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The House of the Vestals

(Roma Sub Rosa #6)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,038 ratings  ·  103 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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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  3,038 ratings  ·  103 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
Vicki Cline
Oct 18, 2009 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
Timons Esaias
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sixth of the Roma Sub Rosa series, featuring Gordianus the Finder (Gordianus Inventor?), and the sixth that I have read. The others were novels, but this is a collection of short stories that fill in some of the gaps between the earlier novels.

Each of the stories stems from some ancient reference: from a detail in Cicero's speeches, or an incident in Herodotus, or a tale from Plutarch or Suetonius. I do admire that turning of history into story; and I like Saylor's general conceit of
Jul 04, 2009 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
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 31, 2012 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
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Loved with these short stories! Short murder mystery stories can go very wrong (boring, predictable or just all over the place), but these were absolutely great. An important factor was, I think, the fact that the victims weren't big political persons or affiliated with them. I think the characters were very well-rounded and their own person which I appreciated greatly.

Happy reading!
Overall this a wonderful collection of short stories. It's better than the other book of short stories that connect the books Roman Blood and Arm of Nemesis, A Gladiator Dies Only Once. Most of the stories have elements of humor, mystery and history - everything necessary for a great read. Individual reviews and summaries of the stories follow.

In Death Wears a Mask Gordianus takes Eco to see a play for the first time but their day out is interrupted when a murder is committed backstage. I love
Oct 11, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epub
Wonderfully entertaining mystery stories set in the world of the acclaimed ROMA SUB ROSA series. It is the Rome of the Late Republic, and Gordianus the Finder has a knack for finding trouble - and dead bodies. Known to many as the one man in the ancient world who can both keep a secret and uncover one, Gordianus lays bare some of his most intriguing adventures in this new volume in Steven Saylor's highly acclaimed mystery series. In 'Little Caesar and the Pirates', Gordianus must act as a ...more
Vicki Kondelik
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The House of the Vestals is a collection of nine short stories by Steven Saylor, featuring his ancient Roman detective, Gordianus the Finder. The stories take place between 80 and 72 BCE and fill in the gap between the first two novels in the series, Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis. In this collection, you see Gordianus’ adopted son, a mute boy named Eco, grow up and help him solve some of the cases. Gordianus’ Jewish-Egyptian slave and mistress, Bethesda, also plays a prominent role. We also ...more
James Wirrell
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of numerous short mystery stories. I believe they were originally published separately but brought together in this book. Their general timeframe of these stories puts them between Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis, even though this is technically Book 6 in the series. These stories are quite varied. Some are mysteries Gordianus investigates and solves, others are more puzzles he figures out, and others are mysterious stories recounted by others. These are not edge of seat ...more
I have once read a couple of stories about Gordianus and haven't really enjoyed them that much. It seems I needed to read some of the novels first for me to truly enjoy the short stories, because this time I really liked them.

They were lighter than the novels but still had the 'justice of Rome isn't really that just' vibe in the background. And I loved the fact that they filled the pretty long gap between the first two novels.

Each story, despite being rather short, sets up (and resolves!) an
Dennis Fischman
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
A good set of tales to while away the hours, and a generous gift to readers who wondered where certain characters in the series of novels could have come from. The puzzles themselves are slight, and the historical setting is a small pleasure but cannot be enjoyed enough in short stories and novellas.
Sara G
This collection of short stories fills in some of the blanks for Gordianus the Finder in between his big adventures. Chronologically, it falls between the first two books, and explains some of the events of those several years. The stories were fun but I think the full length novels are much better.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gordianus never disappoints! The full-length mysteries are obviously more developed, but these are still really fun to read and keep you guessing! I love the interaction between Ancient Rome and mysteries, and Gordianus, Bethesda, Eco, and others are great characters.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like to read series books in chronological order, read this as the second book in the Gordianus series. It was published later, I believe as the sixth in the series, but the events happen much earlier.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this author ,he takes you back in time and on a journey which brings excitment ,saddness, and all other emotions . Love then all.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gordianus is just as good in solving apparently less complicated mysteries as he is in solving the more complex ones. Loved these short stories.
Virginia Adi
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
entertaining stories with some good history
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short stories
Kathy Piselli
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, mystery
Pretty light and entertaining - a character spends time "scrolling through trashy Greek novels" - haha! Was he reading on his ebook reader?
Akos Toth
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book of short stories from Saylor that perfectly fits into the Roma Sub Rosa series. Gives an excellent insight to Roman culture BC.
Fancied a lot.
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Absolutely not what I expected. It was much lighter. Easy to follow (which was great as some of the names are tough). I can definitely read more of the series.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories fills in some of the long spaces between the early Gordianus novels. Excellent writing and historical detail, just as in the full-length episodes.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this thoroughly. I love mystery short stories. Also loved the way these filled in the gaps in the novels' chronology.
Kathy Davie
Sep 18, 2013 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
PJ Who Once Was Peejay
Mar 14, 2014 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 ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Taylor puts you in the well oiled sandals of Gordianus.
Oct 05, 2007 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
Dec 17, 2008 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
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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

Other books in the series

Roma Sub Rosa (1 - 10 of 13 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)