Catilina's Riddle

A Novel of Ancient Rome

Novels of Ancient Rome (Volume 3)

Steven Saylor

Minotaur Books

Using scholarly historical insight and evocative storytelling that brings to life the glories of ancient Rome, Steven Saylor takes the reader from the bloody lines of clashing Roman armies to the backrooms of the Senate floor, where power-hungry politicians wrestle the Fates for control of Rome's destiny.

With the consular election drawing near, Rome is fiercely divided between the conservative Cicero and the tempestuous Catilina, whose followers are rumored to be plotting a bloodthirsty siege for power if their leader fails to win office.

Gordianus the Finder, retired to his Etruscan farm, is happy to be free of the intrigue and danger of the capital. But when his old friend Cicero enlists the Finder in an elaborate plot to control Catilina, Gordianus is drawn back into a familiar world. Now caught in a cloak-and-dagger political struggle for the fate of the Republic, Gordianus finds himself strangely drawn to the controversial candidate. Is Catilina really a subversive renegade, or are Cicero's suspicions part of an even greater conspiracy? When a headless corpse ominously appears on his farm, Gordianus knows he must unlock the secret of Catilina's riddle before Rome tears herself apart.


Praise for Catilina's Riddle

"Engrossing . . . Ironic and satisfying."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Saylor rivals Robert Graves in his knack for making the classical world come alive."—The Oregonian (Portland)

"Saylor's fashionably inconclusive reading of the conspiracy throws both antagonists, Cicero and Catilina, into bold relief. The result is a spacious, provocative portrait of a fictional detective confronted with a historical mystery finally beyond his powers."—Kirkus Reviews

"Saylor has written a sweeping and marvelously evocative story, with page after page of authentic detail and meticulous descriptions of the people, places, and politics of early Rome . . . There's no doubt that history buffs will savor the splendid historical detail."—Booklist

"Saylor carefully plots this novel and accurately depicts Roman society; his attentive study of Roman history and culture is evident throughout. The characters are believable and well delineated."—Library Journal

"Saylor has written another gripping and entertaining historical whodunit. Shrewdly depicting deadly political maneuverings, this addictive mystery also displays the author's firm grasp of history and human character."—Publishers Weekly 

In the Press

CATILINA'S RIDDLE by Steven Saylor | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of CATILINA'S RIDDLE . Gordianus the Finder—legman and sleuth for the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero in Roman Blood (1991) and Arms of Nemesis (1992)—gets swept up in the epochal Catiline conspiracy in this ambitious crossover novel.
- Kirkus Reviews
Fiction Review: Catilina's Riddle by Steven W. Saylor / Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (430p) ISBN 978-0-312-09763-9
Saylor ( Arms of Nemesis ) has written another gripping and entertaining historical whodunit. Narrator Gordianus, disillusioned by the corruption of Rome circa 63 B.C., has fled the city with his fami
- Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • 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.
  • Steven Saylor Photo: Jerry Bauer
    Steven Saylor





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Catilina's Riddle

    A Novel of Ancient Rome

    Novels of Ancient Rome

    Steven Saylor




    Minotaur Books