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A Novel of Ancient Rome

Steven Saylor

Minotaur Books

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ISBN10: 0312582420
ISBN13: 9780312582425

Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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Weaving history and legend, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of Rome's first thousand years.

As Caesar marches on Rome and panic erupts in the city, Gordianus the Finder discovers—in his own home—the body of Pompey's favorite cousin. Before fleeing Rome, Pompey exacts a terrible bargain from our hero, the Finder himself: Gordianus must locate the killer, or sacrifice his own son-in-law to service in Pompey's legions—and certain death. Amid the city's sordid underbelly, Gordianus learns that the murdered man was a dangerous spy. Now, as he follows a trail of intrigue, betrayal, and ferocious battles on land and sea, the Finder is caught between the chaos of war and the terrible truth he must finally reveal.

Rubicon is another in Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series of historical mystery novels, widely celebrated by general readers and classical scholars alike.


Praise for Rubicon

"Saylor puts such great detail and tumultuous life into his scenes that the sensation of rubbing elbows with the ancients is quite uncanny."—The New York Times Book Review

"Saylor has the rare ability to make history comprehensible but also entirely personal and terrifying."—The Oregonian

"Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthrals."—Ruth Rendell, Sunday Times (London)

"An excellent blending of mystery and history."—Library Journal

"Saylor writes about ancient Rome as naturally and comfortably as if he had lived there, capturing both its glory and brutality. Finely shadowed characters and an action-packed finale make this a praiseworthy addition to a series that deserves wide attention."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In Saylors seventh novel set in ancient Rome, the reader is once again caught up in a world of murder, intrigue, and history as Gordianus the Finder attempts to solve the murder of Pompeys cousin Numerius. The civilized world of 49 B.C.E. is in turmoil at the onset of the Roman Civil War. Julius Caesar has crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his hand-picked troops. Pompey, his chief rival for control of Rome, has fled Rome with his followers from the Senate, and all is chaos as the people leave the city. Gordianuss task is made all the more difficult by his discovery that his son may be involved in a plot against Caesars life. This novel is an excellent blending of mystery and history. Although Rubicon will stand alone, be prepared for demand for Saylors other titles."—Jane Baird, Library Journal

"The seventh in Saylor's Roma sub Rosa series veers again, like Catilina's Riddle (1993), from straight detection to a wider examination of Rome in the grip of civil war . . . Just as news arrives that Julius Caesar, having conquered Gaul, has crossed the Rubicon in daring violation of his charter and has taken the city of Corfinium, Saylor's hero Gordianus the Finder encounters a corpse in his own home. The strangled victim is Numerius Pompeius, a cousin of the proconsul Pompey the Great, who—outraged that his relation has been murdered under the roof of a man not noted for his loyalty to Pompey, and suspicious that Gordianus' son Meto, Caesar's literary adjutant, may represent Gordianus' own allegiance to Caesar—demands that Gordianus discover the killer, and takes along Gordianus' son-in-law Davus with him to Brundisium, apparently Caesar's next target, to insure that Gordianus will stay on the job. Gordianus has no trouble establishing that Numerius was a blackmailing double-dealer, but his inquiries are stymied by the hysterical factionalism around him as all Rome waits breathlessly to see whether Pompey will succeed in holding off Caesar at Brundisium or drawing him into a trap, or whether Caesar will sweep over Pompey as easily as over Domitius Ahenobarbus, the pusillanimous defender of Corfinium. Saylor meticulously re-creates a chaotic world in which Romans endlessly calculate how much loyalty they can invest in a leader who may lose a crucial battle, branding his followers traitors overnight. And Gordianus' journey to Brundisium, together with the secretary of his wily former employer and adversary Cicero, bristleswith menace. What's most memorable, though, is the brilliantly simple solution to the question of who killed Numerius. Once again, Saylor resourcefully uses a single crime to focus the story of a civilization gone mad."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Steven Saylor

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 classics. He divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.

Louis LaSalle