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A Murder on the Appian Way: A Mystery of Ancient Rome | [Steven Saylor]

A Murder on the Appian Way: A Mystery of Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome has been in a state of turmoil as the rival gangs of Publius Clodius, a high-born, populist politician, and his arch-enemy, Titus Milo, have fought to control the consular elections. When Clodius is murdered on the famed Appian Way and Milo is accused of the crime, the city explodes with riots and arson, and even the near sacrosanct Senate House is burned to the ground.
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Publisher's Summary

Ancient Rome has been in a state of turmoil as the rival gangs of Publius Clodius, a high-born, populist politician, and his arch-enemy, Titus Milo, have fought to control the consular elections. When Clodius is murdered on the famed Appian Way and Milo is accused of the crime, the city explodes with riots and arson, and even the near sacrosanct Senate House is burned to the ground.

As accusations and rumors fly, Gordianus the Finder, whose famed investigative skills and integrity make him sought after by all sides in the escalating conflict, is charged by Pompey the Great with discovering what really happened. Who is really responsible for Clodius' death? And should his murderer be despised as a villain or hailed as a savior of the Republic?

©1996 Steven Saylor; (P)1996 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"In Steven Saylor's lively imagination, Rome - both glorious and grimy - is revived." (Seattle Times)
"The plotting is deft and the action - both physical and intellectual - is nonstop." (Amazon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (49 )
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  •  
    Elton D Graff Albuquerque 08-30-09
    Elton D Graff Albuquerque 08-30-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "the WORST cold read EVER!!!!"

    I am a major Steven Saylor fan. Love the work. You can not imagine my disappointment upon hearing the DRY, Cold read by Scott Harrison. He pauses between every sentance as if figuring out the next words. Fraught with misspronounced words, and half assed characterizations, I just could NOT listen any more. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward G. Mitchell Richmond, VT USA 07-10-09
    Edward G. Mitchell Richmond, VT USA 07-10-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Great book, bad reader"

    I love Steven Saylor's books, I have read them all. So I was delighted to see this audio book in the Audible collection.

    Unfortunately, I didn't check out the reader before purchasing the audiobook. The thought didn't even cross my mind as I am so use to having good readers on Audible.

    The reader has a boring voice completely lacking any depth. He is unable to create different characters so I am constantly in doubt as to who is talking. Finally, his delivery is mechanical without any of the suspense or mystery that a good reader can offer.

    My advice is to check out the audio sample for yourself. As for myself, I will stick with the actual books until a new reader comes through.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith A. Weller LaVale, MD United States 07-18-09
    Judith A. Weller LaVale, MD United States 07-18-09 Member Since 2008

    jw1917

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    "Great Story - Terrible Narrator"

    I would have given this a 5 but for the narrator, Scott Harrison. He simply is one of the worst readers I have ever encountered. He not only tends to read with little expression, but he often mispronounces words which is very annoying. The fascinating story is a great look at Rome on the eve of the coming of Julius Caesar. It gives an excellent view of Roman Society and customs as well as providing an excellent mystery -- although the mystery portions are really seconday to the narrative of civil disorder in Rome.

    The narrator fails on some many accounts. Not only is he basically a monotone, but he unable to make the characters come alive with his voice. His female characters all sound as if they were hoarse. It is too bad that this will never be redone as it an excellent book. I am sorry that Scott Harrison is the narrator in so many of the Saylor Roman Mysteries.

    If you can ignore the reader, as I did, this book is still worth it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thomas MORRISVILLE, PA, United States 01-30-13
    thomas MORRISVILLE, PA, United States 01-30-13
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    "An older actor with a little gravitas is needed."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Actually, it was for me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Murder on the Appian Way?

    The beginning.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He sounded like a San Francisco bistro waiter. But seriously, Novels set in Rome are inherently alien. I think British actors are best at this as they impart enough separateness while being understandable. We are all now used to hearing Romans portrayed as British via I Claudius, etc. that it is oddly more natural.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Murder on the Appian Way?

    None that I can remember.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 11-02-12
    Lori ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 11-02-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Painful to listen to."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator- I've read cookbooks he could read.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Its was painful. His narrating sucked. "See Jane. See Jane run. Run Jane run. " That is how this entire book feels.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Very disappointed. This is the only Steven Saylor book I have listened to but it was so difficult to make it through because of the narrating I don't think I will get another.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert HEBRON, KENTUCKY, United States 04-23-14
    Robert HEBRON, KENTUCKY, United States 04-23-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction

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    "Narration is maddeningly amateur"

    I had started reading this book and got busy with other things so I thought I'd give the audio a try. Not sure I can make it through though. This narrator is worse than a synthetic voice. Mispronunciations, wooden, no characterization, akin to listening to a first grader struggle through. Maddening, absolutely maddening. I should have paid attention to the other reviewers. If there were a 0 star option for performance this would get it. Hope the gentleman hasn't quit his day job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela San Diego, CA, United States 08-23-13
    Pamela San Diego, CA, United States 08-23-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Love the series but hate this narrator"

    I've read or listened to every book in the series up to this point and love the narration by Ralph Cosham. This narrator, Scott Harrison, is so bad that I quit listening and got the written version instead. He is way too shrill, making Gordianus sound angry and harsh most of the time. He mispronounces Grodianus (says "Gordi- Anus" instead of "Gordiahnus") and generally is impossible to listen to. Stick with the Cosham readings, you will have a much better experience. The stories are wonderful and the history blended in seamlessly. It's really too bad that this narrator mars the experience so badly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenda Redding., CA, United States 09-01-11
    Glenda Redding., CA, United States 09-01-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Have some fun!"

    "Gordianus the Finder Series" is a blast. If you want to put a smile on your face and step out of your worries, buy this series. It's better than medications. I wish they had all the series. Start with the first book and enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron San Diego, CA, United States 10-15-11
    Aaron San Diego, CA, United States 10-15-11
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    "Overall Fun but deeply flawed"

    This was a fun little book about Rome. If you are a Rome fanatic, you will love this book.

    Not much of a mystery, but then, if you know anything about Rome, the murder on the Appian Way was not a mystery.

    I liked the surprising characters who where in this very character driven story. Tiro, for instance, very different from his characterization in Imperium or Lustrum.

    I really didn't like the characterization of Cicero as a vain pawn of Pompey and Caesar. And, the characterization of Caesar as such a hero was simply shocking. Caesar was no hero anymore than Sulla was...he just wasn't as blatantly bloodthirsty to his opponents. But then, Caesar for me will always be as he was in Rome...on HBO.

    And, well, I just can't do Rome with an American accent! I know...it sounds awful, and many Americans are wonderful people. Hell, I'm NOT married to one. :) But, I was once, which is why I am a freed slave, I suppose.

    But, they just sound so...well...not Roman. And, I know that sounds stupid...Latin sounds more like Spanish or Portuguese (both that I speak) than the British and Irish accents that I love for all Ancient World audiobooks.

    It is just such a Midwestern accent is just, well, not Roman in my mind! I'm as American as Tiro, I suppose...but I don't wear my toga as a freedman with much pride.

    But, still...a fun ride...well researched and interesting. He got so many details so well. I still suggest Imperium and Lustrum by Robert Harris for the best Roman novels. He celebrates Cicero while seeing his flaws, like Tiro did in this book. And, of course, a noble Plebeian like Gorgianius would never have married an Egyptian slave or adopted slaves and freed them, and probably would have killed his slave and possibly his daughter for her getting pregnant. I'm just saying. Maybe a low-born pleb who did not live near Cicero would have done that.

    I'm glad he saw that Clodius and Milo were both horrible people but Cicero would never have locked up someone like that. As for Clodia...she really came alive and her grief for her horrible brother was genuine. But, what about Milo being a little more sympathetic?

    Pompey was shallow and the whole "great one" really annoyed me. He would have called him "Emperado" or "General" or maybe "Counsel"

    At least he avoided glorifying violence like so many Roman books written by American men seem to love. What is it with you Yanks and violence?

    It was unclear what Gorgianus was exactly. Was he in the Equestrian order? The class conscious Roman world would have talked about this a little more.

    Gotta love poor Daves and the two little slave boys were hilarious. This was a character driven story...not a mystery, not a drama, more or a period piece with a narrator who "finds" things, as detectives didn't exist back then. But, why wasn't it Clodius's defence attorney that hired him? Why would Pompey care? He HATED Clodius, who once laid siege to his house and threatened his life daily.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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