Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Author Steven Saylor : Published by Constable : Price 226.35 Euro

In the afterword to this novel the author talks about how difficult it is to write about the most infamous murder in history, the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, when everyone already knows how, why and when it took place and most importantly who were the main movers behind the killing. Yet in the chronology of the books that he writes the time had come for him to deal with the murder of Caesar so he had to find a different way to write about it without going over the same old ground. He manages to do this by linking the death of Caesar to the murder of another person at the same time to give his investigator something to get his teeth into and keep the reader interested at the same time. The book is a countdown to the Ides of

March and Gordianus the Finder who is now in his sixties is in semi retirement but that doesn’t stop him from becoming involved in cases as the situation arises. He and his family have done well for themselves but a command to attend Caesar leaves Gordianus feeling all at sea. What could the dictator of Rome possibly want with him.

Gordianus’ son Meto works quite closely with the dictator so Gordianus

knows that it won’t be anything so bad. What it turns out to be is a request on behalf of Caesar to find out if there are any plots in the city afoot against him. His wife Calpurnia is worried about a recent augury foretelling a terrible month for Caesar and that he should be very careful going about in public. Caesar feels that by getting Gordianus’ help he will allay any fears that his wife might have. He gives Gordianus a list of names that he wants investigated and Gordianus goes to talk to these people to sound them out. He also tells Gordianus that he is going to make him a senator, an unheard of elevation in rank. In the meantime Gordianus is spending a lot of time with his friend Cinna, a senator and poet, who he gets along with very well. His will be the second murder that Gordianus will have to investigate when he is murdered on the day of the Caesar’s funeral.

There is an awful lot about Cinna in the novel and little about Gordianus sniffing out any plots against Caesar even when he goes and visits Brutus one of the dictator’s most infamous killers. This is an interesting book as it tries to retell the death of Caesar in a way that is fresh and new. It, like Saylor’s other novels, is full of great detail about the way of life in Rome at that time. While it may not be as compelling as those other books it is still well worth the read. Best buy it in a cheaper paperback edition though.

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