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(Roma Sub Rosa #7)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,189 ratings  ·  91 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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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,189 ratings  ·  91 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 ac
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.
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
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.
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.
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.....
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
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
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
William Malmborg
Another fantastic entry in the Gordianus the Finder series, and my favorite thus far. I'm in awe of Steven Saylor's ability to seamlessly blend a fictional murder mystery into one of history's most significant historical events: Julius Caesar's conquest of Rome. Set against the first months of that civilization-shaping conflict, Gordianus the Finder is forced by Pompey into solving a murder by conscripting his son-in-law into his legions, promising to release him from duty once the murder is sol ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Caesar crosses the Rubicon, and suddenly Rome is divided into those who favor the Imperator and those who favor Pompey. As civil war breaks out and Rome’s government flees the city, a dead man --- a kinsman of Pompey --- is found dead in Gordanius’ garden. Pompey drafts Gordianus’ son-in-law, holding him as a way to force Gordianus to solve the crime. The Finder travels to Caesar’s camp, trying to locate his son Meto, and is soon mixed up with Cicero’s man Tiro in what seems to be a spy network. ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another example of Saylor's exquisite skill at coupling intriguing fictional characters with historical figures. The saga of Gordianus, an ancient Roman PI, and his involvement with the leading figures at the end of the Roman Republic is captivating. Once again compelled to find a killer, the denouement of this story came as a real surprise.

The author's greatest skill is keeping the story of his fictional characters in the forefront. The history lesson bleeds in without breaking the pace of tal
This was not my favorite of the Gordianus the Finder books. After reading seven previous novels in this series, I was looking forward to a story of clue gathering, suspects, and sorting of facts. This book does not follow this outline. There is a murder at the beginning, but Gordianus does not try to find the killer. The book instead follows the political and military actions of Julius Caeser. I have not given up on the series, there are still four books left. However I do prefer this authors ot ...more
Amy Rupert
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Balancing his family issues and trying not to take sides between Pompey and Caesar. this book is more harrowing for Gordianus. His son works closely with Caesar and is son-in-law is a former slave of Pompey who gets pulled back into the military ranks of Pompey after one of Pompey's relatives is murdered. The who and why is not discovered until late in the book. Gorduanus goes on a trek to get Davus released from Pompey and to find his son, Meto.
A short novel in the Gordianus the Finder series set in Ancient Rome. This book was another mystery, but it focused more on the family issues of Gordianus and the history of Caesar and Pompey at the start of the Roman Civil War. I really enjoyed this from a history point of view, but if someone picked this up as a simply mystery, I do not think it would be enjoyable as it was the "reveal" of the murderer was not possible to guess.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rubicon is the third Saylor book from Roma Sub Rosa series which I have read. My favorite so far... as it concludes with the battle at Brundisium between Caesar and Pompey. The hero, Gordianus the Finder, spends half the book outside of Rome which also gives it a unique flavor. Like any good mystery, Saylor gives you a nice twist at the end of the book when discovering the murderer of Pompey's favorite young cousin.
A slightly below par outing for "The Finder", purely because the main twist, on which the story hinges was obvious early on and so even tho it was a good read, it felt like I was going through the motions just to get to the inevitible ending.

There are still reasons to read this book, as it advances a wider story arc and sets up future story lines.

However to my mind, this is the weakest book in an otherwise great series.
Bonnie Irwin
Not my favorite Saylor novel, but a pretty good one. If you like mystery novels and have an interest in Roman history, you'll enjoy this series, featuring Gordianus the Finder and his ever growing family. In this one, son-in-law Davus gets drafted to be one of Pompey's bodyguards while Gordianus tries to solve the murder of the Great One's nephew. Meanwhile, Caesar has crossed the Rubicon and Rome is falling into chaos.
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Goodreads Librari...: two versions of one book. 5 158 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 class

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)
“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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