- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (May 13 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312359837
- ISBN-13: 978-0312359836
- Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 2.9 x 23.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 567 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #910,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome Hardcover – May 13 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. At the start of bestseller Saylor's stellar 10th novel in his Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder (after 2004's The Judgment of Caesar), 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. Author tour. (May)
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"May Steven Saylor’s Roman empire never fall! Writing in a spare, elegant style shorn of excess description, Saylor convincingly transports us into the ancient world..."
--USA Today on Roma
"Saylor puts such great detail and tumultuous life into his scenes that the sensation of rubbing elbows with the ancients is quite uncanny."
--The New York Times Book Review on A Murder on the Appian Way
"Saylor puts his finger on the very essence of Roman history."
--Times Literary Supplement (London) on Roma
“A vivid and robust writer, Saylor invests his books with exquisite detail and powerful drama.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer on A Mist of Prophecies
"Superb. From the exceptional attention to historical detail to the development of character and plot, which is based on real history, it's a treat to read."
--The Globe and Mail (Toronto) on The Judgment of Caesar
"Builds character and emotion on a foundation of history. At each stage fiction is used not to alter fact but to illuminate it, humanize it and bring it to life."
--Houston Chronicle on Roma
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Essentially, it's a series of Gordianus's interviews with a who's who of Rome in roughly 46 BC as he tries to track down the killer of a friend. There is no real sense of suspense or threat as he does so, nor is the reader given much of a reason to care about the outcome. The novel felt shorter and less complex than its predecessors, and the story's resolution seemed rather perfunctory. Gordianus - after several days of apparently going through the motions - finally figures out the mystery through a kind of deus ex machina moment, then we have our unspectacular showdown with the killer and ... that's about it. It's a shame, because this period of history is a gold mine for compelling stories.
The descriptions of life in late Republican Rome are vivid as always, and that's what saved the novel for me. It's nice to revisit well loved characters, but the overwhelming feeling I had while reading this is that the series - like Gordianus himself, who reluctantly comes out of "retirement" to investigate, at the request of Caesar's wife Calpurnia - is getting rather tired. What I did like was the depiction of his daughter Diana starting to show some resourcefulness and aptitude for detection, notwithstanding the societal restrictions upon a "young Roman matron" as her father disapprovingly puts it; I hope this is a set up for future novels where she will take on a more substantial role, perhaps along with Eco (who is only mentioned in passing in this novel). Maybe it is time for the kids to take over.
This one moves along at a deliberate pace. The historical backdrop in this particular novel is stronger than the detective story; I did not see the conclusion of this whodunit coming and I suspect that most other readers will not either. In fact, in a sense, neither did Gordianus. You'll see what I mean when you read this one.
My favorite aspect of this Gordianus the Finder novel, in common with several others of the series, is Gordianus' interactions with historical figures such as Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Cleopatra, and of course Caesar himself. Saylor has a gift for writing about Republican Rome, and this one is a fine read. I hope that this novel does not conclude the Gordianus the Finder series. I would like to see Gordianus deal with Caesar's assassination and the rise of Octavius Caesar. Surely we Saylor fans can look forward to that.
Highly recommended. RJB.