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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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


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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Daryl
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 10-01-09

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

  • Overall
  • Greg
  • laso, British Columbia, Canada
  • 08-05-09

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Christine
  • Morgan Hill, CA, United States
  • 03-31-13

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • WESTVILLE, NJ United States
  • 08-30-15

Enjoyable story

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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?


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A very enjoyable Roman mystery

This book begins the series of the mature Gordianus the Finder's adventures (there is the trilogy of Gordianus the Finder as a young man, published after this series but taking place earlier in Gordianus's life). What I like in this series is Saylor's storytelling and the way he lays out the historical context of ancient Rome. I think that Saylor does a good job of telling the story through the cultural and social eyes of a Roman. There were a few times where the story dragged a little, but often this was due to Saylor embedding a history lesson into the book. Overall, a very enjoyable read with a number of twists and surprises as Gordianus investigates the case of a man accused of murdering his own father. I had mixed feelings about the narrator. I think that some of the voices he used for the characters did not suit them. He was okay, but I think it would have been better had the voices suited the character's better.