The Roman civil war has come to its conclusion—Pompey is dead, Egypt is firmly under the control of Cleopatra (with the help of Rome's legions), and for the first time in many years Julius Caesar has returned to Rome itself. Appointed by the Senate as Dictator, the city abounds with rumors asserting that Caesar wishes to be made King—the first such that Rome has had in centuries. And that not all of his opposition has been crushed.
Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of "Finder," but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar's wife. Troubled by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead—murdered—on her doorstep. With four successive Triumphs for Caesar's military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies—to protect Caesar's life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar's, Gordianus agrees to help—but only to find the murderer who killed his friend. But once an investigation is begun, there's no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end.
"Suspecting a plot against Julius Caesar, his wife Calpurnia calls on Gordianus the Finder to head it off. Now that he's resolved his Egyptian problems, the Dictator of Rome has returned for four days of no-holds-barred festivals celebrating respectively his Gallic, Egyptian, Asian and African triumphs. Urged on by dire hints from her Etruscan soothsayer Porsenna and her agent Hieronymus, Calpurnia believes that someone is planning her husband's death. Her suspicions harden into certainty when Hieronymus is slain. Since Gordianus has been so successful for so long at finding the truth, she charges him to identify the ringleader Hieronymus was frightened to name even in his private notes. Mingling among a cast that includes the most illustrious people in the world—Julius Caesar, his grandnephew Octavius, his general Marc Antony, the defeated Gallic chief Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and her captive sister Arsinoe—Gordianus swiftly realizes that virtually everyone who's ever dealt with Caesar has sufficient grounds to wish him dead . . . No contemporary novelist approaches Saylor's continued ability to bring ancient Rome to life."—Kirkus Reviews
"Gordianus the Finder is a marvelous example of a credible early-history sleuth—sophisticated, cagey, and loosely attached to the shifting power structure of Rome in the time of Caesar, Pompey, Cato, and Cicero. This latest in the Roma Sub Rosa series in which Gordianus stars is set just after the Roman civil war has ended, but with the nation-state still in uproar over murders, betrayals, and a calendar system out of sync with the seasons. Gordianus, now 64, has retired from his role of solving mysteries, big and small, for the powers-that-be. Then he receives a summons from Calpurnia, Caesar's second wife, who says she fears for Caesar's safety, especially since Caesar is totally distracted by the plans for four upcoming triumphs. Calpurnia shows Gordianus the murdered body of his friend Hieronymous (Hieronymous was the scapegoat portrayed in Last Seen in Massilia, 2000). This hook brings Gordianus into searching for the enemies of Caesar. Guided by Hieronymous' journal, Gordianus plunges into the scary, fascinating world of Roman plots and betrayals. Saylor brings Roman history to vivid life in his series, filling his books with both the big picture of what happened and intriguing minutiae (for example, we learn here how Caesar fixed the calendar and how Romans divined the future from animal entrails). Fast-paced action, a deeply realized main character, and accessible history make this series first-rate on all fronts."—Connie Fletcher, Booklist (starred review)
"At the start of bestseller Saylor's stellar 10th novel in his Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, Gordianus is at first reluctant to accept a commission from Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, to discover which of the general's many enemies may be plotting her husband's assassination soon after his victory in the Roman civil war. When Calpurnia reveals that the first man she'd hired for the job, Hieronymous, was murdered, the sleuth agrees to help because Hieronymous was an old friend of his. The suspects in Hieronymous's death, who include such prominent figures of the period as Cleopatra and Marc Antony, may well be the ones seeking to kill Caesar. Since the action takes place two years before Caesar's actual death in 44 B.C., there's little suspense about the outcome, but Saylor ably rises to the challenge. The convincing backdrop of daily life in ancient Rome helps make this compelling whodunit a triumph."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
"I heard that you were dead."
Such a brusque comment from Caesar's wife might have offended me had I not heard it already from so many others since I returned from Egypt to Rome, where everyone...