In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on a case involving the savage murder of the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius. Charged with the murder is Sextus's son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.
The case becomes a political nightmare when Gordianus's investigation takes him through the city's raucous, pungent streets and deep into rural Umbria. Now, one man's fate may threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.
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The slave who came to fetch me on that unseasonably warm spring morning was a young man, hardly more than twenty.
Usually, when a client sends for me, the messenger is a slave from the very lowest rung of the household--a grub, a cripple, a half-wit boy from the stables stinking of dung and sneezing from the bits of straw in his hair. It's a kind of formality; when one seeks out the services of Gordianus the Finder, one keeps a certain distance and restraint. It's as if I were a leper, or the priest of some unclean Oriental cult. I'm used to it.
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“Gripping…a combination of Hitchcock-style suspense and vivid historical detail.” – Pittsburgh-Post-Gazette on Roman Blood
“Gordinaus has wisdom and prudence; Saylor has intelligence, wit, and insight. Saylor has aquired the information of a historian but he enjoys the gifts of a born novelist.” – The Boston Globe on A Murder on the Appian Way
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.