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Publisher's Summary

The year is 63 BC, and Gordianus the Finder unexpectedly achieves the dream of every Roman: owning a farm in the Etruscan countryside. Vowing to leave behind the corruption of Rome, he abandons the city, taking his family with him. This bucolic life, however, is disrupted by the machinations and murderous plots of two politicians.

When Gordianus’ longtime patron Cicero attains his lifelong dream of a coveted consulship, he urgently requests a favor of Gordianus: his help in keeping watch on a radical populist senator, Catilina - Cicero’s political rival and a candidate to replace him in the annual elections. Against his will, Gordianus finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a maelstrom of deceit and intrigue, uncertain of the dangers and even more uncertain of where his true allegiance lies. When his six-year-old daughter Diana finds a headless corpse in their stable, Gordianus is confronted with the deadliest mystery of his career.

Shrewdly depicting deadly political maneuverings, this addictive mystery also displays the author’s firm grasp of history and human character.

Steven Saylor is a freelance writer, editor, and the author of novels set in ancient Rome. He studied history at the University of Texas at Austin. His writing has appeared in the Threepenny Review, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He lives in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.

©1993 Steven Saylor (P)1996 Blackstone

Critic Reviews

“Engrossing…Ironic and satisfying.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Saylor rivals Robert Graves in his knack for making the classical world come alive.” (Oregonian)
“Saylor has written another gripping and entertaining historical whodunit…Shrewdly depicting deadly political maneuverings, this addictive mystery also displays the author’s firm grasp of history and human character.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Caustic voice of narrator

Would you try another book from Steven Saylor and/or Scott Harrison?

I have read or listened to almost all of Steven Saylor's books with great relish. The author has an excellent grasp of Roman culture and his character development of Gordianus the investigator has been interesting to watch evolve. However the voice of Mr Scott Harrison sounds more like someone who should be reading contemporary dectective novels set in Miami or New York rather than ancient Rome. After less than 2 hours I simply turned the audio recording off. I will read the books from the public library rather than buy any historical novel narrated by Mr. Harrison.

What other book might you compare Catilina’s Riddle to and why?

Murder on the Appian Way. Features Gordianus the investigator.

What didn’t you like about Scott Harrison’s performance?

I'm sure this narrator is very effective when reading contemporary detective or spy novels. His vowels are very clipped and sharp. His reading pace seldom varies and one's gets the feeling he is racing to be done with the book. Consequently the emphasis on specific scenes is mismanaged

What character would you cut from Catilina’s Riddle?

.

Any additional comments?

Find a different narrator please.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • 2Ponds
  • Somerset, CA United States
  • 12-19-13

Stilted

I wish Audible would allow me to list readers I don't care for. Not even publicly list them, just keep a record so I know not to get a book with a crummy reader. This is one such reader. His stilted delivery and inappropriate pauses clearly don't do any favors to the story. The story needs help too, our hero is a numbskull and I swear he wasn't this dumb in previous books. Overall not the best listening for me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not one of Saylor's best

Narration is awful! The narrator is very wrong for this genre. The story line is also weak. The first third is a rehash of Gordianus' past exploits through the device of conversations and remembrances.
I mostly listen while I'm painting, so I listened to the whole book. It gets a little more interesting toward the end, if you chose to slog that far.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful