USA Today hails Steven Saylor as a “modern master of historical fiction.” Rich in intrigue and period detail, his novels set in ancient Rome have garnered acclaim the world over.
A prequel to his epic Roma Sub Rosa series, The Seven Wonders follows series star Gordianus the Finder as an 18-year-old traveling the Mediterranean to witness the wonders of that fabled age. At each stop, the young investigator finds a beguiling mystery that pushes his powers of deduction to the limit.
©2012 Steven Saylor (P)2012 Recorded Books
I really wanted to love this book and was hoping it would propel me into the rest of Steven Saylors work b/c this is my first experience with his writing. In this book, Steven Saylor presents a history of the seven wonders of the ancient world in a narrative form that many could potentially find more engaging than setting out to read Herodotus on their own. However, the story is actually quite bad. The book fluctuates between interesting histories and a few lesser known sub-stories that are interrupted by a plot that is too easy. The result is a book that bounces unpredictably back-and-forth between being targeted at a historical audience and a seven year old. The fictional aspects of this historical fiction are just too easy - basically every mystery is a murder to which the reader is given no clues and which the protagonist suddenly explains at after he solves it. Then, each chapter ends with a quick reference to the fact that Gordianus not only solved a mystery, but oh yea, he also had sex.
I found Plunkett's performance to be bland and monotone. I am not sure if he was going for a subtlety of emotion/inflection or if he is just not very good (I have not listened to any of his other performances so I have no basis for comparison) but it comes across as monotone and occasionally awkwardly absent of emotion.
I would suggest this book for anyone who wants to learn about this particular historical niche, but I would advise staying away if you are looking for an exciting mystery or engaging historical fiction plot. The setting(s) really served as the main character for me (which is what earned the second star in the overall rating). This hasn't generated the excitement for Saylor's other works that I was hoping for. I will probably listen to one more of his works before deciding whether or not to bail on Saylor's writing.
I've always enjoyed the political backdrop of Saylor's Finder books. Like them, "The Seven Wonders" is a not so subtle lesson in history. As our young protagonist, Gordianus, the Finder to be, visits the marvels of his age, he solves a mystery at each location. In addition, the listener is given a lecture about the Wonder in question. It's a fun way to absorb ancient history.
If you enjoyed the series and like history in small, not too dry, doses this listen will entertain you.
Historical fiction, science fiction, mysteries -- we love them all.
First off, this is NOT the book to introduce you to Steven Saylor's Sub Rosa series starring Gordianus the Finder. For that, I'd suggest Roman Blood or The Arms of Nemesis -- wonderful books.
However, for those us us who are familiar with Gordianus and his adventures during the Roman Revolution, this is a story of his travels through the Greek world as a young man, visiting each of the Seven Wonders and giving colorful details of the local customs as well as the history and description of each of the Wonders.
And of course, there are mysteries to be solved at each site.
Finally, we are introduced to the Mystery of Bethesda, which alone, is worth the price of admission.
Very good writer, but why have they hired the worst narrator to read it? This guy can;t let me get to the story; his narration just repeats the same inflection and notes again and again. I am desperate to hear Saylor read by one decent narrator. This one isn't it either. Poop.
I found Mr. Plunkett's choice to pronounce ancient words and names in American dialect disappointing. In particular this mean that Gordianus' name came out with an unfortunate emphasis on the last four letter.
Steven Saylor gives us the formative adventure of Gordianus the Finder, as the 18 year old sets out with his tutor to visit the seven wonders. As with all Saylor's works, the attention to historical reconstruction of the Roman era intrigues me and keeps me reading. I felt like a tourist accompanying the main character on his visits to the great sights. Narrated in first person by young Gordianus, it presents a series of episodes that prompt his inquisitive problem solving skills and lead to the solution of several mysteries. It is only at the end of the book when we (and Gordianus) learn that there was more to his episodic adventure than was apparent. The final puzzle sets the young Finder onto the path to become the skeptical investigator we know in later books. I found The Seven Wonders interesting throughout and rewarding at the end. Recommended.
Addicted to audio books.
I enjoyed the audio as I just don't have the time to read like I used to.
It kept me interested, they did a good job of making you feel and see the new places he went to.
the main Character
When they entered new cities
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