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Authors: Steven Saylor

Murder on the Appian Way

BOOK: Murder on the Appian Way
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Murder on the Appian Way
Steven Saylor
Roma Sub Rosa [5]
Historical Mystery, Ancient, Rome
Historical Mysteryttt Ancientttt Romettt

Torchlight flickers on the elegant marble walls. The sound of a mob echoes in the street. The year is 52 B.C. and the naked body of Publius Clodius is about to be carried through the teaming streets of Rome. Clodius, a rich man turned rabble-rouser, was slain on the most splendid road in the world, the Appian Way. Now Clodius's rival, Milo, is being targeted for revenge and the city teeters on the verge of chaos. An explosive trial will feature the best oration of Cicero and Marc Antony, while Gordianus the Finder has been charged by Pompey the Great himself to look further into the murder. With the Senate House already in ashes, and his own life very much in danger, Gordianus must return to a desrted stretch of the Appian Way - to find the truth that can save a city drunk on power, rent by fear, and filled with the madness and glory of Rome. Steven Saylor is the author of the long running series featuring Gordianus the Finder as well as the New York Times bestselling novel, Roma. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel. He divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas. In 52 B.C., Publius Clodius, a Roman patrician turned rabble-rouser, is slain on the most splendid road in the world, the Appian Way. When Clodius's arch rival, Milo, is accused of the crime, the city teeters on the verge of chaos. As Cicero and Marc Antony prepare their orations for the explosive trial to come, Gordianus the Finder is charged by Pompey the Great to take a closer look at the murder. With the Senate House in ashes, and his own life very much in danger, Gordianus must return to a deserted stretch of the Appian Way in search of the truth—a truth that may save, or destroy, a city drunk on power, rent by fear, and filled with the madness and glory that is Rome. "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 "Saylor is skilled at spinning a tale out of unlikely historical sources . . . literate, humane, and dramatic."—The Boston Globe "In Steven Saylor's lively imagination, Rome—both glorious and grimy—is revived."—Seattle Times "Really excellent . . . an enthralling re-creation of time and place, fascinating storytelling."—Sir Derek Jacobi"As always, Saylor sketches the real-life historical background with a masterly hand."—Kirkus Reviews"Saylor meticulously resurrects ancient Rome, providing another irresistible installment in the continuing chronicles of Gordianus the Finder. . . . Gripping suspense and intrigue superbly supported by a wealth of accurate historical detail."—Booklist"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

More praise for Steven Saylor

"This [is a] wonderfully clever series.'
New York Times Book Review

'Saylor's sense of style and elegantly witty writing make the most of this genre transference'
The Boston Guide

‘What Steven Saylor brings to his work are a profound knowledge

of the history and culture of ancient Rome and a gift of storytelling only exhibited by those few who are born with it. His work can be enjoyed by all mystery readers regardless of whether they prefer cosies or hard-boiled crime fiction.'
Deadly Pleasures

'Among the best historical series ... and the best to use an Ancient Roman background.'
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

'Part of the attraction ... comes from watching lofty figures in history, tragedy and Latin behaving as nobly and sordidly as real people in daily life ... And Saylor is not the dry-as-dust type; he offers us sex, violence, duplicity and a worldly acceptance of the varieties of human behaviour — there's an unpretentious lightness of touch in everything.'
Boston Globe

'You read Saylor because of the skill with which he brings an ancient world to life.'
Lambda Book Report

'I can't say enough good things about Savior's style, his scholarship, or his mastery of his period.'
The Poisoned Pen

Praise for
Roman Blood

'Gordianus the Finder is a Roman private investigator, something like Sherlock Holmes and something like the hardboiled American PI... [He] visits all strata of Roman life and gives a vivid picture of ancient society to go with the complex puzzle ... This is a remarkable achievement.'
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

'A story greatly enhanced by its vivid characters ... A classic historical mystery, in every sense.'
Publisher's Weekly .

'A combination of Hitchcock-style suspense and vivid historical

details make Stephen Savior's
Roman Blood
one of the most gripping — and also informative — mysteries to have appeared in quite some time.'
Post-Gazette, PA

'A brilliant example of Savior's mastery of his material... triple sensitivities of style, place and plot that readers will not fail to appreciate for themselves.'
Lambda Book Review

'An exciting trip through the history and politics of Rome.'
Deadly Pleasures

'Saylor skilfully strings together the multiple threads of the plot to reveal dirty dealings of murder, greed, incest, deceit, corruption, and vices galore. A well thought out and finery tuned mystery novel.'
The Community Voice

"This engrossing historical novel... contains all the elements that make an entertaining mystery and also provides a view of life in Ancient Rome. Highly recommended.'

'Genuine mystery and detection ... with two handsome surprises saved for last.'
Kirkus Reviews

'Roman Blood
has the elements that make a good old-fashioned detective story great - dangerous thugs, powerful villains and a brooding, noir ambience ... The plot is tightly woven and Saylor threads history deftly throughout the novel... The action is fast paced and at times thrilling ... There are enough surprises along the way to satisfy even the most accomplished mystery reader, and the difficult setting is ultimately pulled off with convincing flair. The conclusion is especially satisfying and chilling.'
Daily Texan

'A witty, meticulous re-creation of Cicero's Rome as well as a deft and clever mystery.'
The Boston Guide

Praise for
Arms of Nemesis

'A compulsively entertaining whodunnit.'
New York Times Book Review

'A most intriguing mystery ... highly researched and authentic historical background ... characters all of whom are realistic flesh-and-blood people.'
The Southbridge Ma. News

'Steven Saylor impeccably recreates life in Imperial Rome ... an intriguing mix of historical accuracy and tense drama. Gordianus proves a beguiling if arrogant hero.'
St. Louis Post Dispatch

'Saylor manages to be both entertaining and exact in his depictions of Roman life and customs. He is also a deft writer of characters and
Arms of Nemesis
is filled with eccentric and engaging suspects ... a surprising and suspenseful mystery.'
First Hand

'Saylor interweaves history and suspense into another seamless thriller ... A marvellously authentic slice of antiquity that will serve as a savoury treat for fans of both mystery and historical



'Fine mystery, great history, this novel is crammed with vivid details of patrician and slave life. After reading the below-decks description of a trireme you'll thank your lucky stars you're not a

galley slave.'

'Sensuously written ... Richly detailed bacchanalian feasts and mesmerizing visits to the Sybil at Cumae lead to the spellbinding

Publisher's Weekly

Offbeat and intriguing reading.'
San Francisco Chronicle

'Arms of Nemesis
has a well-researched, authentic feel, captivating descriptions of Roman customs and mythologies, and interesting characters, enlivened from the pages of history.'
San Francisco Sentinel

'A top-notch murder mystery ... There is enough excitement... enough love ... enough blood ... enough pathos ... And yet the end is satisfying.'
The Community Voice

'Steven Saylor's amusing murder mystery
[Arms of Nemesis]
has a veritable bouillabaisse of suspects.'
Anniston Star

Praise for
Catilina's Riddle

'Engrossing. . . ironic and satisfying. . . Saylor's understanding of the rich complexity of Roman life has a universal ring.'
San Francisco Chronicle

There's no doubt that history buffs will savor the splendid historical detail.'

'Accurately depicts Roman society . . . characters are believable and well-delineated .. . this is recommended . . .'
Library Journal

'A spacious, provocative portrait. . .'
Kirkus Reviews

'Saylor is as much historian as he is weaver of suspense ... a rich, enriching series.'
Christian Science Monitor

Catilina's Riddle
the ageing of the main character parallels the maturing of Saylor's talent as a novelist. The plot is richer and more dramatic; the stakes are higher, and the situation in Rome itself more desperate.'
San Francisco Review of Books

'Saylor knows his material well enough to make the ancient world come vividly alive.'
The Anniston Star

'Ancient Rome springs to life, along with a
pater familias
sleuth both endearing and admirable — and no professional slouch.'
The Poisoned Pen

Praise for
A Murder on the Appian Way

'How wonderful to have a scholar write about Ancient Rome; how comforting to feel instant confidence in the historical accuracy of a novel. With effortless grace, Steven Savior's
A Murder on the Appian Way
puts the reader immediately at home in this distant world.'
The Sunday Times

'A fine series ...
[Murder on the Appian Way]
is a richly detailed, fast-paced tale.'
Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

'Wonderfully (and gracefully) researched ... This is entertainment of the first order.'
Lambda Book Report

'As always, Saylor sketches the real-life historical background with a masterly hand.'
Kirkus Reviews

'The suspense never lags as Saylor spins a sophisticated political thriller that also brings readers up to speed on Roman history.'
Publisher's Weekly

'Mr Saylor puts such great detail and tumultuous life into his scenes that the sensation of rubbing elbows with the ancients is quite uncanny.'
New York Times Book Review


Steven Saylor

Robinson LONDON

A Mystery of Ancient Rome

Constable & Robinson Ltd

3 The Lanchesters 162 Fulham Palace Road London W6 9ER

First published in the UK by Robinson Publishing Ltd 1997

This paperback edition first published in the UK 1998 Reprinted 1998,2000

First published in the USA by St Martins Press 1996

Copyright © Steven Saylor 1996 1997 Map copyright © Steven Saylor

The authors moral right has been asserted.

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, * hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in Publication data is available from the British Library

ISBN 1-85487-927-3 (hb) ISBN 1-85487-891-3 (pb)

Printed in the EC

Men were eager to win office and even employed bribery and assassination to do so, but such was the state of affairs in the city that elections could not be held. With no one in charge, murders occurred practically every day.

Dio Cassius,
Roman History,
xl, 48

The Appian Way, which was made by Appius Claudius Caecus and honours his name, extends from Rome to Capua, a journey of five days. Its breadth is such that two wagons going in opposite directions can easily pass one another. This road is one of the noteworthy sights of the world, for the stones are so finely cut, levelled and fitted together, without mortar of any sort, that the unbroken surface appears to be not a work of man, but a wondrous phenomenon of nature.

BOOK: Murder on the Appian Way
4.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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