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A Gladiator Dies Only Once [Format Kindle]

Steven Saylor

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From Publishers Weekly

As in The House of the Vestals (1997), Saylor's previous collection featuring Gordianus the Finder, these nine carefully researched stories cover the early phase of the ancient Roman sleuth's career, affording fans the chance to witness the growth of some important personal and political relationships, including Gordianus's connection with the legendary orator Cicero. Though Saylor's novels in this acclaimed series allow him more scope to describe settings and develop his secret Roman history, he still manages, especially in the book's highlights, "The Cherries of Lucullus" and "The White Fawn," to suspend disbelief and make all his characters feel real. Some story mysteries prove to have a noncriminal resolution, but the twisty fair-play plotting that marks Saylor's best novels (Catilina's Riddle; A Murder on the Appian Way; etc.) is very much in evidence, especially in "Archimedes's Tomb" and "Death by Eros." A partial chronology and historical notes round out this excellent volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


*Starred Review* Gordianus the Finder, one of several toga-clad sleuths in the mystery genre, operates by way of giving advice to the likes of consuls and senators in the final decades of the Roman Republic. Gordianus has picked apart political intrigues, murders, and money scams against a rich background of ancient Rome, including the Spartacus slave revolt, the siege of Massilia, and the love triangle of Caesar, Antony, and Cleopatra. All this action has taken place in the eight novels of the Roma Sub Rosa series and in a single collection of short stories. This is the second collection of stories, containing nine gems from Gordianus' early career. The nine stories all present intriguing puzzles, but, more impressive, they shine a revealing light on daily life in ancient Rome (e.g., the Romans' love of a fish-pickle paste called garnum, how they bet at chariot races, and how they use handkerchiefs to signal that a gladiator should live). In "The Consul's Wife," an item in the society section of the Daily Acts, the Roman newspaper, leaves Decimus Brutus convinced he is about to be murdered at the Circus Maximus. In "Something Fishy in Pompeii," Gordianus investigates the theft of his client's famed garnum recipe from a neighboring manufactory on the slopes of Etna. The title story centers on an excruciatingly vivid depiction of three gladiatorial contests that Gordianus attends with a squeamish Cicero following a funeral outside Rome. The stories are admirably varied--some are extensive mysteries; others offer short, sharp slices of life. All are marvelous reads in themselves and marvelous reflections of ancient Rome. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 718 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 353 pages
  • Editeur : C & R Crime; Édition : Re-issue (15 septembre 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007H909ZS
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°508.468 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  47 commentaires
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Top Notch Historical Mystery Fiction 28 juin 2005
Par Bruce Trinque - Publié sur Amazon.com
I am definitely a fan of Steven Saylor's "Gordianus the Finder" tales, set in the First Century BCE, during the last decades of the Roman Republic. The present volume is a collection of short stories set fairly early in Goridanus's career, some decades before the more recent novels in the series. But like the novels, these short stories are filled with strong, memorable characters and genuine historial incident.

I rate Saylor as quite probably the best "historical mystery" working today; his books always provide new insights into Ancient Roman life and society. The stories in this volume wwuld be a good introduction to the more complex and subtle novels in Saylor's "Roma Sub Rosa" series, enjoyable in themselves but also illuminating the characters inhabiting the novels.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A gem of a collection 15 juillet 2005
Par ilmk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Saylor's second release of Gordianus short stories are as delightful as those in the `House of Vestals'. In chronological order he opens with The Consul's wife, a quick story of newspaper cryptic messages and a paranoid consul with a beautiful and independent young wife who's not adverse to backing a quick sesterce at the races. Swiftly narrated and demonstrative of Gordianus' quick eye and intelligent lateral thinking our super sleuth solves this case carelessly in a matter of hours and takes his fee. The second `If a Cyclops Could Vanish in the Blink of an Eye' is the shortest of the nine and is Bethseda's only real mention during this feline crime. `The White Fawn' has Gordianus scampering west to Spain to meet up with the renegade general Sertorius in order to chase down Mamercus Claudius, a hot-headed youth who has joined up with him against his grandfather's wishes. Gordianus gets dragged into a search for a white fawn that is acting as Sertorius' soothsayer. This story has a darker ending with our first murder of an innocent.

`Something Fishy in Pompeii' appeals to our palatable readers with its focus on industrial espionage over a missing batch of finest garum whilst `Archimedes Tomb' neatly combines the pomposity of Cicero in Syracuse with the infamous `Eureka' and the bath. Here, Gordianus is called upon to solve another murder after a Trimalchio-esque dinner between the merchant men Agathinus and Dorotheus with their pet poet, Margero. Here we find a reference to Tiro and Eco is also along for the ride.

`Death by Eros' deals with unrequited love in a gymnasium as the overly beautiful Cleon is found at the bottom of the pool and his sister Cleio and tutor Mulciber are dragged in. In what I feel is the best story of the lot, `A Gladiator Dies Only Once' Gordianus sits through a munera with Cicero, witnessing the brutality of gladiatorial combat, and is then by recruited by the Nubian, Zuleika, who is searching for her brother Zanzibar whose death isn't quite what it seems. In `Poppy and the poisoned cake' we find Lucius Gellius Poplicola, a somewhat stuffy censor, allowing Gordianus to rapidly solve the mystery of his cyanide cake with his wife Palla, and son Lucius but finds himself a pawn in a greater political game which echoes many of the fuller novels. We conclude with a visit to the oppulent table of Lucullus and his cherries for a mystery that skips murder entirely and offers Syalor's own conclusion to Lucullus' fading from history.

This is a delightful set of small additions to the Sub Rosa series and serve well to fill in the gaps of the thirty odd years that we have followed our Finder. I sincerely hope more Gordianus come from the pen of Saylor but this may mean he has to move away from creating mysteries based on histroical events as those events are fast running out, though having Gordianus involved in the most famous murder of all in 44B.C must surely lure Saylor's pen.

If you're an ancient history murder mystery fan then Saylor's one of the best. Buy it.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 fine anthology 25 mai 2005
Par Harriet Klausner - Publié sur Amazon.com
These nine tales all written in the past decade take place in Ancient Rome in the middle of the first century BC and star Gordianus the finder whose clients provides him with plenty of work (payment is a different story). The cases vary and those "hiring" Gordianus are as wild a group as any detective (make that a finder) might imagine working for. The stories are fun mostly because they provide a deep look at Ancient Rome and the eccentricity of the support characters. Gordianus is his usual witty self, matching and trumping opponents with his intelligence and humor especially the asides. Though not quite as strong as the novels (see THE JUDGMENT OF CAESAR), readers will find each contribution is well written and fun to read.

Harriet Klausner
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Slices of Roman Life 15 juillet 2006
Par W. Josephson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
As others have noted, the mystery is not of prime importance when reading a Gordianus short story. Example: just judging from its title, what sort of complicated secret do you expect to be hidden in a story called "A Gladiator Dies Only Once"? Rather, as with Saylor's other Gordianus short story collection, the glimpses of everyday life in the Roman Empire circa 80 BC are what make for good reading.

This is the first Gordianus work that I have read out of chronological sequence (I read the Roma Sub Rosa novels in order & read the House of Vestals collection in between the 1st & 2nd novels) and my enjoyment of it was slightly lessened by my knowledge of what will eventually happen to the recurring characters. Those less anal-retentive than I shouldn't run into any problems by reading this collection at any time.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Books with Gordianus in them are Always a Good Read 24 juin 2006
Par J. Chippindale - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is a compilation of nine mysteries involving that likeable sleuth Gordianus the Finder. They are all new stories and anyone who is a fan of Saylor will certainly want to add this book to their collection.

Steven Saylor is right up there with a number of excellent authors who use the backdrop of Ancient Rome as a canvas for their literary works. It is a period of history that holds a particular magic for me, so basically I cannot get enough of them, excellent, good or mediocre. I would certainly put Saylor's books in the excellent category and although in the main not a great lover of short stories, in this case I am more than happy to make an exception.
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