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The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa, #4)
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The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa #4)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,737 ratings  ·  58 reviews
On a chill January evening in 56 B.C., two strange visitors to Rome—an Egyptian ambassador and a eunuch priest—seek out Gordianus the Finder whose specialty is solving murders, but the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, has come to ask for something Gordianus cannot give—help in staying alive. Before the night is out, he will be murdered.

Now Gordianus begins his most dan
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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Best Books About Ancient Rome
49th out of 400 books — 659 voters
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Best Historical Mystery
222nd out of 1,000 books — 2,672 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,429)
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Patricia Rodrigues
Mais um livro da série Roma Sub-Rosa, desta vez o quarto volume.
Gordiano o descobridor é contactado por um antigo mestre egípcio, Díon, que lhe pede ajuda pois acredita que corre perigo de vida. Mas Gordiano recusa pois está de partida para ir visitar o seu filho Meteo. Quando regressa, descobre que Díon foi assassinado pouco depois de sair de sua casa e acaba sendo contactado por um conhecimento comum para que investigue o crime.

Mais uma vez, Steven Saylor criou uma excelente história, cheia d
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in November 2000.

The Venus Throw is probably the best of Saylor's series of novels featuring Roman private detective Gordianus the Finder. Once again, its subject is one of the famous cases for which Cicero was an advocate at the trial. Rome in the first century BC was a fascinating place, full of interesting people and tumultuous events leading to the formation of the Empire. It is a good illustration of the Chinese curse about interesting times; it was a su
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Mike
Another good read from Saylor. I was on the fence re a 4 star rating (leaning toward something a little less, mainly because it dragged a bit in the middle) -- but once again he pulled it off at the end. You know its a good mystery when you think you've figured it out several times along the way, but at the end the real solution surprises you and also makes complete sense . . . all the clues were there from the get go, you just didnt see it.

Also classic Saylor in bringing Ancient Rome to life al
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Chiggins1066
Aug 20, 2008 Chiggins1066 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chiggins1066 by: Victoria
I've read almost all of Saylor's Roman mysteries (save for Myst of Prophecies), and I think this one is the best. In this novel, the author turns his attention towards Alexandria, and the crisis facing the Ptolemaic dynasty. We will remember from history that an unofficial Alexandrian delegation tried to reach the Roman senate (which included the philosopher Dio), only to be assassinated outside of Rome. Since the delegation was against Ptolemy, he has long been suspected. But Saylor offers a fi ...more
Leonardo Etcheto
Very good, a great invocation of the world. The story was a little too convoluted but quite interesting. The main annoyance is that saylor has his character be extra dense sometimes so as to supposedly maintain the surprise, but often the outcome is fairly obvious and has been foreshadowed. Still I very much enjoyed this book, Rome was a crazy place at the end of the Republic.
Cáitlin O'ruadhán
The short and the sweet of it is that if you ever loved Catullus, read this book, for Saylor brings one of THE greatest, and certainly Rome's greatest, poet of love vividly to life. And Saylor's sensuous portrayal of Clodia Pulcher makes you feel much like Catullus felt for her, and that is no mean achievement!
Beatrice Gormley
I liked this and all of Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa mysteries, but then I'm a sucker for ancient Rome, and Saylor really knows it, as if he'd spent a few years there in the Peace Corps. Saylor's P.I,, Gordianus, is sympathetic and entertaining.
Bonnie
This is the fourth book in the Roma Sub Rosa series and the 5th I've read. Like the other books it is based on actual incidents in Roman history and the characters (with the exception of the protagonist, his family and a few others) are historical figures.

In this book Gordianus the Finder is contacted by an Egyptian philosopher, Dio, who was his teacher for a time when Gordianus was in Alexandria. He is accompanied by a gallus (a eunuch), a priest of Cybele. Dio had been part of a group of 100 A
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Ensiform
One night in Rome, 56 BC, Gordianus’ old philosophy teacher, Dio, comes to his door pleading for help. He is the last of the hundred Alexandrians come to Rome to demand the Senate’s recognition of Queen Berenice over Ptolemy; the other have fled or been killed, and Dio is a hunted man. When he dies, Gordianus is hired by Clodia, a woman of ancient heritage and very bad reputation, to find out his killer. Who is it? Marcus Caelius, the unscrupulous young neighbor of Gordianus, and enemy of Clodia ...more
Lianne
Mar 20, 2013 Lianne added it
"The Venus Throw" is #4 in the Steven Saylor series set in ancient Rome. The title refers to a particular dice throw.It is set eight years after the previous book. Cicero's career has weathered several successes and failures. He has been forced into exile, and returned. Caesar has been successful in expanding the empire and has been elected consul. Events in Egypt are heating up as the Romans are contemplating the takeover of the breadbasket of the Nile, and hoping to displace the last of the Pt ...more
Bruce
Sep 30, 2008 Bruce rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Steven Saylor fans
"Take a winding pathway to the foot of the Palatine, to a spot just behind the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Turn left. Proceed down the narrow alley (stinking of urine, and black as pitch at night) that runs behind the buildings on the north side of the Forum. As the slope of the Palatine curves away on the left-hand side, letting the alley open a bit, you will come to a cluttered area of little workshops and warehouses south of the Forum, east of the cattle markets and the river. Look for the l ...more
Ian
One of the better of the Gordianus series. Here our noble Finder is caught in a complex web of misunderstandings and half-truths, which he consistently ploughs through, until he finally uncovers the truth—in his own house hold!

In this story the great figures of the late Republic play only a peripheral role, we hear a few names, but they are mostly off stage. It is the second level "great Romans" we see this time, plotting and scheming for power and status.

The story concerns 100 Alexandrian sch
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Kathy Davie
Fourth in the Roma Sub Rosa historical mystery series set in ancient Rome and revolving around Goridanus the Finder.

My Take
It's sad to read of Rome's descent into such corruption. It started with such wonderful ideals, and now it's just a sewer. I hate to say it, but the U.S. seems to following the same path.

Reading Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa provides a more personal look at why the Republic fell. It's one thing to read historic tomes and memorize dates, but to read even a fictional account of a fa
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Danielle
I'm not sure how I got this book (probably from my aunt's shopping bag full of paperbacks she's always passing around). I'm also not sure how I got into reading all these mystery books that take place in ancient Rome. What I do know is: a) I know a lot more about the political and social environment around the time before Julius Caesar became dictator than I ever imagined and b) the lead character in this series (Gordianus "the finder") is not as fun as Decius Cecillius Metellus the Younger from ...more
Peter
Well, I didn't particularly enjoy the last book by Steven Taylor but I did have this novel on hand so I figured I might as well read it. Suffice it to say that I wasn't all that enamored with this tale either, although it does improve on Catilina's Riddle as far as I'm concerned. The story actually has a real mystery in it and the resolution is interesting. Then again, if you paid attention (in difference to the main character) you could see the end coming a long way off. The life of Rome is por ...more
Argum63
I am not sure what to make of this book or really this series. I enjoy learning about the going ons in Ancient Rome and all the story lines seem to be pretty true to the ancient sources. I like Gordianus and his family, but somehow I am still somehow unsatisfied when I am done. It seems like sleight of hand most times and maybe that is because of the way Roman justice system worked - that was the point.
Jeane
On a normal evening an old Egyptian philsopher, 'ambasador' comes to visit the Roman 'Finder', together with a Eunich priest. The priest is an old friend, but doesn't come for a friendly chat about old times. He is worried and afraid for his life.
The priest comes to ask help to the only person he thinks he can fully trust in Rome.
During the story we get to know different characters from Roman history and all are aprt of a great, really well told story.
The story itself and the way it was written
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Vicki Cline
One of Gordianus' teachers from his days in Alexandria has come to Rome as part of an Egyptian delegation, most of whose members have been scared off. He's worried he will be killed. Gordianus can't do anything for him, and the next day, he is found dead. While trying to solve that case, Gordianus is hired by the infamous Clodia, sister of the equally infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher, to get evidence that Caelius, a former lover, has tried to poison her. This is based on an actual court case whe ...more
Leigh-ann
I love this series of books, as it's relatively light, entertaining reading but wrapped with real historical facts. This title is one of my favorites so far because of Saylor's obvious love of a controversial figure from history, Clodia Pulcher. Saylor's made Pulcher such a vivid, charismatic character that it's tough to not be madly in love with her by the time the story comes to a close. I'm happy she continues to be featured in the next two books in the series.
Judy Brunner
I quite enjoyed this book, the research must have been enormous, there were lots of details about life in those times, but I wasn't really 'grabbed' by the writing or the story. It wasn't one of those books that I couldn't wait to have a bit of time to get back to reading it.
It was interesting, but I don't think I'll be buying more of his books. I think he deserves the 4 stars though, just for all the work and research he put into writing it.
Shawn Thrasher
Although not as profound as the previous Steven Saylor Roma Sub Rosa I read, The Venus Throw is still a juicy mystery with a helluva whodunnit at the end. The best mysteries are those that are incredibly difficult to figure out (check) but not completely implausible (check). One scene in particular, in the last third of the book, will leave you incredibly creeped out.

Mike
Another fascinating read in the Roma Sub Rosa series and Gordianus the Finder. I really enjoy these books for both the character development and the historical fiction that is Rome. Saylor takes actual events from Roman history and brings them to life, staying true to the characters he includes from reality. I enjoyed the mystery and the atmosphere and will absolutely continue with this series.
Monica Davis
Number 4 in the series. No question that the author writes well, but having concocted several very good storylines in his previous books, this one left me 'flat'. At times the spark of creative depth found in past stories did flare up, but overall book 4 seemed like more of a "filler" in the series; a short 300 pages. Nevertheless, I will continue reading books from this series from time to time.
Rob
4th book in the series... I have not yet read first 3 - no problems following storyline. Great historical fiction murder mystery. Relatively light reading with fantastic ending. Could have done without the lengthy oration of Cicero and a bit much on the sexual connotations for th Finder's client. Otherwise would have been 5 star rating. Still - can't go wrong with this Roman thriller.
Jane
The history was very interesting. The sexual descriptions rather discusting for me. I guess to be accurate about ancient Rome at the time of Cicero, it may be necessary. I kept thinking "are we going back to those horrible times in our own culture?" There are alot of parallels it seems. God forbid. Amen Will I read another Saylor work for the history. Don't know.
Barbara
Full of raunchy scenes in an adult oriented story. Sexy, sad, sweet, & in some passages, a supremely slapstick jaunt through Roman history with a mystery forming the foundation for the adventure. As usual, Saylor includes complicated family dramas that sometimes bring tears to my eyes. Found it rather difficult to stop reading the last hundred pages.
Colin
I have an only slightly-secret love for the mysteries of Steven Saylor set in ancient Rome. They're always fun, and often a little educational as well. This is one of my favorites (as evidenced by the tattered condition of my copy), containing Saylor's unique take on Cicero's Pro Caelio (he gives Catullus a hand in it!).
Michael
Awesome. Gordianus is now an aging "finder" in the last days of the Roman Republic. He's a private detective. SS brings this time to life as well as anyone I've seen. Rome was not that much different than New York, Washington, or LA today, London in the 1800's, Spain in the 1600's, etc. An old observation I know.
Carlakings
"Mas a verdade é que Roma tem uma maneira de engolir tudo aquilo que aterra no seu prato, para depois o evacuar como uma coisa aceitavelmente romana - arte, fatos, costumes, e até deuses e deusas. É esse o génio de Roma, conquistar o mundo e adaptá-lo às suas conveniências."
David
4th book. This is more like the pacing of the first and second rather than the third. Reading this one made me want to start on the 5th right away. This fills in some history of Gordinas, his wife and a little of what they were like when they were in Alexandria.
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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
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More about Steven Saylor...
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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