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In ancient myth, the Egyptian god Horus came upon Venus engaged in one of her many love affairs. Cupid, her son, bribed Horus with a rose to keep quiet; thus the rose became the symbol of confidentiality, and a rose hanging over a council table indicated that all present were sworn to secrecy. Sub Rosa (“under the rose”) has come to mean “that which is done in secret.” Thus ROMA SUB ROSA: the secret history of Rome as seen through the eyes of Gordianus the Finder, a consorter with assassins and master of a clever half-Jewish housegirl, Bethesda, who, to his continued pique and delight, doesn’t know her place. Gordianus’s adventures will carry him throughout the ancient world and into contact with the heroes and scoundrels of early civilization.
For example, 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 patricide is Sextus’s son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining. And that’s just the first in this unique and acclaimed mystery series…