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The Seven Wonders

(Ancient World #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,864 ratings  ·  232 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, 321 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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George This IS Roma Sub Rosa: The Prequel. Covers Gordianus from 18yo to 20.

I just read it without having seen the others and had no problem--well, the last…more
This IS Roma Sub Rosa: The Prequel. Covers Gordianus from 18yo to 20.

I just read it without having seen the others and had no problem--well, the last paragraph was clearly a tie-in to the next 14 (as of this writing), but nothing beyond that.(less)

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3.77  · 
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 ·  1,864 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a prequel to the Rome Sub Rosa series that Saylor began over 20 years ago. For those who haven't read any of those ancient Rome mysteries, it will do no harm to start with this story of a young Gordianus who leaves Rome on his 17th birthday to see the world.

There is a big plot that isn't evident at the beginning. The Roman Empire is having its troubles, both in Italy and along its borders. Gordianus and his teacher, a celebrated poet traveling in disguise, learn more about the world as t
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.

Kathy Davie
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, mystery
It's a prequel full-length novel of short stories woven together for the Roma Sub Rosa historical mystery series in which we're introduced to Gordianus Junior.

The short story, Down These Strange Streets: Styx and Stones , is pulled from this novel.

My Take
Yep, it's a torture session all the way through as Saylor won't let on why Antipater had to fake his death until the very end. I did enjoy his "death" by the way — Roman funereal rites are, um, interesting.

Seven Wonders is a nice blend of bein
Jun 08, 2012 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 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
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
Steven Harbin
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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 07, 2014 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 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.
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about an amiable young Roman detective. I love any books about
a) young amiable people
b) Romans
c) detectives (in non-scary stories).
As a result, I really enjoyed this book. I found the main character endearing, and the world immersive. I stayed up late to finish it last night and couldn't concentrate on my work this morning because I running through ancient cities in my imagination.

Our hero visits the seven wonders of the world, along with ruined Corinth, solving a mystery in every
I have not read anything by this author before but had some books from his Sub-Rosa Rome series ready to start, when I found out that these books were a prequel of sorts - giving some background about the 18 year old young Roman finder. So (liking to read things in order), I gave this a crack before I started the main series.

Not disappointed. The story flowed well and certainly gave some historical facts (some of which were delivered lecture style). Basically our young MC and his older Greek tu
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dennis Fischman
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Somehow the author has indulged his desire to tell us all about these feats of ancient engineering and the cultures that grew up around them by the first century CE and still written a coming of age novel constructed around a series of mysteries. That he could do all this in one book is a wonder in itself.
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon this book and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise :-) Ancient travelstory with some mysterysolving..nice! I am going to read the next part.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It looks like I’ve found another author whose books I’ll be reading...I just love fiction that’s based in ancient times!
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
J. Else
Jul 06, 2012 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
Amy Corwin
Aug 25, 2012 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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, mystery, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2014 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
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: whodunnit, history
I decided to check in and see what the Ancient Rome whodunnit folks have been up to since last time I said hi--and as a result, recently read Lindsay Davis's first Flavia book (and have the second one already in my stack since I liked the first one so much), and there's a new Ruth Downie, and this one by Steven Saylor, who has put almost as much of a stamp on the Roman genre as Elizabeth Peters has for Egypt.

I really liked the whole Sub Rosa series, and it seems fitting that this new book starts
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
J.S. Dunn
Feb 10, 2013 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 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
MB (What she read)
I am having a real problem with the fact that every single female character in here (so far) is included only to serve, 'service', die, or be rescued by Gordianus. Sometimes she's lucky and 'gets' to assume several of these roles! Woo hoo! Lucky her! (Yes, I'm being facetious. Can you tell?)

This book may well pass the Bechdel test in actual words on the page, but in intention it ABSOLUTELY does not. As a woman, I don't enjoy reading this type of nonsense--we should be past this type of misogyny
Elizabeth Theiss
Feb 27, 2012 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
Constanza Gomez
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Despite I enjoyed the historical backgrounds, this book didn't feel like a novel to me. Besides, I got tired that the outline in every chapter was almost the same: (view spoiler).
Many times, the view point from the character felt like something taken from a history book instead of fiction.
Despite I know this was set in Ancient times, the fact that most of the women were basically sex prizes for the main character made
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
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
Bruce Silverstein
Jun 20, 2012 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.
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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

Other books in the series

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