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A Gladiator Dies Only Once (Roma Sub Rosa #11)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,366 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series of novels, set in the later Roman Republic and featuring Gordianus the Finder, has garnered unusual acclaim from readers and reviewers alike, establishing him as one of the pre-eminent historical mystery writers. In A Gladiator Dies Only Once, the second collection of his award-winning stories featuring Gordianus, Saylor more than meets ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2005)
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Ensiform
Mar 14, 2015 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Nine stories of Gordianus the Finder’s early career, showing the relationships and decisions that shaped him into the well-connected and -respected figure he is in the later novels. In “The Consul’s Wife,” consul Decimus Brutus, hires Gordianus to ascertain whether his wife is placing coded messages in the daily news about his upcoming murder (Saylor is very good at writing wealthy, beguiling Roman femmes fatales). In “If a Cyclops Could Vanish in the Blink of an Eye,” Gordianus solves (or does ...more
Gregoire
Mar 13, 2017 Gregoire rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman-historique
une série d'enquêtes situées à l'époque romaine par notre enquêteur de talent : GIORDANUS the Finder que l'on suit avec toujours autant de plaisir... même si le mécanisme est toujours un peu semblable, on se plonge avec délice dans cette époque grâce à l'attention que l'auteur porte aux détails
J'ai apprécié la chronologie à la fin pour mieux se repérer
Hannah
Nov 07, 2009 Hannah rated it it was ok
Often, I judge mysteries partly by how well I remember them, considering there are so many out there that it is becoming hard to distinguish between them all. Considering I remember the Gladiator Dies Only Once extremely well, and find the characters memorable and unforgettable (regardless of whether I like them or not), credit should be given to Saylor for his creativity and ability to tell an good mystery.

Despite this, I find it hard to give any Gordianus the Finder books a higher rating. Gord
...more
Lance McMurchy
Apr 14, 2012 Lance McMurchy rated it liked it
Okay, so it is a book of short stories based in roman times, so I am not going to review each one, go figure. It was nice to read a book with a bit of difference from the norm. I found that i read the book relativily quickly. Everything was too the point and each story had a different point of interest, with not much in the way of seen setting. Not much is needed if you are familiar with the series. Overall a good read, if you interested in roman stuff.
Gretchen
Jul 09, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-rome
I really enjoy these short stories about Gordianus' small quests between novels. Saylor tells a short story just as well as he writes a full novel.
Mary
Short stories set in 70-60 BC Rome featuring Gordianus the Finder (PI). Like all of Steven Saylor's books these stories are based on historical research. This is a good collection. I enjoyed every one of them.
Donald Schopflocher
Dec 14, 2016 Donald Schopflocher rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable short stories (most based in, or contextualized by, historical fact) of Gordianus the Finder in Ancient Rome located in the sequence of Saylor's Sub Rosa stories, after Roman Blood and before and shortly after Arms of Nemesis.
Chandini
This is a nice quick read. The stories grow in seriousness and diminish in humor as the book progresses. Some of the short stories do end abruptly leaving me a bit unsatisfied. I prefer novels to short stories in general but this book and The House of the Vestals does help to bridge the gap between Roman Blood and The Arm of Nemesis. Reviews and summaries of the individual stories follow.

In The Consul's Wife Gordianus is hired to find out if the consul's wife is plotting to kill him. He does un
...more
David Campton
As a collection short stories this suffers in comparison with Saylor's longer works, and especially in comparison with Harris's Cicero trilogy which I have just completed. His portrayal of Cicero in particular pales to a cartoon in comparison... But such talk of comparisons is unfair - as a series of short mysteries this book is good - better than the earlier anthology - well researched (the historical notes revealing not only pride in that but a humility regarding his "mistakes") with an intere ...more
Kate Stout
Dec 25, 2016 Kate Stout rated it really liked it
A companion piece of short stories about Gordianus "The Finder", a detective of in Ciceronian Rome. The stories work well, though at least one had a fairly obvious solution. But a nice pleasant read (notes for self.
Shannon
May 23, 2016 Shannon rated it liked it
If you're looking for some really killer mysteries, pick up Agatha Christie instead. But if you're looking for a "slice of life" of Ancient Rome in a few decent short stories, this isn't bad.

With this as my first introduction to the main character Gordianus, I had trouble seeing him as a remarkable "Finder." Mostly he bribes people to tell him things, his son Eco finds things FOR him, or the suspects broadcast their motives and secrets so obviously that within a few sentences of meeting the culp
...more
Mark McFaddyn
Aug 17, 2014 Mark McFaddyn rated it liked it
Unlike Saylor's eight novels about Gordianus the Finder, this is a collection of nine short stories about the private eye in ancient Rome. It is his second collection. As with all of the other works, this collection is well-researched and an enjoyable crime/mystery genre.
Some of the stories have Gordianus encountering famous historical characters, such as the Cicero. Set in the last decades of the Roman Republic, the intrigue among senators and other political figures are actually take place du
...more
Helen
Aug 03, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it
This is part of a wonderful series which began with "Roman Blood" and has continued on through (now) 11 books. The series is full of detailed information on Roman daily and political life and you find yourself in the midst of all sorts of historical events, such as Caesar's capture by pirates, Sertorius' rebellion in Spain, Spartacus' slave revolt and Caesar meeting Cleopatra. This book is a collection of short stories set between the the first and second book, so early in Gordianus' career. The ...more
Varoon
Jul 28, 2010 Varoon rated it did not like it
Like many other reviewers have said: the novels are significantly better than the short stories. Saylor's characters come across as significantly flat in these mysteries, and it seems like he's half-heartedly cobbled together some semblance of a plot to wrap around whatever historical lesson he wants to offer (and that's the book's only saving grace: Saylor really does know his Roman history).

The book is also painfully repetitive: you may notice that every time Gordianus meets two men, one of th
...more
Djrmel
Another collection of short stories featuring Gordianus the Finder, Saylor's last century BC private investigator. There's more mystery in this collection and less character, something that works fine if you've read the other stories. With one exception, these are well done historical fiction, that is, stories that put you effortlessly in a place and time. The exception is the title story, which reads more like the kind of historical fiction they use to trick elementary kids into learning someth ...more
Margaret
A Gladiator Dies Only Once is the second collection of short stories in Steven Saylor's excellent Gordianus the Finder mystery series, set in ancient Rome in the 1st century BCE.

The short story format doesn't allow Saylor to develop plots with the complexity of those in the novels, but the stories are satisfying nonetheless, not least for the exploration of aspects of Roman life and culture which haven't come up in the novels. These range from gladiators, in the title story, to chariot racing a
...more
Sue
Jan 11, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
A Gladiator Dies Only Once is a book of nine short stories set in a time period between the first two of Saylor's novels on Gordianus the Finder. I'm not a huge short story fan but I did enjoy these. As in his novels, Saylor is true to the history of the times that he is writing about. One story falls under the category of cute--Gordianus's adopted son starts losing his toys and Gordianus has to figure out what is going on--but it's a fun story. I enjoyed the last three stories, "A Gladiator Die ...more
Gabor Nyiro
Aug 03, 2015 Gabor Nyiro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Mivel nem időrendi sorrendben haladtam a sorozatban, így előtte a Próféciák ködét olvastam, és ahhoz képest nagy felüdülés volt. Sokkal könnyedebb hangvételű, mint a megszokott Gordianus-könyvek, bár ez annak köszönhető hogy nem összefüggő a története, hanem rövid novellák gyűjteménye. Ettől függetlenül Gordianus intelligenciája itt is megmutatkozik, brislliánsan oldja meg még ilyen rövidke idő alatt is a bonyolultnak látszó ügyeket.
Nagy pirospont Saylornak, hogy a római hétköznapok eseményeiről
...more
Denise
Jan 12, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Steven Saylor developed a passion for all things "Roman" as an adolescent. He's spent years reading and researching everything he could find on this time period and writes stories based on historical events and characters. He doesn't sugar-coat the past nor does he write under the influence of any religious dogma. If you're easily offended by depictions of gladiatorial games, bloodshed, and sexual attractions and situations, do NOT read this series. If however, you're an adult who accepts that a ...more
Michele
Jun 09, 2016 Michele rated it really liked it
This is the second collection of short stories by Steven Saylor in his Roma Sub Rosa series. This set of stories gives more background on Gordianus the Finder and puts him in some grave danger in the process. But as many know, mystery is not of prime importance when reading a Gordianus short story. Example: just judging from its title, what sort of complicated secret do you expect to be hidden in a story called "A Gladiator Dies Only Once"? Rather, as with Saylor's other Gordianus short story co ...more
Carlos
Oct 09, 2016 Carlos rated it it was amazing
Why do I love so much the short stories by this author? He is a much better writer when He is in a hurry, that's why I have given five stars to both books He has written of short stories.
They are fantastical and different from his other books.

My favorite story? Hard to say, but the one with the cat permeates intimacy and We get a glipmse of domestic bliss at the house of the master, his slave (Bethesda) and his new adopted son. But each story stand on his own including the one that gives the nam
...more
Jose
Mar 27, 2013 Jose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Al igual de "The House of Vestals" se trata de una colección de relatos cortos que se desarrollan en diferentes momentos de la vida de Gordianus. En cada uno de ellos, podemos conocer pequeños detalles y anécdotas de la vida de Gordianus, mientras aprendemos un poco más de la historia de Roma.
Sin embargo, salvo un par de relatos, la mayor parte de las historias son de mejor calidad que los que pudimos disfrutar en "The House of Vestals". Sólo se lo recomendaría a los más fieles seguidores de las
...more
Rob
Oct 08, 2011 Rob rated it liked it
A collection of short stories from Gordianus the Finder's earlier investigative years. Some interesting and some rather trivial. This is a good book for those who have read several of the more traditional novels in the Roma Sub Rosa series. I would not recommend if you have not read at least 3-4 others.

Saylor does a good job to futher develop the Gordianus character and especially his relationship with his son, Eco. He also is able to highlight some historical elements of the Roman empire that h
...more
David
Nov 28, 2015 David rated it really liked it
This was more a collection of short stories compared to his usual books about Gordianus, the Finder. It was still enjoyable and the pace was a bit quicker as a result. The tales also fill in some of the gaps in Gordianus' life since his other novels often have several years between tales. The tale from the main title "A Gladiator Dies Only Once" was perhaps a little predictable but good nonetheless and bought perhaps a little sanity to Gladiator tales. As per usual, the depth of knowledge on all ...more
Barbara
I usually prefer books that are not collections of short stories but I definitely liked this collections of short stories about the "Finder" Gordianus. Saylor's story telling keeps me reading, entertained & amused. There is plenty of historical background in Saylor's books, as well as humor & study of human nature. I enjoy books that periodically send me to dictionaries to look up words that are new to me, as Saylor's stories usually do. I can't help but noticing parallels between the im ...more
Margaret
Aug 13, 2013 Margaret rated it really liked it
In this book, Steven Saylor presents nine short stories from the early years of Gordianus, the Finder, a kind of Sherlock Holmes of the Roman period. Besides the mystery behind every story, which the author weaves very well (for it is not easy to create something intriguing in less pages!), there are fabulous descriptions of life in Roman times – the races, the gladiator games, the expensive foods. This is my first Steven Saylor book and I must say that it “opened my appetite” for his novels – I ...more
Spotsalots
This was a library discard, and as I enjoy Steven Saylor's Roman mysteries, I immediately grabbed it. If you enjoy historical mysteries, or are interested in ancient Rome, you can't really go wrong with any of his books. In these stories he explores various topics that hadn't made their way into his novels, like gladiators, horse racing, and the introduction of cherries. The book was a good read when I was sick and couldn't get the house below 86 degrees, and I expect I'll enjoy it again in a fe ...more
Argum
Nov 01, 2014 Argum rated it liked it
It really isn't the book's fault I am not enamored of it. I very much wanted to pick up where the last left off in hopes of finding more about how that ending came about so I was disappointed in the delay when I started this 'next' in the series book. I do enjoy seeing these little glimpses into different aspects of Roman life and the cases are cute, but not meaty like the usual series which is the nature of the short story.
Bonnie
Mar 25, 2011 Bonnie rated it really liked it
I've read several books in the Gordianus the Finder series and enjoyed all of them. One of the things I've really liked is that they are based on actual incidents in Roman history. This book is of short stories, each one concerning a historical incident, notable Romans or something illustrative of everyday life in ancient Rome. The title is also the title of one of the stories, one I particularly like.
Mike
Aug 22, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it
The second collection of short stories dealing with Gordianus the Finder. These stories take us back to the early part of Gordianus' career. They were entertaining, but served more as a method to talk about Roman history rather than create clever mysteries. I enjoyed the social, political, and cultural parts of Roman history that I learned. I continue to rank this as one of my favorite series.
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Steven Saylor is the author of the long running Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, as well as the New York Times bestselling novel, Roma and its follow-up, Empire. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel.

Saylor was born in Texas and graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and class
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More about Steven Saylor...

Other Books in the Series

Roma Sub Rosa (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Roman Blood (Roma Sub Rosa, #1)
  • Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2)
  • Catilina's Riddle (Roma Sub Rosa, #3)
  • The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa, #4)
  • A Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa, #5)
  • The House of the Vestals (Roma Sub Rosa, #6)
  • Rubicon (Roma Sub Rosa, #7)
  • Last Seen in Massilia (Roma Sub Rosa, #8)
  • A Mist of Prophecies (Roma Sub Rosa, #9)
  • The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa, #10)

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“What appalling tales we shall have to tell of the strange lands we visited; and of those lands, surely none was stranger or more barbaric than Rome!” 1 likes
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