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Showing posts by: Steven Saylor click to see Steven Saylor's profile
Feb 20 2018 4:00pm

Ides of March: Beware!

Read Steven Saylor's guest post about the murder of Julius Caesar, then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of the 16th Novel of Ancient Rome, The Throne of Caesar!

“Death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

—Shakespeare, Julius Caesar: Act II, Scene II

The death of Julius Caesar is arguably the most famous murder in history. This is thanks partly to the enormous importance of Caesar himself and partly to Shakespeare, who mined the historical sources available to him to create one of his best plays—a model of historical fiction as well as crime fiction, since Julius Caesar delves deeply into the psyche of one of the killers, Brutus.

Thanks to Shakespeare, just about every literate person knows at least two things about the event: 1) Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (15 March, 44 B.C., to be exact), and 2) he was warned ahead of time by a soothsayer to “Beware the Ides”—a warning the Roman dictator shrugged off. The foreshadowing presence of this soothsayer and his unheeded warning adds an unforgettable twist of irony to the grisly tale.

[Read more about the murder of Julius Caesar!]

Feb 13 2018 11:00am

Steven Saylor Excerpt: The Throne of Caesar

Steven Saylor

The Throne of Caesar by Steven Saylor is the 16th Novel of Ancient Rome, which turns to the most famous murder in history: It’s Rome, 44 B.C., and the Ides of March are approaching (available February 20, 2018).

Julius Caesar, appointed dictator for life by the Roman Senate, has pardoned his remaining enemies and rewarded his friends. Now Caesar is preparing to leave Rome with his legions to wage a war of conquest against the Parthian Empire. But he has a few more things to do before he goes.

Gordianus the Finder, after decades of investigating crimes and murders involving the powerful, has been raised to Equestrian rank and has firmly and finally decided to retire. But on the morning of March 10th, he’s first summoned to meet with Cicero and then with Caesar himself. Both have the same request of Gordianus―keep your ear to the ground, ask around, and find out if there are any conspiracies against Caesar’s life. And Caesar has one other matter of vital importance to discuss. Gordianus’s adopted son Meto has long been one of Caesar’s closest confidants. To honor Meto, Caesar plans to bestow on Gordianus an honor which will change not only his life but the destiny of his entire family. It will happen when the Senate next convenes on the 15th of March.

Gordianus must dust off his old skills and see what plots against Julius Caesar, if any, he can uncover. But more than one conspiracy is afoot. The Ides of March is fast approaching and at least one murder is inevitable.

[Read an excerpt from The Throne of Caesar...]

Oct 12 2015 11:00am

Wrath of the Furies: New Excerpt

Steven Saylor

Wrath of the Furies by Steven SaylorWrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor is the third historical thriller set in Ancient Rome featuring Gordianus the Finder (available October 13, 2015).

In 88 B.C., it seems as if the entire ancient world is at war. In the west, the Italian states are rebelling against Rome; in the east, Mithridates is marching through and conquering the Roman Asian provinces. Even in the relatively calm Alexandria, a coup has brought a new Pharaoh to power and chaos to the streets. The young Gordianus has been waiting out the chaos in Alexandria, with Bethesda, when he gets a cryptic message from his former tutor and friend, Antipater. Now in Ephesus, as part of Mithridates' entourage, Antipater seems to think that his life is in imminent danger.

To rescue him, Gordianus concocts a daring, even foolhardy, scheme to go “behind enemy lines” and bring Antipater to safety. But there are powerful, and deadly forces, at work here, which have their own plans for Gordianus. Not entirely sure whether he's a player or a pawn, Gordianus must unravel the mystery behind the message if he's to save himself and the people he holds most dear.


I, Gordianus of Rome, was living a few miles to the west of Alexandria that summer, in a house on the beach next to a small fishing village.

My hosts were the owners of the house, two eunuchs who had retired from the Egyptian royal court, Kettel and Berynus. When King Ptolemy lost control of Alexandria and the city became too wild and lawless even for a footloose young Roman like me, the eunuchs invited me to stay with them for a while, and I gladly accepted. I shared a room with my slave, Bethesda. The room was quite small, but the bed was just large enough for two.

From the rooftop terrace of the house, looking east over the sand dunes and up the coastline, we had a clear view of the skyline of Alexandria in the distance. Most prominent was the towering Pharos Lighthouse in the harbor; its fiery beacon was visible for many miles, both day and night. The Temple of Serapis, situated atop the city’s highest hill in the quarter nearest to us, was also easy to make out. The rest was all a jumble of obelisks and rooftops surrounded by the high city wall.

[Continue reading Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor!]

Feb 22 2014 12:00pm

Raiders of the Nile: New Excerpt

Steven Saylor

An excerpt of Raiders of the Nile, the 14th novel featuring Roman sleuth Gordianus, is a historical mystery by Steven Saylor (available February 25, 2014).

In 88 B.C. it seems as if all the world is at war. From Rome to Greece and to Egypt itself, most of civilization is on the verge of war. The young Gordianus—a born-and-raised Roman citizen—is living in Alexandria, making ends meet by plying his trade of solving puzzles and finding things out for pay. He whiles away his time with his slave Bethesda, waiting for the world to regain its sanity. But on the day Gordianus turns twenty-two, Bethesda is kidnapped by brigands who mistake her for a rich man’s mistress. If Gordianus is to find and save Bethesda, who has come to mean more to him than even he suspected, he must find the kidnappers before they realize their mistake and cut their losses. Using all the skills he learned from his father, Gordianus must track them down and convince them that he can offer something of enough value in exchange for Bethesda’s release.

As the streets of Alexandria slowly descend into chaos, and the citizenry begin to riot with rumors of an impending invasion by Ptolmey’s brother, Gordianus finds himself in the midst of a very bold and dangerous plot—the raiding and pillaging of the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great himself.

Chapter I

Like any young Roman who found himself living in the most exciting city on earth—Alexandria, capital of Egypt—I had a long list of things I wanted to do, but taking part in a raid to steal the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great had never been among them.

And yet, there I found myself, on a morning in the month we Romans call Maius, doing just that.

[Read the full excerpt of Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor]

May 26 2012 4:45pm

The Seven Wonders: New Excerpt

Steven Saylor

The Seven Wonders by Steven SaylorAn excerpt of The Seven Wonders, a historical mystery by Steven Saylor (available June 5, 2012).

The year is 92 B.C. Gordianus has just turned eighteen and is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Gordianus is not yet called “the Finder”—but at each of the Seven Wonders, the wide-eyed young Roman encounters a mystery to challenge the powers of deduction.

Accompanying Gordianus on his travels is his tutor, Antipater of Sidon, the world’s most celebrated poet. But there is more to the apparently harmless old poet than meets the eye. Before they leave home, Antipater fakes his own death and travels under an assumed identity. Looming in the background are the first rumblings of a political upheaval that will shake the entire Roman world.

Teacher and pupil journey to the fabled cities of Greece and Asia Minor, and then to Babylon and Egypt. They attend the Olympic Games, take part in exotic festivals, and marvel at the most spectacular constructions ever devised by mankind. Along the way they encounter murder, witchcraft and ghostly hauntings. Traveling the world for the first time, Gordianus discovers that amorous exploration goes hand-in-hand with crime-solving. The mysteries of love are the true wonders of the world, and at the end of the journey, an Eighth Wonder awaits him in Alexandria. Her name is Bethesda.

Chapter 1
Prelude in Rome: The Dead Man Who Wasn’t

“Now that you’re dead, Antipater, what do you plan to do with your­self ?”

My father laughed at his own joke. He knew perfectly well what Antipater was planning to do, but he couldn’t resist a paradoxical turn of phrase. Puzzles were my father’s passion—and solving them his pro­fession. He called himself Finder, because men hired him to find the truth.

[Read the full excerpt of The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor]