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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmistakably marvelous, 18 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Seen in Massilia (Roma Sub Rosa) (Hardcover)
"Last Seen in Massilia" is the latest offering of the Roma Sub Rosa series of historical investigative novels featuring down-at-your-heels Sherlockian, Gordianus the Finder. Now I've digressed about Saylor's brilliance many times before, especially in the commencement of the series (particularly the first three novels) and "Last Seen in Massilia" does not fail in achieving a 5-star total breezily, too. It follows the story of Gordianus and his ever persistently loyal son-in-law Davus (first introduced in "A Murder on the Appian Way" as a substitute of sorts for the hulking mass of adoration which was Belbo) travel to the besieged cityship of Massilia, girt by sea as it were, which holds the humiliated exiles of centralized Rome, including Milo. "Last Seen in Massilia" juxtaposes Gordianus and Davus in a series of delightful little escapades in attempting to gain access into this fortified city, as it was last claimed by an anoynymous tipper that his second adopted son (seen originally in "Arms of Nemesis") Meto has been murdered there. Gordianus is terribly frightened of what he may gain in the process of entering the seaborn port of Massilia, but what he finds is even *more* devastating... Davus makes a healthy return as a rather brilliant characterization as he and Gordianus provide alleviated good fun within some of the more dire moments. The wit is one of Saylor's gifts, and he does not prove to deteriorate in that department at all. Neither does he plot-wise. We are introduced to Hieronymous, Gordianus's singular companion, and in doing so we see what it is like for Gordianus to react with someone his own age, for any restricted amount of time (Cicero does not count, his disposition changes, ironically, with the tides). Who is the cowled monk of an abandoned monastery who seems to know much more than *it* is letting on...will Hieronymous achieve his own end, or live to tell the tale?...and what is the mystery with the alleged suicide of the township's citizen, a woman, and one with intriguing heritage?... Gordianus unravels the stitches in this classic whodunnit, which seeps with the palatial grandeur of ancient Rome being eventually obliterated by the Triumvirate. Another more pertinent question arrives: will Gordianus live to tell the truth?
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