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Roman Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Rome | [Steven Saylor]

Roman Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Rome

In Rome, 80 B.C., on a warm spring morning, Gordianus the Finder receives a summons to the house of a then-unknown young advocate and orator, Cicero. Ambitious and brilliant, the 26-year-old Cicero is about to argue his first important case. His client is a wealthy farmer, one Sextus Roscius of the town of Ameria, who stands accused of the most unforgivable act in Ancient Rome: the murder of his father.
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Publisher's Summary

In Rome, 80 B.C., on a warm spring morning, Gordianus the Finder receives a summons to the house of a then-unknown young advocate and orator, Cicero. Ambitious and brilliant, the 26-year-old Cicero is about to argue his first important case. His client is a wealthy farmer, one Sextus Roscius of the town of Ameria, who stands accused of the most unforgivable act in Ancient Rome: the murder of his father.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (81 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.1 (48 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.6 (50 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Greg laso, British Columbia, Canada 08-05-09
    Greg laso, British Columbia, Canada 08-05-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
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    53
    8
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    1
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    Overall
    "good read/listen"

    the story is good if not a little repetitive as a series. narrator wasn't my favourite but not everybody can be george guidol

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Morgan Hill, CA, United States 03-31-13
    Christine Morgan Hill, CA, United States 03-31-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    Story
    "Romans, lend me your ears."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Lithia, FL 09-15-10
    Richard Lithia, FL 09-15-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    30
    7
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    2
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    Overall
    "Good story, bad reader"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Toronto, Ontario, Canada 10-01-09
    Daryl Toronto, Ontario, Canada 10-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    47
    5
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    Overall
    "Pretty good"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael williams old saybrook, CT United States 02-11-13
    michael williams old saybrook, CT United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    Story
    "Disappointing"
    Would you try another book from Steven Saylor and/or Scott Harrison?

    No


    What was most disappointing about Steven Saylor’s story?

    It seemed to be a contrivance, whose sole purpose was to show off the author's scholarship (which seems considerable).


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Harrison?

    Virtually any true voice actor on the planet. At best, Scott Harrison is a reader, but not a very good one at that.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Certainly disappointment, as I am a fan of Rome and Roman history, and was looking forward to a good read.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Sterling, VA, United States 12-19-11
    Amazon Customer Sterling, VA, United States 12-19-11 Member Since 2011

    glassyeyes

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    Story
    "Whodunits and History DO Mix --"
    What did you love best about Roman Blood?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Roman Blood?

    The description of daily life in the Subura.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It would be hard to pick just one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Several.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mizar 02-10-10
    Mizar 02-10-10 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    134
    3
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    Overall
    "Not a good listen."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Parker 04-13-14
    Tim Parker 04-13-14 Listener Since 2009
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "A perfect story"
    What did you love best about Roman Blood?

    Saylor recreates ancient Rome perfectly. The factual story is a wonderful start for the imaginative tale.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gordianus, he is a well rounded character with typical strengths and weakness. His insight is thoughtful. He isn't a super sleuth, he's a digger who has to work for the clues.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator sounded stiff, he never seemed to enjoy the story. Unlike some audio-books, the narrator always seemed to be reading from a script rather than living through the characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Before Cicero made his name in Roman Politics, he made a powerful enemy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Ficklen McDonough, GA, United States 03-16-14
    Vicki Ficklen McDonough, GA, United States 03-16-14 Member Since 2010

    Vicki

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    8
    6
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    0
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    "Hard to get past the reader."
    Would you try another book from Steven Saylor and/or Scott Harrison?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Saylor again?

    He would have to have a different narrator.


    How could the performance have been better?

    He sounded like he was reading to children. He shouldn't try to read anything else.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I love the time period that the book was written about. That's about it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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