Torchlight flickers on the elegant marble walls. The sound of a mob echoes in the street. The year is 52 B.C. and the naked body of Publius Clodius is about to be carried through the teaming streets of Rome. Clodius, a rich man turned rabble-rouser, was slain on the most splendid road in the world, the Appian Way. Now Clodius's rival, Milo, is being targeted for revenge and the city teeters on the verge of chaos.
An explosive trial will feature the best oration of Cicero and Marc Antony, while Gordianus the Finder has been charged by Pompey the Great himself to look further into the murder. With the Senate House already in ashes, and his own life very much in danger, Gordianus must return to a desrted stretch of the Appian Way - to find the truth that can save a city drunk on power, rent by fear, and filled with the madness and glory of Rome.
Turmoil strikes Rome in A.D. 52 in this stand-out novel by the author of The Venus Throw. Once again, Gordianus the Finder is put in the delicate position of having to solve a crime and keep his own counsel amid the scheming and duplicitous rulers of Rome. Publius Clodius, a powerful populist politician with an unsavory personal life, is murdered while traveling on the Appian Way. The prime suspect is Clodius's arch rival, patrician Titus Milo, and the repercussions are many-for the state, the judicial system and the military. Gordianus is brought into the case by his neighbor, Cicero, who is defending Milo and needs a bit of discreet detective work. Gordianus doesn't have much use for "lawyers," especially not for the silver-tongued Cicero, whose motives he distrusts, but the case is too intriguing to turn down. An unusual and morally sturdy character, Gordianus is honest without being sanctimonious, a savvy observer of the political scene who never loses his integrity. He's also a clear and faithful narrator. Soon, he finds himself dealing with the likes of Pompey, Caesar and Mark Antony as he unravels the complicated threads of the crime. Meanwhile, Rome is burning as Clodius's followers riot to avenge their murdered leader. The suspense never lags as Saylor spins a sophisticated political thriller that also brings his readers up to speed on their Roman history.
A great book
As one interested in Ancient Rome, I've been reading Saylor's Roman History novels for about a year or so. They are always meticulously researched, beautifully written and really interesting.
As an aficionado of the mystery genre, I especially love the Gordianus books and shirt stories. To date, I've read half of them. Murder on the Appian Way so far is my favorite. It is an absolutely scintillating can't put it down read... Full of the usual meticulous attention to historical detail, irony, humor, mystery and even a really surprising ending (I love when the murderer at the end turns out to be a complete surprise).
In short, this is a highly recommended book for Roman history buffs, mystery lovers or anyone who just likes a good read.