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Rubicon by Steven Saylor
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Probably not the best of the series with which to start. Interesting main character, but hardly any sleuthing to this mystery. I may try one of the earlier Gordianus novels. Way more history (and not clear on how accurate it is) than there is mystery.
  FKarr | Aug 10, 2013 |
For me, this did not work as well as the other Gordianus novels I have read. The story did not have the usual investigative process with the answer becoming apparent towards the end of the novel, rather, we had a tour (well written, well researched, and intense—admittedly), through civil war Italy, but then BANG, the answer to the mystery thrown into our laps. All in all, a bit of a let down. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
In this episode of Gordianus, the Finder's stories, he finds himself walking a tightrope between the armed camps of Caesar and Pompey. One of Pompey's close advisors shows up at Gordianus's house and is killed in minutes. Why had he come? A close search of his body turns up some incriminating encoded papers. With his daughter, Diana's help, he deciphers one and finds intimate information about his adopted son, Meta, who is Caesar's personal secretary. The implication is that Meta is a spy for Pompey.

Gordianus has to find his son and determine the truth and falls in with Tiro, Cicero's protege, who has a pass signed by Pompey. The two proceed to Brundidium to find Meta. When they reach their destination, Caesar has laid siege to the city where Pompey and his troops are secure behind fortress walls. Caesar is also building rafts to close off the harbor to prevent Pompey from escaping by sea.

Gordianus gives us a close up view of the battle that ensues, both from Caesar's camp and then from inside the fortress. History was never so interesting (at least for me).

Saylor continues to weave the story of Gordianus and his family with the real history of the time placing us in the middle of the action. ( )
1 vote mamzel | Mar 30, 2012 |
This story cleverly manages to twist itself in amongst historical characters and situations - Caesar, Pompey and Cicero and the threat of civil war. Although the detective element of the plot gets a bit lost in the middle because of those events it is worth reading to the end. ( )
  paulmorriss | May 11, 2011 |
Another good entry in the Roma Sub Roma series. I love the interweaving of late Republican history and a good mystery. Pretty shocking revelation as concerns the mystery at the end (though perhaps predictable to more savvy mystery readers), and interesting conjectures going beyond the evidence of Cicero's letters and Caesar's commentaries on the civil war. Good cliffhanger to get us going to the next book, Last Seen in Massilia. ( )
  saholc | Oct 13, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312971184, Mass Market Paperback)

Steven Saylor's seventh installment in his Roma Sub Rosa series begins with a character saying, "Pompey will be mightily pissed." Scholars might argue that there is no evidence of this particular synonym for anger ever being used in 49 B.C., but the author would no doubt respond that poetic license includes doing whatever it takes to bridge the gap for modern audiences. And indeed, the head of the Roman Senate is mightily pissed. Rome is on the verge of another civil war, and the forces of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony have crossed the Rubicon River and are marching toward the capital. To top it all off, one of Pompey's favorite cousins has been garroted to death.

Before Pompey flees the city, he asks Rome's greatest detective, Gordianus the Finder, to solve the murder. But Pompey has reason to distrust Gordianus, who may have an allegiance with Caesar. To force his loyalty, Pompey seizes the detective's son-in-law, and makes him join his household army. By doing so, he ensures that Gordianus's involvement in the coming conflict will be a very personal one. Confused and troubled, Gordianus walks through Rome toward the house of his former friend and mentor, the poet Cicero. "All around me, I felt the uneasiness of the city, like a sleeper in the throes of a nightmare." Awakening from the nightmare, surviving the chaos, and solving this whodunit will be the Finder's toughest battle yet. --Dick Adler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

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In Ancient Rome, sleuth Gordianus the Finder investigates the death by garroting of Pompey's cousin. The probe plays out amid political turmoil as Julius Caesar invades from Gaul, starting a civil war.

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