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Steven Saylor - Page 1
Steven Saylor
A Mist of PropheciesA Mist of Prophecies New25 Jul 02
Honour the DeadHonour the Dead Newpbk 22 Aug 02
Last Seen in MassiliaLast Seen in Massilia
The Venus ThrowThe Venus Throw
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About the Author (Photo (c) R.Solomon)

First British Edition Constable & Robinson (2002)
Buy at A Mist of Prophecies
A Mystery of Ancient Rome
Rome, 48 BC: As the forces of Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great wage a bloody civil war for supremacy in the far-flung reaches of the Empire, the city of Rome itself becomes a hotbed of intrigue, riven by espionage, greedy profiteering and bitter betrayals. One day as Gordianus the Finder is crossing the marketplace, a beautiful young seeress staggers towards him, and dies in his arms. Possibly insane, and with no memory of her past, Cassandra - like her Trojan namesake -had nevertheless been reputed to possess the true gift of prophecy. For such a gift there are many in Rome who would pay handsomely . . . or resort to murder. Cassandra had been the confidante of the rich and powerful, until she fell victim to a vicious killer.
Obsessed with Cassandra and her mystery, Gordianus begins to investigate the murder. As the citizens of Rome nervously await news of the war’s outcome and the political situation veers toward chaos, Gordianus gradually peels away the veils of secrecy that surrounded Cassandra’s life and death. What he uncovers has deadly implications, involving some of the most powerful women in Rome -and Gordianus’s pursuit of the truth not only endangers his own life, but could well affect the future of Rome itself.

Praise for Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa Series Featuring Gordianus the Finder
'Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthrals' Ruth Rendell, The Sunday Times
‘How wonderful to have a scholar write about Ancient Rome; how comforting to feel instant confidence in the historical accuracy of the novel’ The Sunday Times
‘Saylor’s gifts include authentic historical and topographical backgrounds and… sombre themes set off the brilliant scenery and clover plotting’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Readers will find his work wonderfully (and gracefully) researched… this is entertainment of the first order’ Washington Post
'Will delight readers in virtually every page. ... Saylor has acquired the information of a historian but he enjoys the gifts of a born novelist' Boston Globe

First British Edition Constable & Robinson (2001)
New Paperback - Constable & Robinson (2002)
Buy at Honour the Dead
The mystery of the Servent Girl Annihilator
The year is 1885 and a brutal killer is terrorising the streets of Austin, Texas. A young writer, Will Porter - later to become famous under the pseudonym O. Henry - dubs the murderer `The Servant Girl Annihilator.’
Panic engulfs the city as one black servant after another is brutally killed. The spectre of bigotry emerges when lawmen indict a black man, but as the bodies continue to mount it becomes apparent that the killer is still on the loose . . . And then a young white woman is found horribly murdered, seemingly by the same vicious stalker, and the resulting trial - uncovering one explosive scandal after another - threatens to tear the city of Austin apart.
Based on a real-life case of serial murder, Honour the Dead vividly evokes a fledgeling American south in the aftermath of the Civil War. Through the escalating mystery Saylor reveals some ugly truths behind the Southern traditions of good manners and decorum and about the colourful citizens of Austin - both real and imaginary - as long-buried secrets begin to circulate, hidden affairs are divulged and the city’s deep-seated political corruption is dramatically exposed.
In an exciting departure from his internationally popular series of Roman detective stories featuring Gordianus the Finder, Steven Saylor has once more created a gripping, historical thriller.

'A riveting mystery… fascinating and provocative' The New York Times
‘Saylor, a veteran of the historical novel… saves a cunning twist for the end’ Washington Post Book World
‘This captivating historical romance noir should be heralded a breakout for the seasoned author’ Publishers Weekly
'A convincing account of old-time, good-old-boy Southern corruption and bigotry' Spectator
'Saylor shows how a society that has been founded on inequality and injustice can be a perfect hunting ground for the deranged' Times Literary Supplement

Paperback - Constable & Robinson (2001)
First British Edition Constable & Robinson (2000)
Buy at Last Seen in Massilia
See Review by Phyllis Davis
As civil war between Caesar and Pompey engulfs the Roman world, Gordianus the Finder receives an anonymous message informing him of the death of his son Meto who has been acting as a double agent for Caesar. The search for Meto's fate brings Gordianus to the besieged seaport of Massilia, which is stubbornly holding out against Caesar's troops.
As famine and slaughter threaten the blockaded city, Gordianus is drawn into the intrigues of exiled Romans and duplicitous Massilians. His only friend in the city, Hieronymous, has been made the doomed scapegoat elected by city officials to bear the sins of the populace and save them all from annihilation. Meanwhile, Gordianus is constantly frustrated in his efforts to find out what happened to his son - and when he witnesses the fall of a young woman from a precipice outside the city called the Sacrifice Rock, then the plot begins to thicken...

‘Wonderfully clever… the sensation of rubbing elbows with the ancients is quite uncanny’ New York Times
First British Edition Robinson (1999)
Sixth in the acclaimed series featuring Gordianus the Finder.
From the critically acclaimed, best-selling novelist Steven Saylor comes a story of murder and duplicity during the Roman Civil War.
Caesar and his troops have crossed the Rubicon and are marching on Rome. Pompey, his rival, is preparing to flee south with his loyal troops, leaving the city unguarded and ungoverned. Before Pompey leaves Rome, however, his cousin and protégé, Numerius, is found dead, garrotted in the garden of Gordianus the Finder. Enraged, Pompey demands that Gordianus discover and name the killer, taking Gordianus's son-in-law Davus hostage.
With one son a trusted aide of Caesar and his son-in-law held by Pompey, Gordianus faces a personal predicament: he must learn the secrets of the dead man and reveal the killer to protect his own family from being crushed by the opposing forces that will forever change the Roman world.

"Gripping historical thrillers... Saylor's understanding of the rich complexity of Roman life has a universal appeal" San Francisco Chronicle
'The Saylor hallmarks are… meticulous re-creation of Rome's grimy, bustling streets… and a brilliantly drawn cast of minor characters.' The Sunday Times
'A compelling (and sometimes very funny) storyteller, with a striking talent for historical reconstruction' Times Literary Supplement

British Pbk Original - Robinson (1999)
The Venus Throw
On a cold January evening in 50BC, two strangers enter Rome - one as Egyptian ambassador and the other a eunuch priest. Both are seeking Gordianus the Finder, who has a reputation for solving murders. But the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, asks for something that Gordianus cannot give - help in staying alive. Before the night is out, Dio is brutally assassinated.
Now Gordianus begins the most dangerous case of his career. Hired to investigate Dio's murder by a beautiful woman with a scandalous reputation, he will follow a trail of intrigue into the highest circles of political power and the city's secret arenas of debauchery. There Gordianus will learn that nothing is as it seems - not the damning evidence he uncovers not the suspect he sends to trial, not even the real truth behind Dio's death which also lies shrouded in secrets - though not of the state, but of the heart.

'Really excellent… an enthralling recreation of its time and place - a fascinating piece of storytelling' Derek Jacobi
'A deadly game of betrayals, seduction and murder' The Poisoned Pen
'Finely etched historical background… the finest flower yet of Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series' Kirkus Reviews
More Praise for Steven Saylor
'an excellent series. Gordianus the Finder is an ideal guide to ancient Rome and Steven Saylor is in the top flight of historical crime writers' Edward Marston
'The remarkably vivid and finely etched historical background at once roots the characters firmly in their time and brings them alive for our own' Kirkus Reviews
'Readers will escape with pleasure into this lush, meticulously portrayed world of Ancient Rome. A rich, enriching series' Christian Science Moniter
'Sweeping and marvellously evocative...with page and page of authentic detail and meticulous descriptions of the people, places and politics of Ancient Rome' Booklist
'Saylor who writes mysteries set in ancient Rome, rivals Robert Graves in his knack for making the classical world come alive. The puzzle is subtle, the characters vivid, the writing sublime - proof that the mystery novel can be a work of art' Vince Kohler, The Oregonian
'Latin may be a dead language, but in Steven Saylor's lively imagination, Rome - both glorious and grimy - is revived' The Seattle Times
'The suspense never lags as Saylor spins a sophisticated political thriller that also brings his readers up to speed on their Roman history' Publishers Weekly

About The Author
Steven Saylor was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied history and classics. He moved to San Francisco and was a newspaper editor (the San Francisco Sentinel), literary agent (most notably of Lars Eighner's memoir of homelessness Travels With Lizbeth) and autobiographical essayist (in the late John Preston's anthologies Hometowns, A Member of the Family and Friends and Lovers), before turning to writing his historical crime novels. He now lives in quiet seclusion in the college town of Berkeley, California where he can often be found doing research in the stacks of the University of California libraries unravelling 2,000 year old crimes of politics and passion.
Steven Saylor is the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical crime novels seven to date and more planned) set in Ancient Rome during the age of Julius Caesar and featuring the sleuth Gordianus the Finder.
Reviewers and readers alike have hailed Steven Saylor's gift for bringing the past to life and he has a steadily growing legion of loyal fans who devour each new book.
Why Ancient Rome for a setting? Firstly, Saylor has been fascinated by Ancient Rome since childhood but he also claims that "the final years of the Roman Republic offer a treasure trove of all the stuff that makes for a good read. There's political intrigue, courtroom drama, sexual scandal, extremes of splendour and squalor and no shortage of real life murder mysteries. Through it all, Gordianus has somehow managed not just to keep his head above water, but to raise a most unconventional family and always, eventually, to get to the truth of whatever puzzle he is investigating, no matter how great the danger or disturbing the revelation".
Each novel is impeccably researched and is epic in scope, rich in historical detail and provides a vivid depiction of political and social life in Ancient Rome. Each book takes as its starting point a story from Cicero's Orations. "The inclusion of a mystery plot at the center of each novel has posed no problem, as the historical sources offer no shortage of stabbings, poisonings, murder trails and other assorted mayhem. However I have also sought to build each book around a highly significant historical event, with an implicit theme large enough to support a full scale historical novel"
As such Roman Blood features Sulla's dictatorship and the debut of the lawyer Cicero, Arms of Nemesis features the slave revolt of Spartacus and A Murder On The Appian Way examines the murder of Clodius and the trial of Milo which precipitated the civil war between Pompey and Caesar and the ultimate demise of the Roman Republic.
Steven Saylor has also written short stories and essays for the San Francisco Review of Books, The Threepenny Review and Ellery Queen Mystery Series and many of his short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. He is also the author seven volumes of erotic fiction under the penname Aaron Travis.


N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.

  • A Mist of Prophecies (Constable & Robinson, 2002)
  • Honour the Dead (Constable & Robinson, 2001) New Constable & Robinson Pbk Aug 02
  • Last Seen in Massilia (Constable & Robinson, 2000) Constable & Robinson Pbk Sep 01
  • Rubicon (Robinson, 1999) ( Gordianus the Finder)
  • The Venus Throw (Robinson Pbk, 1999)
  • Catilina's Riddle (Robinson Pbk, 1998)
  • Roman Blood (Robinson Pbk, 1997) ( Gordianus the Finder)
  • Arms of Nemesis (Robinson Pbk, 1997) ( Gordianus the Finder)
  • A Murder On The Appian Way (Robinson, 1997) Robinson Pbk 1998 ( Gordianus the Finder)
  • The House of the Vestals ( Gordianus the Finder)

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