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Extended Audio Sample Roman Blood: A Novel of Ancient Rome Audiobook, by Steven Saylor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,646 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Saylor Narrator: Scott Harrison Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Roma Sub Rosa Series Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538462553
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In Rome, 80 BC, 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 twenty-six-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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Saylor puts such great detail and tumultuous life into his scenes that the sensation of rubbing elbows with the ancients is quite uncanny.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Steven Saylor’s engrossing series of popular novels centered around Gordianus the Finder—a kind of Roman Sherlock Holmes.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Saylor has acquired the information of a historian but he enjoys the gifts of a born novelist.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Saylor evokes the ancient world more convincingly than any other writer of his generation.”

    Sunday Times, London

  • “From the arrival of an articulate slave on the doorstep of sleuth Gordianus to the riveting re-creation of an actual oration by Cicero, Saylor’s remarkable first novel takes the reader deep into the political, legal and family arenas of ancient Rome, providing a stirring blend of history and mystery, well seasoned with conspiracy, passion and intrigue…a story greatly enhanced by its vivid characters…A classic historical mystery, in every sense.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A modern master of historical fiction.”

    USA Today

  • “Gripping…A combination of Hitchcock-style suspense and vivid historical details.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “Saylor’s evocation of ancient Rome is vivid and realistic. Within its compelling story, one tours Roman life from bottom to top in what is both good history and good mystery…A novelist whose future work will be worth reading.”

    Austin Chronicle

  • “The detail is meticulous.” 

    Archaeology Magazine

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leonardo Etcheto | 2/19/2014

    " the roman penalties were a bit crazy. when you tie symbolic punishment and the law together you have to watch out. Great characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gordon | 2/12/2014

    " A detailed take on Ancient Rome. The violence and conniving are described in a raw manner. I've read enough about Cicero to do me for a few years but the story is well told and edgy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Priscilla | 2/11/2014

    " I liked how the story progressed into something that I had not expected. I am excited to continue with this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jemidar | 1/20/2014

    " Buddy read with Kim and Hayes :-). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk | 1/19/2014

    " This was the first I read in the "sub rosa" series and I've kept to the time-line since. A good introduction to Gordianus (and Saylor) but there are better ones.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 1/3/2014

    " This is what got me addicted to Historical fiction ;) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Travis | 12/17/2013

    " Loved this. Great start to the Roma Sub Rosa series. Wished I had read it first. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Moberg | 11/15/2013

    " I was in the mood for a mystry novel set in ancient Rome and this filled the bill. I liked it enough that I have purchased the next couple books in the series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 11/10/2013

    " I love this series about Ancient Rome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 'stina | 11/9/2013

    " (bought in a moment of extreme weakness at Bookstop on 10/29/08) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paganpete | 10/15/2013

    " A very good start to the series - reading House of the Vestals next! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Callen | 10/15/2013

    " Ancient roman history in the context of a mystery. Learned the punishment for parricide--yuck!--and daily life of ancient rome "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica Davis | 9/25/2013

    " Very well written. A familiar cast of characters given their own distinct personalities, differing from other authors' works yet meshed together in what becomes an intriguing tale. Will continue on with this series of stories of ancient Rome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ian | 8/6/2013

    " An entertaining look at an actual historical trial, set in the late Roman Republic. Well written, clever interpretation, however, I do not find lawyering that exciting, so 3 stars, not 4. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Johnson | 6/24/2013

    " I just finished this novel of ancient Rome. Learned a lot about Rome reading this mystery. Very enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas S | 5/22/2013

    " Just great historical fiction. A well-written mystery set in 80 BC Rome that really makes you well like you are walking the streets and alleys of ancient Rome. I will definitely be reading more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 10/1/2012

    " I moved from Medieval England to pre-Caesarian Rome and there is a correlation. Great mystery with history. I have enjoyed this book (an author presented at a Mystery Book talk) greatly and hope to read more from this author. Dreary weather and an excellent book - life is good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsten | 8/25/2012

    " A promising start to a new series but I'll need to read more to discover if the characters grab me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 8/5/2012

    " First in series of Gordianus the Finder mysteries. 80 BC in Rome. Sextus son charged with his murder. Good historical framework to interesting mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 5/21/2012

    " This too was engaging in that romance novel, candy for the brain kind of way. It helps that I'm a Roman History nerd. I found some of the plot lines hard to believe, but considering the research and the amount of material taken from actual texts, it's great! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Bruce | 2/18/2012

    " The first Gordianus mystery, Saylor has a penchant for giving the dirty streets of Ancient Rome the same treatment that Chandler did L.A. in the 40s. Great stuff! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 4/2/2011

    " Great mystery novel set in the times of ancient Rome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meredith | 3/23/2011

    " This is the best of the ancient Rome detective stuff. If you haven't read it yet, then I am jeaoulos of you!!
    The best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Priscilla | 2/24/2011

    " I liked how the story progressed into something that I had not expected. I am excited to continue with this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 2/17/2011

    " I moved from Medieval England to pre-Caesarian Rome and there is a correlation. Great mystery with history. I have enjoyed this book (an author presented at a Mystery Book talk) greatly and hope to read more from this author. Dreary weather and an excellent book - life is good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 2/13/2011

    " This book is well written. It has all of the intrigue and suspense found in any great mystery. The story began to drag a bit at the end. When you think the story is done, something new appears. Yet, it is worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 2/7/2011

    " This too was engaging in that romance novel, candy for the brain kind of way. It helps that I'm a Roman History nerd. I found some of the plot lines hard to believe, but considering the research and the amount of material taken from actual texts, it's great! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 1/10/2011

    " This is the first in a series of novels about a man called Gordianus who is a 'FInder' in Ancient Rome. A Finder is really a sort of Private Investigator but the beauty of the books is in the detail of the lifestyles and history of Rome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mieczyslaw | 1/3/2011

    " This was the first I read in the "sub rosa" series and I've kept to the time-line since. A good introduction to Gordianus (and Saylor) but there are better ones.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kmfurr | 12/2/2010

    " Whoo-hoo, excellent novel of ancient Rome, and start of a nice big series to work through, the "Roma Sub Rosa" series. Excellent discovery. For some reason I'd been assuming Steven Saylor was British, but turns out he's from Austin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 11/16/2010

    " Pretty interesting historical fiction set in a murder mystery. Didn't know whether to give it 3 or 4 stars but I plan to read more of Saylor's books so I guess it deserves the 4 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 11/9/2010

    " Okay - first - this was a great book. Not so much for the mystery, but rather because it let you walk through ancient Roman life. The author puts in details the bring Rome back to life, and it was an interesting and enjoyable book. I will continue on with the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 10/19/2010

    " Sherlock Holmes in Rome. I liked it! "

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About the Author
Author Steven Saylor

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. Saylor’s 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.

About the Narrator

Scott Harrison is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater Institute in Massachusetts and founder of Ironweed Productions, a theater company in Santa Fe, New Mexico.