Arms of Nemesis A Novel of Ancient Rome

Novels of Ancient Rome

Steven Saylor

Minotaur Books



Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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Second in Steven Saylor's historical mystery series set in Rome, Arms of Nemesis follows Gordanius the Finder as he tracks down a murder which may lead to the unnecessary slaughter of slaves in accordance with an old Roman tradition. The hideously disfigured body was found in the atrium, and the only clues are a blood-soaked cloak and the word Sparta carved into the stone at the corpse's feet. The murdered man was the overseer of Marcus Crassus's estate, apparently killed by two runaway slaves bent on joining Spartacus's revolt. In response to the murder, the wealthy, powerful Crassus vows to honor an ancient law and kill his ninety-nine remaining slaves in three days. Gordianus the Finder has been summoned from Rome by a mysterious client to find out the truth about the murder before the three days are up.


Praise for Arms of Nemesis

“Captivating descriptions of Roman customs and mythologies, and interesting characters, enlivened from the pages of history."—San Francisco Sentinel

“Saylor impeccably recreates life in Imperial Rome . . . and intriguing mix of historical accuracy and tense drama.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Saylor interweaves history and suspense into another seamless thriller . . . A marvelously authentic slice of antiquity that will serve as a savory treat for fans of both mystery and historical fiction."—Booklist

“Set in 72 B.C., during the slave revolt led by Spartacus, Saylor's second historical mystery follows Roman PI Gordianus the Finder to the resort of Baiae on the Bay of Naples. The cousin and factotum of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome, has been bludgeoned to death, apparently by two slaves who have run away. An ancient Roman law decrees that when a master is killed by a slave, the remainder of the household's slaves must be slaughtered. Gordianus and his adopted son Eco have three days to find the real murderer and save the villa's other 99 slaves. A convoluted plot reveals fraud, embezzlement and arms smuggling (spears and swords traded for silver and jewels); sensuously written subplots hinge on arcanic poisons and clandestine love affairs among a cast that includes a Crassus's second-rate philosopher-in-residence and a retired actor who doubles as a female impersonator. Richly detailed bacchanalian feasts and mesmerizing visits to the Sybil at Cumae lead to the spellbinding conclusion, reached during fierce gladiatorial combat.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

PART ONECORPSES, LIVING AND DEAD1For all his fine qualities—his honesty and devotion, his cleverness, his uncanny agility—Eco was not well suited for answering the door. Eco was mute.But he was not and has never been deaf. He has, in fact, the sharpest ears of anyone I’ve ever known. He is also a light sleeper, a habit held over from the wretched, watchful days of his childhood, before his mother abandoned him and I took him in from the street and finally adopted him. Not surprisingly, it was Eco who heard the knock at the door in the second hour after nightfall, when everyone
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  • Steven Saylor

  • Steven Saylor is the author of the long running series featuring Gordianus the Finder as well as the New York Times bestselling novel, Roma. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel. He divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.
  • Steven Saylor Photo: Jerry Bauer
    Steven Saylor