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

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,012 ratings  ·  55 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,619)
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Lance McMurchy
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.
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.
Mark McFaddyn
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
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
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
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.
Matthew Perry
This is another bridge between novels. I read it between Arms of Nemesis and Catalina's Riddle. This is ten times better than the first set of short stories called the house of the vestals. The best short story is the last one that deals with the cherries brought from Asia that could possibly be driving a leading Roman general to insanity!
Michael Nordberg
An interesting collection of short stories

This collection of short stories allows Steven Saylor to explore various aspects of Roman life that were org of scope of his novels. I found the collection engaging but not as satisfying as the novels. The title story is the best of the bunch.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Willo Font
A group fo short stories about Roman time.
Last off of 2014!
Not reading until next year !
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.
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
An excellent book about gladiators!
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
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
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.
Vicki Cline
Another collection of stories about the early career of Gordianus the Finder, who solves mysteries in Republican Rome. The story about the gladiator is a good one, featuring a beautiful Nubian woman. Cicero shows up in a few of the stories, and is just slightly pompous, as usual. Saylor describes the historical background for the stories in a very interesting afterword.
In my sort of unannounced quest to read everything Stephen Saylor, i have stumbled upon two roadblocks. 1) certain of his books are only available in large print (via the fantastic multnomah co library system) and reading large print is too much like read dr suess, wtihout the pictures. 2) i can't get into the short stories. the novels are better.
Another collection of short stories from Steven Saylor, featuring his ancient Rome-era detective, Gordianus. The stories are all entertaining and quick to read, but pale in comparison to Saylor's novels. Given the choice, I'd rather read one of his novels because they feature so much more detailed, well-researched information about Roman life.
Barry Nabbs
the third (choronologically) in the Roma Sub Rosa series overall was not as good as the second, although the relationship between Gordianus and Luicius Claudius is bittersweet, but leads onto the rest of the series nicely.
Once again the author makes Ancient Rome seem real and almost familiar. A hidden gem of a series for me
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Easy to read short stories with Gordanius solving various mysteries. Some of the mysteries are easily solved; others not. This was a pleasant departure from the regular Finder novels, sort of like a palate cleanser. A lot of Roman culture is contained in each story, which I really enjoyed.
A collection of short stories all starring our favourite, ancient Finder, Gordianus. Normally I am not a fan of shorts, but these were all good. Rich and detailed, plus, clearly, short stories, with a beginning and end. They also wove together well historical facts and known characters.
Steven Saylor is one of my favorites (along with Lindsey Davis) when it comes to portraying life in ancient Rome.Gordianus the Finder is a finely wrought protagonist and Saylor's character ages gracefully as he experiences Rome's increasing decadence and gradual decline.
Steven Saylor is an accomplished novelist of mysteries set in ancient Rome. But far far better than his novels are his short stories. They are nearly perfect. If you like mysteries, short fiction, or Rome, pick up a collection of his short stories. They astound.
A fun compilation of Gordianus short stories. What makes this collection excellent is Saylor's ability to dive into small aspects of Roman life, like the making of garum, and turn them into fun little mysteries. Very enjoyable.
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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 classi
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)
Roma (Roma, #1) Roman Blood (Roma Sub Rosa, #1) Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2) Catilina's Riddle (Roma Sub Rosa, #3) A Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa, #5)

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