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The Seven Wonders (Ancient World #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,212 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
The year is 92 B.C. and the youthful Gordianus has just turned eighteen, and is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Gordianus is not yet called “the Finder”—but at each of the Seven Wonders, the wide-eyed young Roman encounters a mystery to challenge his powers of deduction.

Accompanying Gordianus on his
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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FBC Review:

INTRODUCTION: Outside speculative fiction, no contemporary writer is more appreciated by me than Steven Saylor for his wonderful Roma sub Rosa series with its main character Gordianus "the Finder" who is my current #1 fiction hero.

I summarized my impressions to the Gordianus novels HERE and I reviewed Empire, the second installment in the author's take on Roman history by following about 11 centuries of the fortunes of a patrician family entrusted with a special religious symbol.

Jul 19, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Gordianus is back! I just finished the Roma Sub Rosa series a month or so ago, and it's great to meet a young Gordianus just becoming aware of his talents in this prequel. Saylor's gift of making the ancient settings seem alive and natural is still present in this book, and we get a more light-hearted, less cynical protagonist than in the later installments of the series, and we see some of the early experiences that shape Gordianus's character. He's still recognizable as the Finder we've come t ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Hermine rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of the Roma Sub Rosa series and had been waiting for this book for a while knowing it would well be worth it. Steven Saylor knows how to tell a great story and he did just that with Seven Wonders.

The story follows Gordianus on his first real adventure (adventures, perhaps?). Despite reviewer criticism that perhaps the characters in this book aren't as fully developed as they are in the series itself, I don't feel the same way. Gordianus is a developed character for those who have
Steven Harbin
The last 2 entries in this series left me a little underwhelmed but with this "prequel" set in Gordianus the Finder's youth, I fell back in love with author Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" series. So much so that I'm going to go back and give the last 2 books another try. Briefly, this latest book is a group of short stories regarding the 18 year old Gordianus and his tutor, the Greek poet Antipater of Sidon ( a real historical figure ) and their grand tour of the ancient Hellenistic world, with an iti ...more
This addition to the Roma Sub Rosa series is a deviation from the norm in many ways. First, it is a prequel, going back in time to when Gordianus was eighteen and showing the process of the boy becoming the man and Finder returning readers know so well. Second, it purports to be a novel but is much closer to a short story collection. Third, it is a bit of a travelogue, focusing on places over anything else. The execution of each of these three things is largely responsible for how well the book ...more
A few years ago, I read through the Roma sub Rosa series in which a first-century Sherlock Holmes named Gordianus the Finder made his living investigating murders and other sundry mysteries which were in great supply during Rome's transition from republic to empire. The Seven Wonders marks the return of the Finder, or rather his beginning as a freshly-togaed young man touring the world with his tutor, Antipater of Sidon -- a poet who fakes his own death, and not just to get out of town. Although ...more
Georgina Ortiz
Jun 15, 2014 Georgina Ortiz rated it liked it
Steven Saylor never fails to amuse (and educate) with his stories. Some bits better than the others. Noticed that this particular collection is somewhat lighter in tone than the Roma Sub Rosa series.

Final rating: 3.5 stars
Jun 12, 2012 Adrienne rated it really liked it
Oh to have seen the 7 Wonders! Going along with Antipater and Gordianus was NOT a substitute, but what a pleasant voyage. The details were keen and a good look in on what it must have been like to have seen the sites. And the sights at the sites.
I love Steven Saylor's Roman Sub Rosa series, which features full-length detective stories starring Gordianus the Finder. At the start of the series, the middle-aged Gordianus is already established in Rome in the last days of the republic. The Seven Wonders is the chronological first prequel to that series, which takes you back to Gordianus's early days as a nineteen-year-old visiting the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It's a fun conceit that takes the form of short stories loosely tied to ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-rome
Gordianus is rapidly making his way up my list of favorite fictional characters. Steven Saylor's novel about Gordianus' journey around the "world" to visit the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was a fantastic read. Had it not been for the disjointed feeling I got while reading this novel, this would have been a five star read for me. The book reads more like a collection of short stories (something the author does address in his author's note) than a cohesive novel. It's not that I have a prob ...more
J. Else
Apr 28, 2016 J. Else rated it liked it
The story follows a young Roman, Gordianus, and his Greek tutor traveling incognito as the story builds from their travelogue of the ancient world. The stars of book, however, are the wonders themselves Today, of course, only one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" remains standing, the Great Pyramid. The others have been lost to natural disasters or human neglect. In Gordianus' day, most of them dominate the landscape of their cities. The Colossus of Rhodes has already fallen from earth ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Drianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, historical, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Dellit
Like Saylor's other short story collections, this falls short for sheer entertainment of his novels, but it is easily the most enjoyable of the short story collections. Having a strong theme to pull it together - the seven wonders - allows Saylor to showcase his understanding of how the Ancient World fits together, and his meticulous research about the marvels pays off. The book is worth reading simly for the description of these constructions, and Saylor gives us what we need to understand how ...more
Amy Corwin
Aug 25, 2012 Amy Corwin rated it really liked it
I gave 4 stars when it really should have been 5, simply because I misunderstood what I was getting when I got the book. I thought it would be more of a novel, but the reality is that it is a series of loosely connected short stories. Which is fine, I love short stories, I just didn't realize it until I got to chapter two.

The premise is that each short story is about Gordianus and his tutor on a trip to each of the 7 wonders of the world. I loved that concept and it was a lot of fun to read. Say
J.S. Dunn
Feb 10, 2013 J.S. Dunn rated it liked it
rating 3.5, agree with others' comments that this work uses the artifice or device of having the protag travel to see the ancient world's Seven Wonders fairly well but lacks the continuity and theme of a novel rather than a short story collection. Also that it lacks depth or is fluffy.

This novel is rather dismissive of women characters other than for sex scenes of dubious value. [ Too many conference lectures on "How To Write Great Sex Scenes?" or , A 20s or 30s NYC editor who thinks that sex pe
Dana Stabenow
Jul 04, 2012 Dana Stabenow rated it liked it
The Classic Age's equivalent of the Grand Tour with a young Gordianus the Finder, in company with his teacher, Antipater, the dead epic poet. Yes, really. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the statue of Zeus at Olympia (and we get to attend an Olympic Games, too), the Colossus of Rhodes, alas fallen and in pieces but nevertheless awe-inspiring, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (a Greek Taj Mahal), what's left of the Hanging Gardens and Wall of Babylon (not much), the Great Pyramid at Memphis (wher ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Aug 13, 2012 Elizabeth Theiss rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
The Seven Wonders is the prequel to Stephen Sayler's novels of Rome and, like all of them, is rich in ancient Roman cultural and political detail. It is fabulous vacation reading for the Romanly inclined. We meet Gordianus as an 18-year-old who sets off with his elderly Greek tutor Antipater, for a tour of the seven wonders of the world. As often happens in books, Gordianus is faced with a series of murders along the wAy, each of which requires his unique blend of cleverness and craft to resolve ...more
Jun 20, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Very good. The last book in the series has Gordanius late in his life around 60. This book goes back to his 18th year. He tutor takes him on a tour of the world to see the seven wonders. Each chapter is a travel guide of a wonder and a mystery and there is a theme that pulls them all together.

I don't know how he can do it but Saylor is able to write in his characters voice but reverse his wisdom and personality back in time so he observes and acts like a young man in the dawn of his life rather
Becky Galambos
Sep 14, 2012 Becky Galambos rated it really liked it
This novel goes back to before the beginning of the series. Although at the beginning we see more of Gordianus sewing his wild oats than honing his finding skills, it evens out into an enjoyable read where we meet the main characters for the first time, ending when he buys Bethesda at the slave market. I'm hoping that there might be a second book of this type as the main plot, with his tutor, seems kind of unfinished as he just disappears and there is obviously more to tell about Gordianus' time ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Shane rated it liked it
"The Seven Wonders" is really about a 3.5 rating, a book I really enjoyed, just maybe not quite a 4.
The premise is excellent: a young Roman and his poet tutor take a tour to visit the seven wonders of the ancient world, with mini-mysteries at each stop. The setting and descriptions, especially of the monuments and their accompanying cities, was excellent. Saylor also does a great job at working in the exposition, which is not always easy, especially when there is a lot of it.
The main characters,
Jan 02, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
I know Steven Saylor's "The Seven Wonders" came out in 2013 but my "to-read" stack has gotten so tall, I am a bit overwhelmed and only just now finally got a chance to read it. (Listen to it actually, as I have the unabridged version from Several of us on Facebook's Roman History Reading Group had suggested to Steven that he go back and write more stories about Gordianus the Finder when Gordianus was a young man. So, I was pleased to see that is exactly what he did with "The Seven ...more
Bruce Silverstein
Jun 25, 2012 Bruce Silverstein rated it it was amazing

Another great tale of Gordianus the Finder, my favorite skeptical, ancient Roman detective. This time we get a glimpse of Gordianus' life as a budding 18 year old sleuth, as he is led on a whirlwind tour of the seven wonders of the ancient world courtesy of his tutor. While Gordianus encounters mystery, murder, and intrigue at every stop on the tour, the real reason to read this book is for the great history lessons you will receive about Rome and its world. Another winner from Steven Saylor.
Alison C
Mar 05, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it
The Seven Wonders , by Steven Saylor, is subtitled "A Novel of the Ancient World," but really it's a group of related short stories. Gordianus, a young Roman citizen who has just turned 18, sets out with his Greek tutor, the poet Antipater, to visit the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The pair travel to Greece, Egypt and the ancient city of Babylon, and encounter mysteries and adventures all along the way. Most of the stories were previously published in various publications, except for t ...more
Richard Stueber
This book is a prequel to the Roma Sub Rosa Series featuring Gordianus the Finder. In later years Gordianus becomes the Sherlock Holmes of Ancient Rome, having dealings with the Roman elite including Cicero, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Here we start with Gordianus's 18th birthday on March 23rd, 92 B. C.
Gordianus is fictional but he goes on a tour visiting the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with a real person Antipater of Sidon a well-known poet. It's part travelougue, part history, part d
Jun 18, 2012 Alice rated it it was amazing
A wonderful prequel to the Roma sub Roma series. This book could be viewed as a series of short stories of Gordianius and his tutur, Antipater, visiting the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Most of them has mysteries in them. They give a lot of good background information on Gordianus's early years. Wonderful historical information of the times and Seven Wonders. a Very good read. Highly recommend for all Gordianus fans.
Karen Wyle
Feb 05, 2016 Karen Wyle rated it really liked it
This prequel is called a novel, but is closer to a framed series of stories -- though the connections between them, and the narrative arc they create, becomes clearer toward the end. For someone who has read at least some of the novels written earlier and set later, it's entertaining to get to know Gordianus as a young man, and to discover some of his formative experiences. The device of a tour to see the Seven Wonders allows for a wide variety of ancient settings, all colorfully rendered. Saylo ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Lara rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I've been a fan of Gordianus the Finder for many years now. I use to snatch up each book as it was released. Then life took over and I lost my place somewhere nearer the end of the series. This book, which is a prequel of sorts, was something of a surprise to me. I had picked it up at a sale, based on the author. When I finally started reading it yesterday, I found that it is about a young Gordianus--he's 18 at the start of the book--before he has become independent and had the experiences that ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Catarina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again the adventures of Gordiano captivate the readers attention and the description of his journeys through the Seven Wonders are splendid. The end of the book is very interesting and unexpected :-). I strongly advise this book and if you have followed other books over Gordiano this will not disappoint you.
Sep 12, 2014 Debra rated it it was amazing
Liked the little mysteries throughout the protagonist's journeys, which he always solved. I think I just may read more in this series. I like getting my history with my fiction. (I know I've said that many times before!)
May 14, 2014 Rick rated it liked it
Any Gordianus book (or set of stories) is worth reading for Saylor's fine writing style and a deep knowledge of the era, but this one seems to me a lesser entry in the series. Gordianus tours the seven wonders of the ancient world with his tutor-in-disguise, Antipater of Sidon; of course at each location the 19-year old Gordianus finds a small mystery to solve. the good: the description of the wonders and the rituals/culture that accompanied each of them is fascinating. the bad: the mysteries ar ...more
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Shelfari to GoodReads 4 9 Jan 26, 2016 08:23AM  
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Seven Wonders 1 3 Aug 26, 2013 07:46AM  
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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

Ancient World (4 books)
  • Raiders of the Nile (Ancient World, #2)
  • Wrath of the Furies (Ancient World, #3)
  • Rogues

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