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The House of the Vestals (Roma Sub Rosa #6)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,502 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
It is Ancient Rome, and Gordianus the Finder has a knack for finding trouble. Stalking about the city's twisting trails looking for clues and finding bodies, Gordianus has had his share of misadventure with nobles and slaves alike. Known to many as the one man in the ancient world who can both keep a secret and uncover one, Gordianus has stories to tell.
Paperback, 275 pages
Published 1999 by Robinson (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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rating: 4/5

Even though his full length novel mysteries are better than these short stories, I think its just the way of mystery writing. Mysteries are better the more involved and complex they are. Saying that, these short stories were still filled with amazing characters, back stories, the sights and sounds of ancient Rome, interesting ancient Rome and Egypt trivia, cats, and Eco solving his very own first case at the age of 10! I can't help but be captivated by the world Saylor weaves, a world
A collection of short stories may not have been the best way to experiment with this series. Perhaps Saylor does a better job when he has time to develop his mystery and his setting in a full-length book, but this collection of stories I found underwhelming.

Its setting in ancient Rome was my sole reason for buying The House of the Vestals, but I don't think the author succeeded in transporting me to this world. After all, the reason for telling a mystery in a different time period is the thrill
Jan 26, 2013 Ensiform rated it liked it
A book of stories featuring Gordianus the Finder, set after the first novel in the series and before the second. The stories, presented in chronological order relative to Gordianus:

“Death Wears a Mask" – a tale of murder at the theater

“The Tale Of the Treasure House" – Bethesda tells an Egyptian tale of a courtesan who captured the thief who robbed King Rhampsinitus

“A Will Is a Way" – a story of a fraudulent will and a murder; this story is given a lot of color by the introduction of Lucius Clau
Jul 09, 2009 Valorie rated it really liked it
In The House of the Vestals, Rome’s best finder Gordianus is back in a series of short stories full of political intrigue, murder, theft, and mystery. Set in between the novels Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis, The House of the Vestals update readers on what Gordianus has been up to in the years that pass between the two books.

In Death Wears a Mask, Gordianus tracks a murderer who targeted an actor in between play scenes. Bethesda tells the story of a King’s missing treasure in The Tale of the Tr
Inês Beato
Este livro dedicado a Giordiano, o Descobridor, é um pequeno doce para os amantes da série, já que, através de pequenos contos, o autor dá a conhecer vários pormenores da vida do protagonista no início da sua carreira, tais como o que o levou a adotar Eco, a sua relação com Betesda, como conheceu o seu escravo e guarda-costas Belbo, etc. Todos estes contos estão ainda pautados por acontecimentos históricos reais, que o autor sempre faz questão de entrelaçar nas suas obras e que demonstram um tra ...more
Peejay Who Once Was Minsma
Mar 14, 2014 Peejay Who Once Was Minsma rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories centering around Gordianus the Finder, Saylor's Ancient Roman "detective" first featured in his novel, *Roman Blood.* Chronologically, these stories fall within the eight years separating the first novel and the second, *Arms of Nemesis.* The collection is useful in finding out what has happened in Gordianus's life in the interim (and some events which will come into play in later novels): how Gordianus met his noble friend Lucius Claudius and Belbo the body ...more
This is a collection of nine short mysteries from the files of Gordianus the Finder. Usually the actual mystery is pretty simple. What makes the stories so interesting is their detailed description of Roman life, social attitudes and emotional lives of the Romans. How did the Romans celebrate their Solstice holiday? The answer is in the mystery "The Saturnalia Silver." How far would a Roman wife go to avenge a husband's infidelity? Check out this story in this collection, "King Bee and Honey." ...more
Karen Wyle
Jan 30, 2016 Karen Wyle rated it really liked it
I picked up this book thinking it was the second novel in the Roma Sub Rosa series. It isn't -- it's a collection of stories set between the first and second novels. Beware of the hardback book jacket's inside cover, which includes spoilers for the series!

The stories are bite-sized entertainment, with many of the same virtues as the first novel, Roman Blood: informative historical settings, interesting characters, intriguing mysteries (though not, perhaps, of the intricacy that some mystery buff
Aug 11, 2015 Ron rated it liked it
This is a reasonably good and varied collection of mystery short stories set in Rome during the years 80 BC to 72 BC. For those who have read any of Steven Saylor's Roma sub rosa series of novels, these stories all fall into the time period following the first novel in the series, Roman Blood. Of the 9 short stories, all but one appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in the years 1993-1995. My knowledge of Roman history is pretty weak, and stories like these give me good glimpses into the t ...more
Vasco Ribeiro
Jan 01, 2016 Vasco Ribeiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Uma série de 9 short stories sobre o investigador Gordiano, o Descobridor que mostram aspetos da sua vida anteriores ou entre os romances da série Roma sub-rosa (sub-rosa significa segredo ou coisa parecida), onde explica a origem do relacionamento de Gordiano com outras personagens da série: Ecco o jovem protegido mudo; Betesda, a escrava mas também amante, meio judia meio egípcia; o seu escravo e guarda costas Belbo, a sua amizade com o nobre e quase protetor Lúcio Cláudio; aparecendo também C ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-rome
Instead of reading these books in the order listed by Goodreads, I have decided to read them in the chronological order listed by the author on his website. Warning to people who want to do the chronological thing, don't. I feel I may have ruined some of the later books.

That being said, every story I read about Gordianus makes me love him just a little more. Lestat has some serious competition for the title of favorite fictional male. I especially loved the role Bethesda played in The Disappera
Sep 21, 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
Kathy Davie
Sep 18, 2013 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history
"Death Wears a Mask", 1.3
"The Tale of the Treasure House", 1.2
"A Will is a Way", 1.4
"The Lemures", 1.5
"Little Caesar and the Pirates", 1.6
"The Disappearance of the Saturnalia Silver", 1.7
"King Bee and Honey", 1.8
"The Alexandrian Cat", 0.75
"The House of the Vestals", 1.9

An anthology of nine short stories with one short story that takes place well before this book's publication (as #6 in the series) and the other eight taking place between the first and the second in the Roma Sub Rosa anci
Apr 30, 2012 Rui rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah… Gordiano, o Descobridor… o primeiro detective cínico mas com um profundo sentido de justiça, da história. Admito que esta é sempre uma daquelas personagens que me dá um enorme prazer reencontrar. Não se pode dizer que a escrita de Saylor seja genial (há vários momentos em que é óbvio, por demais, que as personagens estão a falar para dar informações ao leitor e não umas às outras) mas isso é mais que compensado pelos retratos detalhados e vivos que temos de Roma durante os últimos anos da Re ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roman crime and historical fiction fans.
I am not a big fan of short stories so I started this book, more with the idea that it would make the other Gordianus stories more understandable than with a desire to read a bunch of short stories. The stories are all chronologically in order and cover the period between book one in the series and book two.

“Death Wears a Mask" - Murder at a theater.

“The Tale Of the Treasure House" – Bethesda, Gordianus ex-slave and current wife tells a story about a courtesan who captures a thief who robbed a
Jun 27, 2008 Seth rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorts, mystery
If you haven't read any of Steven Saylor's novels about Gordianus the Finder, these short stories would be an uneven introduction. Go read one of the other books first. Or get someone to pick the stories that will be most appealing and rely least on knowing the characters already.

If you are already a fan of Gordianus, these stories are loads of fun. They are more in the "old detectives reminiscing about cases" tradition than the novels are, which might put some people off. Several stories are to
Vicki Cline
Jul 14, 2014 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-mysteries
This is a series of short stories dealing with Gordianus' life between the end of Roman Blood and the beginning of Arms of Nemesis. Eco is still mute but can communicate well with Gordianus by gesture. Lucius Claudius, Gordianus' patrician friend who leaves him a farm in Catilina's Riddle is in many of these stories. The final one, "The House of the Vestals" includes Catilina as well as Cicero, where Gordianus has to solve a murder committed in the House of the Vestals. Another good one is "King ...more
Sep 25, 2008 Bruce rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
A short review of The House of the Vestals, a short book of short detective stories set in late Republican Rome featuring Saylor's protagonist Gordianus the Finder. Like his unrelated anthology Roma, which I just reviewed at greater length, it ain't subtle. Steven Saylor's the kind of author who likes to name his grudge-bearing stepsons "Furius" and his beekeepers "Ursus." The story from which this collection takes its name isn't even a mystery, just ambiance and anticlimax. Our hero is summoned ...more
Kate  K. F.
I've read some of these stories before in historical anthologies and I enjoy how Saylor writes. The way that he presents the fact that Gordialanius owns slaves and that mindset is tricky and mainly works. Its the most successful in the Saturnalia story where his slave housekeeper solves the mystery and explains the other side of what's going on.

Good mysteries, I enjoyed the puzzles and the way he chose to look at different parts of Roman life. I found the cover art distracting since this is set
After Marcus Didius Falco, Gordinus (called "the Finder") is second PI working in Rome I have come across. Well, technically he is a a century or so older than Falco, living in the last days of Roman Republic. Another difference, Gordinus will seem more prosperous than Falco (he owns at least one slave, and mingles with people like Cicero etc.)

A note to the readers of Falco: these mysteries seem a lot more serious (and crimes and resolutions dark) than most of Falco mysteries. Probably because w
Apr 22, 2015 Al rated it liked it
The author provides an excellent picture of life in Rome in the years immediately preceding Julius Caesar's rise to power through the eyes of Gordianus who does his detective work primarily for the great Roman orator and attorney Cicero.
Jul 07, 2010 Leigh-ann rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories from Steven Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" series. Although the book is the 6th in the series, the stories take place in the time period between the first and second novels, which is why I'm reading this title prior to picking up "Arms of Nemesis". I didn't enjoy these quite as much as I enjoyed Saylor's first novel, but only because the short story format doesn't allow for much character or tension buildup. I also found the mystery plots to be pretty formulaic an ...more
Kt Thames
Jul 15, 2014 Kt Thames rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This is a collection of short stories, the 6th book written but chronologically it comes 2nd in the series. I am not a great fan of short stories, but it was a quick read.
Amy Rupert
Apr 18, 2016 Amy Rupert rated it liked it
A collection of short stories that fill in the gaps between the full novels that that show what Gordianius did to solve mysteries as well as Eco and Bethesda.
Dec 22, 2015 Tita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2015
Este livro foi uma agradável surpresa pois, como não tinha lido a sinopse, não fazia ideia que este livro era constituído por uma série de pequenos contos sobre o passado, entre os outros livros da série, de Gordiano.
Através das pequenas histórias, com crimes e mistérios que Gordiano desvenda, vamos conhecendo mais sobre a vida deste com as restantes personagens, como exemplo, como conhecer o seu guarda-costas Belbo.
Para além disso, Steven Saylon consegue interligar acontecimentos histórias nest
A collection of nine short stories that fall chronologically between the first and second book in Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series. These are more (small) mysteries that involve Gordianus the Finder, some touching on historical figures (Cicero is back, and there's a story inspired by a young and brash Julius Caesar) and well as show some of the cultural differences between the Romans and the Egyptians. Master/slave relationships come up in every story, I suspect getting more attention than they rea ...more
This book is not so much a book or an entry in the series as it is an interlude. Several short stories that fill in some gaps from earlier in the I was expecting the much discussed story of the House of the Vestals. I found that one especially to provide nothing new to the series we heard almost all of that in Catalina's Riddle. Nothing too exciting, but nice little vignettes and it was nice to get to know the benefactor we see later effects of.
May 10, 2015 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The short stories were fairly consistently entertaining with a sense of humor and historical setting. I liked it enough that I'll probably check out the rest of the series, which I haven't read.
Oct 09, 2014 Ian rated it liked it
Recommended to Ian by:
A short story collection. Each is entertaining, and well written, though I prefer novel length to shorts.
Willo Font
Mar 25, 2014 Willo Font rated it really liked it
This is actually the seoond book on thei series if you look at it chronologically. It collects nine investigations by Gordianus the Finder between the years 80 and 72 B.C.
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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
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)
  • 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)
  • A Gladiator Dies Only Once (Roma Sub Rosa, #11)

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