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(Roma Sub Rosa #7)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,314 ratings  ·  101 reviews
When Caesar marches on Rome, Pompeii and the panic-stricken Senate prepare to flee the city. The murder of a visitor to the house of Gordianus the Finder could not occur at a worse moment -- especially since the dead man is is Pompey's favorite cousin, and quite possibly a dangerous spy. Threatening a terrible penalty for failure, Pompey commands a reluctant Gordianus to f ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 1999)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  2,314 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Kathy Davie
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My sixth in the Roma Sub Rosa historical mystery series and revolving around Gordianus the Finder, a private detective. The story is set in ancient Rome in January of the Year of Rome 705 (49 B.C. to us).

Chronologically, it's MY sixth and Saylor's seventh because the technical sixth, The House of the Vestals , is a collection of short stories that I've slotted in chronologically on my website.

My Take
It's another pip of a story from Saylor, and yet I'd also call it a bridge novel. For all the
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
2.5 / 5 stars

Mehh.. This book turned out to be a disappointment to me.

I really love the Roma Sub Rosa series, because I love the Antiquity and detectives. Just like the other books, this book begins with a mysterious murder and Gordianus tasked with solving it.

Throughout this whole book there seemed to be more political stuff going on than actual detective work. While that's great if it's encompassed in the mystery (see A Murder on the Appian Way for instance), it felt really disconnected here.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, although these books are becoming less about the actual mystery and more about describing the historical events taking place. I enjoy that, because I can't get enough of the late Roman Republic, but those reading this just for the murder mystery might be disappointed. I enjoyed how well Saylor put me into the times of the great struggle between Caesar and Pompey.
Mary JL
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mysteries and/or historical novels
Recommended to Mary JL by: I've read other volumes in this series
Shelves: mystery-horror
I rated this a four instead of a three because it seemend more intense to me.

Usually Gordianus is out risking his own neck; but with civil war approaching, everyone he knows and loves may be in danger.

In a previous book, Gordianus worked for Pompey the Great. So, if Ceasar wins, he may not trust Gordianus. But Gordianus' son, Meto, is on Ceasar's staff, so if Pompey wins, he might not trust Gordianus either. In the politics of those days, the idea of neutrality was not a common concept. Gordianu
Timons Esaias
I'm a fan of this series, having read six earlier volumes and having six or seven awaiting attention on my unread shelf. While this entry in the series left me a bit disgruntled, I want to be clear that I intend to continue reading them. One should not over-interpret my marginal complaints.

Saylor's Sub Rosa series has always been two things at once, in the books before this one: a detective novel and a historical novel set in the time of the Civil Wars that brought the Roman Republic to an end.
Moshe Mikanovsky
I loved the way this instalment of the Roman Empire story unfolds while Gordianos the finder continues looking and finding things. Excellent
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though there is a mystery to be solved, this book is more about the stressful times accompanying Caesar's rise to power in Ancient Rome. The description of military and political maneuvering is well done and easily followed. I would call this historical fiction with a mystery included. The ending included a series of surprising twists that made sticking with the story well worth it for me.

However, I prefer Lindsey Davis' Falco mysteries, with their entertaining and clever characters, interesting
Vicki Cline
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-mysteries
A relative of Pompey's is killed in Gordianus' garden when he comes to consult him. Naturally Pompey is upset and charges Gordianus with finding out who did it, and takes Gordianus' son-in-law Davus as a sort of hostage while on his way out of Italy to regroup in Greece and fight against Caesar, who has just crossed the Rubicon in defiance of Rome's laws. Not one of my favorites, but the solution is unusual and all of the books in the series are very interesting.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are interested in Roman history
This book tried to be a historical story but also some sort of crime story. It didn't succeed in both. The historical side was OK, the crime side... Well, the author should honestly forget trying to write crime stories. He's better in historical novels. It was easy reading and at least I had no difficulties finishing it.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why this book: I was looking for a “light” and enjoyable read and this book had been recommended to me many years ago. I have also listened to Dan Carlin’s fantastic series “Death Throes of the Republic” which covers the lead up to the end of the Roman Republic, when Ceasor made himself emperor.

Summary in 3 sentences: During the period when Pompey and Julius Caesar were preparing to do battle over the soul of the Roman empire, a close relative of Pompey is murdered on the estate of our protagon
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Rubicon could not have been more different to the previous Roma Sub Rosa book, The House of the Vestals, a fairly light-hearted collection of short stories set a couple of decades before the two books it comes between. The House of the Vestals did a nice job of filling in some of the gaps between Roman Blood and Arms of Nemesis, detailing the development of Gordianus' relationships with his eldest son Eco, his then-slave Bethesda, and various friends. Rubicon threw me right back into the "presen ...more
Sara G
Solid, but not my favorite in the Roma Sub Rosa series. The book starts out with Pompey evacuating Rome, as Caesar has just crossed the Rubicon. His cousin is found murdered at Gordianus's house. Pompey insists that Gordianus investigate and find the murderer, even though Gordianus claims he is too old and not doing his work as "the Finder" anymore, so Pompey takes Gordianus's son-in-law Davus as a hostage. It's all a bit confusing and didn't really satisfy me at the end, but I feel like it's a ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
This is the best one of the series so far. There is so much happening in this book with Pompey retreating, Caesar advancing, murders happening etc that you get lost in the old world. Steven does a brilliant job of taking you into the Roman era with all the political intrigue and chaos that was at the start of the Roman civil war. There are so many twists and turns in this story and so well paced that I had to rate this 5 out of 5. Looking forward to the rest
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was, in my opinion, the best yet of this excellent series. It is at once a fascinating glimpse into the workings of ancient Rome - told from the views of major historical characters like Caesar and Pompey, and ordinary citizens, and slaves - and a terrific mystery. The end took me completely by surprise, and while the author kind of broke one of the rules of mystery fiction he did it skillfully and when I went back and checked I could not find that he actually cheated in any wa
Dennis Fischman
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Don’t start the series here, especially if you’re not familiar with the history of Rome. If you’ve read the previous books, though, you’ll find that our friend Gordianus, his family, and the Roman Republic are all getting older and reaching a critical point. The murder mystery element of the book illuminates the history rather than the other way around. I appreciate that, but if you’re looking for a whodunnit in togas, read the Marcus Didius Falco series instead.
It's 49 bce and Julius Cesar and his troops have just crossed the Rubicon and are on their way to Rome. Cesar's rival, Gnaeus Pompey is leaving the city. Pompey's relative, Numerius is found murdered in Gordianus's garden. Pompey takes Gordianus' son-in-law hostage in order to force Gordianus to find out who killed Numerius. Not the best in the series, but still a decent read.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps because I thought I knew Gordianus, Saylor really surprised me with this one. Very good. I wasn't surprised to the point of disbelief. Of course "Rubicon" has a double meaning which was not clear until near the end.
Teresa De La Rosa
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a great gallop through Rome. It was a shame there were so many typos such as Spam over and over instead of Spain which indicated to me that it was edited by a machine rather than a reader
Sue Law
Another solid entry in the Roma Sub Rosa series. Caesar has crossed the Rubicon, Pompey is evacuating Rome, and a young relative of Pompey's is found strangled in Gordianus' garden. Pompey wants answers, and takes a hostage to ensure Gordianus will supply them.
Boulder Boulderson
I sort of enjoyed this, but ultimately it was a disappointment - like a number of the later novels in the series, there isn't really a mystery or investigation to conduct. It's an interesting novels of the time but little substance to it.
Kevin O
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book well researched as always. Yes the author took liberties. Big deal. I ripped through this like shit through a goose.It was a real page turner.I love the twists and turns all the way to the end.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book of Mr. Saylor...Always a good read of Ancient Rome.....
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic historical crime writing
One of the better in the series
Stuart Mansfield
Gordianus the Finder. Loved this series great books. And so rich in detail.
Michael Heath-Caldwell
The era of Rome with Ceasar on the rise, and on the way back to Rome to collect his laurels. The story concentrates characters in Rome itself and a plot of murder and intrigue.
Simon Mcleish
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in March 2000.

In only seven novels together with a few short stories, Saylor has covered thirty years of the career of his detective, Gordianus the Finder, taking him into his sixties. This is quite rapid progress for a series of detective novels, which often have central characters who hardly age at all over thirty years' worth of writing. In Saylor's series, the character has been closely if sordidly involved in a datable sequence of historical events, whic
"Rubicon" is #6 in the Saylor series.This novel is set in 49 B.C. at the outbreak of the Roman Civil War. Caesar and Pompey are rivals with armies positoning themselves to "save Rome" by exercising sole power and vying to become dictators for the good of the republic. Gordianus's son Meto has become Caesar's secretary and is recording Caesar's memoirs. Pompey's cousin Numerius is inconveniently found murdered in Gordianus's garden and Gordianus must discover the murderer to clear his own reputat ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up off of the take a book/leave a book shelf on a cruise ship. I haven't read any of the other books in this series.

While I did have the sense that this was the nth book of a series and that there were little asides long time readers would have gotten that I didn't, I didn't feel lost in the book. There's enough background given that as a new reader, I connected with the characters and the plot.

It's not a "normal" mystery, per-se. While there is a murder and the main character
John Carter McKnight
A seriously disappointing entry in an enjoyable series. The central mystery is a failure, enough so that I contemplated dropping the review to two stars.

It starts with a bang, with a guest suddenly turning up dead, garroted, in series hero Gordianus The Finder's atrium. The book's in fine form in the first few chapters, as Gordianus is blackmailed into investigating by Pompey: Caesar's marching on Rome, Pompey is preparing to evacuate, loyalties are being questioned, the city's in panic. It's g
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Goodreads Librari...: two versions of one book. 5 159 Nov 11, 2012 12:44AM  

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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 cla

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

News & Interviews

You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
28 likes · 10 comments
“Men like Caesar and Pompey--they're not heroes, Meto. They're monsters. They call their greed and ambition "honour," and to satisfy their so-called honour they'll tear the world apart. But who am I to judge them? Every man does what he must, to protect his share of the world. What's the difference between killing whole villages and armies, and killing a single man? Caesar's reasons and mine are different only in degree. The consequences and the suffering still spread to the innocent (Gordianus the Finder to his son Meto)” 14 likes
“I kept secrets from you. I let you believe a lie. I am an impious son. But I made my choice, as C(aesar) did, and once the Rubicon is crossed, there can be no turning back (Meto, Caesar's scribe, to his father Gordianus the Finder)” 1 likes
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