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The House of the Vestals: The Investigations of Gordianus the Finder Mass Market Paperback – Aug 15 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (Aug. 15 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312964528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312964528
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.6 x 16.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #521,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben on Jan. 14 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a fantastic book in a very good series. But why is the kindle price 300% of what the new paperback price is? Until it is equal or less than that price, I won't buy it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Saylor's book is a collection of short stories the outline the personal history of Gordianus through some of his cases. The perfect light reading before bed; not too much excitement and little suspense.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've loved Steven W. Saylor's work even before he published under this name and his Gordianus series is better by far. This is actually a collection of 9 short stories, all of which were previously published in mystery magazines. All of the stories are good solid character pieces with mysterious happenings and detective work that makes sense for the time period involved (90-73 BCE). Several of the stories are told as stories by one character to another though several are also the ongoing investigations of the finder himself. Historians may cringe a bit but frankly, in this ancient historian's opinion, Saylor's series is about the best I have ever read particularly his portrayal of slavery, a human institution often misunderstood and misrepresented by modern Americans.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The House Of The Vestals is very enjoyable collage of ancient Roman mystery stories loosely based on either real history or ancient folklore. And somehow Saylor's irrepressable private eye, Gordianus, winds up being a bit like Forrest Gump - he always finds himself in the middle of this historic events. All the stories are rather trifling and forgettable, but somehow very readable and enjoyable. Saylor has a very light and breezy style to his prose. And unlike his other Gordianus novels, this collection of short stories does not get bogged down with explanations of Roman history ... and so even folks who might have found Saylor's other works to be a bit dry will like The House Of The Vestals.
Bottom line: perfectly enjoyable Roman fluff. Recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A worthy contribution to the historical mystery genre (if such a classification exists), "The House of the Vestals" exhibits both the detective skills of Gordianus the Finder and the remarkable writing ability of his creator to telling effect.
As Saylor himself points out in the foreword, some of his readers may have found themselves wondering what happened to the Roman sleuth between the years 80 BC (the setting of his first novel, "Roman Blood") and 72 BC (the year of the Spartacan slave revolt, as described in the sequel "Arms of Nemesis"). "The House of the Vestals" provides the answer, filling in the eight-year gap with nine intriguing short cases that test Gordianus' wits and leave the reader yearning for more.
Four of the stories are based, in varying degrees, on real events (in accordance with Saylor's acknowledged writing style) while the rest dwell on aspects of Roman life that have come down from us through the ancient sources. "The House of the Vestals" -- the closing story from which the entire anthology derives its name -- is by far the most faithful to history, inspired by the allegations of unchastity levelled against two Vestal Virgins and their alleged paramours by the demagogue Publius Clodius in 73 BC. Some of the characters in this and the stories preceding it have featured in Saylor's other novels, ensuring that this "flashback" addition to an otherwise chronologically released series maintains full relevance all throughout Roma Sub Rosa and throwing in a bit of irony as to the eventual fate of recurrent figures.
True enough, the stories included in the anthology are far too short for those (myself included) who may have gotten used to long-winded plots and vast settings in Saylor's other works.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This collection of short stories about Gordianus the Finder, the Philip Marlow of the Roman Empire, shows how a fine hand at historical research can enliven the most traditional and well-tilled of genres.
Because these tales of murder, fraud and revenge would sound familiar to those who have read enough short stories, but Saylor has recast these stories with personalities, attitudes and customs that are foreign to us, and read much fresher than they would otherwise. Take for instance there's the story of the wealthy man's son who attempts to emulate Julius Caesar's arrogant behavior when he was captured by pirates. Gordianus is hired to deliver the ransom. It is easy to tell who instigated the kidnaping and why, but the story still compels us follow the thread to the end.
It helps that Gordianus is a compelling character, a man who makes a living investigating the dark side of the Roman Republic, when Julius Caesar was still a politician aspiring to become a divine dictator. He is aided sometimes by Bethesda, his Egyptian slave who sometimes acts more like his wife. Even his mute adopted son, Eco, plays a crucial role in the story of the actor murdered backstage during a performance.
The Roman era has been well-served by writers such as Saylor and Lindsay Davis. For those interested in the era who haven't made Gordianus' acquaintance, this book offers an ideal introduction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't get enough of Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder, and this marvelous collection of short stories was like opening a box of Godiva chocolates - each one is delicious! I have read nearly all of the Roma Sub Rosa series featuring the wonderfully human, intelligent, and dedicated Gordianus, and come to think of him almost as an extended family member. For other Gordianus-aholics, this collection of stories nicely fills in the gaps left in the longer novels - finally we find out all about the night Catilina raped a Vestal...or did he? We hear Gordianus' sexy, sassy slave (now wife) tell tales of her native Alexandria, and we learn all about Lucius. But the best part of this collection is you need no previous experience with Gordianus to have a rollicking good time. As Gordianus winds through the streets of ancient Rome, exposing frauds, murderers, and thieves, you will be caught up in the spell Saylor's crisp writing always weaves. Warning: clear some shelf space. Once you're hooked on Gordianus, you'll want to read them all.
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