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The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient…

The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome) (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Steven Saylor

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4651422,298 (3.74)12
Title:The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)
Authors:Steven Saylor
Info:St. Martin's Minotaur (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Historical Fiction, Crime, Rome, Gordianus the Finder

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The Judgment of Caesar by Steven Saylor (2004)



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This historical mystery novel is so complex that I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fiction. Saylor has a way of making history come alive in his books. This book in the Roma sub-Rosa series is set in Alexandria where Gordianus and his wife Bethesda have gone to seek a cure for Betheseda's illness. They end up getting caught in the battle between two siblings, Ptolemy and Cleopatra. Gordianus also gets caught up in court intrigue in the King's palace in Alexandria. This book is such compelling reading, that I found it hard to put it down. The historical happenings are accurate, but Saylor has built up such a story around these momentous events, that it felt like I was there for the huge battle for Alexandria near the end of the book. We see Caesar up close and personal too, and we see how he might have been when this actually all occurred. These characters are so real, that it is hard to believe that some of them were fictional. I cannot say enough about this series and about Saylor's writing, and I recommend that anyone who loves history should make this series mandatory reading. ( )
  Romonko | Mar 30, 2014 |
Good read, enjoyed it. Very immersive and seemed to carry a lot of the culture of the times. ( )
  Matt_B | Nov 25, 2013 |
Interesting insertion of our friend Gordianus into the confrontation between Caesar, Pompey, and the two Ptolemies, Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy, in Egypt. A difference from most earlier novelists, the brother is portrayed as intelligent and capable (the Ptolemy of Shaw comes to mind).

An assassination attempt is made on Caesar, death by poisoning. Gordianus' son is at first blamed and faces death, however, the Finder proves his son's innocence. This takes place against the machinations between the surviving three key players. The end result, Ptolemy dies, Cleopatra (pregnant) rules Egypt, and Caesar heads to the province of Africa to crush the annoying Cato and the surviving Roman trouble makers.

A curious end to the novel. Gordianus is apparently a spirit, in the afterlife with his deceased wife. Though I am not entirely sure just what the matter is intended to be. Perhaps this is a "happy ending" to the series. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is the 11th in the Gordianus series and a welcome return for me over two years after reading the previous one. This is set entirely in Alexandria in Egypt which Gordianus is visiting as his wife Bethesda wants to bathe in the Nile to cure herself of a wasting sickness. Gordianus manages to be present at many key historical events such as the murder of Pompey, the unveiling of his head in the presence of Caesar and Cleopatra's smuggling herself into Caesar's presence in the famous rolled up carpet. The whodunnit aspect only takes up the final third of the book. There are a couple of key dramatic developments in Gordianus's family life that I won't give spoilers for here, but they are as eclectic and as likeable a group of characters as ever. I really enjoyed this one and there will definitely be a much shorter gap between this and my reading the next one. ( )
  john257hopper | Dec 4, 2012 |
Watching over Gordianus's shoulder we are again witness to famous historical events, this time in the extraordinary city of Alexandria. Gordianus has taken his wife, originally Egyptian, home to Alexandria in the hopes that bathing in the Nile will cure her of whatever the illness is that she is suffering. As the famed city pulls into view, their ship is hit by a terrible storm that pushes them into sight of Pompey's fleet. Suspected of being a spy, Gordianus is taken onto Pompey ship moments before he is rowed ashore to his death at the feet of the young king Ptolemy. Afraid of being separated from his family, he leaps into the water to try and swim to their ship but is instead washed on to the beach. He assists in building pyres for Pompey (less one finger and a head) and collapses from exhaustion. He wakes to find his wife and adopted sons had been deposited on the beach.

They travel west toward Alexandria, searching along the various branches of the Nile in the river delta for the spot to take Bethesda's healing swim and finally find an ancient temple that suits her needs. She walks into the water and disappears. Bereft, Gordianus proceeds to Alexandria.

He arrives in time to witness the famous meeting of Caesar and Cleopatra at the same time that he is rejoined with his son Meto. At a meal he was to share with the famous couple, a bottle of wine rescued from Pompey's ship was opened. Before either tasted the wine, Cleopatra calls her slave girl to taste the wine and it is discovered, fatally, that it is poisoned. Meto opened the sealed bottle and poured the wine so suspicion falls on him. Gordianus is granted a chance to investigate and determine who was the real poisoner.

Sayer has brought us to another important place in history and places us in the middle of the action as an eyewitness. Only one more book in the series. He has taken a well documented historical event and inserted a mystery that involves all the major players and lets us see them as more than pages in a history book. ( )
  mamzel | Apr 15, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312932979, Mass Market Paperback)

In 48 B.C., Roman generals Caesar and Pompey have long engaged in a battle to rule the world. Now, as Pompey plots a reckless stand on the banks of the Nile, Gordianus the Finder-who has brought his wife Bethesda to the river seeking a cure for her in its sacred waters-finds himself suddenly at the heart of a series of treacherous and history-altering events.

While Caesar and Cleopatra embark on a legendary romance, Egypt remains ravaged by the brutal contest between the Queen and her brother King Ptolemy. Worst of all for Gordianus, his once-disowned son and Caesar's right-hand man, stands falsely accused of murder. Caesar's judgment will decide Meto's fate, and it is up to Gordianus to somehow overcome colossal malevolent forces to reveal the carefully obscured truth and spare his son's life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:58 -0400)

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Heading to Egypt in search of a cure for the mysterious illness of his ailing wife, Bethesda, Gordianus the Finder arrives in a country torn by war and power struggles, a situation that worsens when Bethesda vanishes.

(summary from another edition)

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