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Saylor, Steven - 'The Triumph of Caesar'
Paperback: 336 pages (Mar. 2009) Publisher: Robinson ISBN: 1845298993

Gordianus is now 64 and hoping for a quiet life back in Rome. The murder of one of his friends, Hieronymus, and the summons of Ceasar's very powerful wife, Calpurnia, leads him back to treading the narrow and often dangerous streets of downtown Rome in his role as Finder. Everyone thought he had died in Eqypt, but now someone wants to make sure.

Jealousy, intrigue, common greed, sex and pride are only a few of the things he finds crawling under the cobbles. He is looking for a killer who may also be involved in a sinister plot against Caesar's life, which Hieronymus was investigating when he died. Using the papers Hieronymus left behind, Gordianus in turn visits and interviews the same people in an attempt to find the one who killed his friend. Some are members of the Rome elite, some are incarcerated in Caesar's jails awaiting execution during the four Triumphs being hosted to celebrate Caesar's successes in battle.

A series of contrasting meetings ensues, interspersed with the festival activities of the Triumphs and the politics which Gordianus is playing with Calpurnia and her staff. These are contrasted with some sinister happenings which definitely give you a feeling that something is not right in the Eternal City.

The descriptions of the prison and its contrast with some of the opulent Roman homes and festival behaviours enhance the richness of this crime novel. I was, however, a little disappointed in the denouement which was a bit of an anticlimax after some of the nicely paced build-ups during the rest of the book.

Amanda Brown, England
October 2009

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 11/10/2009 11:22