it didn't absorb my interest quite as much as some of its predecessors. But a somewhat less good Saylor whodunnit is still better than many others of its genre. And another adoptee into the family at the end!
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on 2 February 2015
This has a slightly different narrative style to the other books in the series with movement back and forth in the timeline of events. This works very well for this story and shows Saylors writing ability. Overall the story is a little bit more slowly paced that previous ones but reward the reader who has kept abreast of the large number of characters who now occupy the environment.
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on 16 July 2009
Of all Saylor's books, this is my favourite. The plot is addictive and the characters have so much inner life. I read it without being able to stop. This time the mystery was too involving and the good thing is that although it is solved by the end of the book, the story continues in the next book. You should read it!
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