Hired by Cicero to investigate the charges, Gordianus sets out to discover the truth in a case - and a society - rife with deceit, betrayal, and conspiracy. As he draws nearer to the truth, the conspiracy looms ever larger until Gordianus begins to perceive the hand of the dictator Sulla himself. Playing for stakes much higher than he bargained for, Gordianus finds that not only is he himself endangered but so are all those around him as well.
©1991 Steven Saylor; (P)1996 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Remarkable....a stirring blend of history and mystery, well seasoned with conspiracy, passion and intrigue....A classic historical mystery, in every sense." (Publishers Weekly)
"Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthralls." (Sunday Times London)
"Gripping....a combination of Hithccock-style suspense and vivid historical detail." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
I purchased 'Roman Blood' when it first came out in hardback, as well as almost all Saylor's other books. I wanted to re-experience his stories in audio now. However, I find Scott Harrison to be a poor choice to read any stories, except perhaps some of the Audible Kids titles. His voice is juvenile in tenor, as is his attempt to portray different voices for different characters in the story. He has no sense of proper emotion for the scene, and mispronounces various words scattered throughout the story. He lacks the maturity and dignitas for stories who ancient loci and personae demand them. I recommend sewing Harrison's renditions of Saylor's books in a sack and throwing them in the nearest Tiber or appropriate substitute.
This book is really nothing more than Sam Spade deposited in ancient Rome--a detective sniffing out clues and avoiding thugs in the gritty backstreets of a great city. The protagonist even has a devoted and efficient female slave who fills the Effie role. The author has done a great deal of research, but, like the hero, it feels like a veneer on the story rather than an integral part of it, unlike the exquisite scholarship of "The Egyptian." The main weakness, however, is the reader. Very poor choice for the material, as he has no aptitude for character voices.
Scott Harrison - definitely not. His voice was grating and he hollered a lot to get his point across. It was almost painful to listen to.
He would have to have a different narrator.
He sounded like he was reading to children. He shouldn't try to read anything else.
I love the time period that the book was written about. That's about it.
It seemed to be a contrivance, whose sole purpose was to show off the author's scholarship (which seems considerable).
Virtually any true voice actor on the planet. At best, Scott Harrison is a reader, but not a very good one at that.
Certainly disappointment, as I am a fan of Rome and Roman history, and was looking forward to a good read.
I'd like to try another Saylor story, read by someone else. If for no other reason than to see if my adverse reaction to the former is prompted by the latter.
All those old movies where high ranking Romans speaking with cultured English accents have set the standard long ago for historical Roman dialogue. This series too needs to be read by a person with a cultured English accent.
My rating would be 7/10. I liked the flavour for the times - not so foreign to today. I would have liked a more gripping story, with a main character that was more interesting, less perfect. But it entertained.
the story is good if not a little repetitive as a series. narrator wasn't my favourite but not everybody can be george guidol
Enjoyed the story twists and turns were good some are going off on tangents. Narrating was terrible. There are better voices out there. Overall enjoyed the story
Saylor crafts his detective mysteries in the nooks and crannies of Roman history. Learn a bit about Julius Caesar or Cicero and Roman culture while reading a detective novel! I have read them all and enjoyed them immensely.
The description of daily life in the Subura.
It would be hard to pick just one.
I have listened to a few other samples from the narrator on this audiobook, and am relieved to be able to say that I believe his reading skills improved with more practice. In Roman Blood, I found myself cringing each time he attempted to change his voice to indicate a new speaker, and winced as he persisted in mispronouncing words - most notably, confusing "martial" with "marital" every time he encountered it. Overall, I have heard high school seniors read aloud more creditably than this voice actor, who may only have performed in Saturday morning cartoon shows prior to being hired for this gig.
That said, I stuck it out and found the story and wealth of historical detail in Steven Saylor's book very rewarding. There were a number of twists in the plot that completely surprised me. I will definitely seek out the rest of the series and its prequels - just not, perhaps, the ones with this narrator.
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