The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa Series #10)

The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa Series #10)

by Steven Saylor


$18.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, March 27

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312582456
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Series: Roma Sub Rosa Series , #10
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 989,148
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Steven Saylor is the author of the long running Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, as well as the New York Times bestselling novel, Roma and its follow-up, Empire. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel. Saylor was born in Texas and graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and classics. He divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

So set was the captain on reaching calmer waters that he took no no-tice of the several ships that lay dead ahead of us, their sails as bright as ivory in the glaring sunlight. Some of the vessels appeared to be war-ships. Such a group, encountered closer to Alexandria, would have given no cause for alarm, for there the harbor and its guardian fleet would have offered protection from vagabonds and pirates. But our location ap-peared to be far from any port or harbor of consequence, so that we might as well have been on the open sea. We were acutely vulnerable to robbery and attack. Even as I was considering this, the captain finally appeared to take notice of the vessels ahead of us. He gave an order to veer southward, toward land, even though that arid, featureless strip of shoreline appeared to offer very little in the way of succor or conceal-ment.
But the other ships had already spotted us, and whatever their inten-tions, seemed unwilling to let us go without an encounter. Two smaller vessels struck out toward us.
Whoever they were, they were practiced sailors with considerable skill at pursuit and capture. Coordinating their movements with ad-mirable precision, they drew apart so as to pull alongside us both to star-board and port, then slowed their speed to match ours. They were close enough now so that I could see the leering faces of the armed men on deck. Were they bent on our destruction, or merely exhilarated by the chase? From the ship to our starboard, an officer called out, "Give it up, Captain! We've caught you fair and square. Raise your oars, or else we'll get rid of them for you!"
The threat was literal; I had seen warships employ just such amaneu-ver, drawing alongside an enemy vessel, veering close, then withdrawing their oars so as to shear off the other ship's still-extended oars, rendering it helpless. With two ships, such a maneuver could be executed on both sides of us simultaneously. Given the skill our pursuers had so far dis-played, I had no doubt that they could pull it off.
The captain was still in a panic, frozen to the spot and speechless. His men looked to him for orders, but received none. We proceeded at full speed, the pursuers matching us and drawing closer on either side.
"By Hercules!" I shouted, tearing myself from Bethesda to run to the captain's side. I gripped his arm. "Give the order to raise oars!"
The captain looked at me blankly. I slapped him across the face. He bolted and moved to strike back at me, then the glimmer of reason lit his eyes. He took a deep breath and raised his arms.
"Lift oars!" he cried. "Trim sail!"
The sailors, heaving with exertion, obeyed at once. Our pursuers, with flawless seamanship, mimicked our actions, and all three ships re-mained side by side even as the waves began to brake our progress.
The ship to our starboard drew even closer. The soldier who had or-dered us to stop spoke again, though he was now so close that he hardly needed to raise his voice. I saw that he wore the insignia of a Roman cen-turion. "Identify yourself!"
The captain cleared his throat. "This is the Andromeda, an Athenian ship with a Greek crew."
"And you?"
"Cretheus, owner and captain."
"Why did you flee when we approached?"
"What fool wouldn't have done the same?"
The centurion laughed. At least he was in good humor. "Where do you sail from?"
"Ostia, the port city of Rome."
"Alexandria. We'd be there now if not for-"
"Just answer the questions! Cargo?"
"Olive oil and wine. In Alexandria we'll be picking up raw line and-"
"Only one party, a fellow and his wife-"
"Is that him, beside you?"
I spoke up. "My name is Gordianus. I'm a Roman citizen."
"Are you now?" The centurion peered at me. "How many in you party?"
"My wife, a bodyguard, two slave boys."
"Are we free to sail on?" said the captain.
"Not yet. All ships without exception are to be boarded and searched and the names of all passengers passed on to the Great One himself. Nothing for you to be alarmed about; standard procedure. Now turn about, and we'll escort you to the fleet."
I cast a wistful glance at the bleak, receding shore. We had not fallen into the clutches of Caesar, or pirates, or renegade soldiers. It was much worse than that. Only one man in the whole world presumed to cal himself Magnus, Great One: Pompey. The Fates had delivered me into the hands of a man who had vowed to see me dead.

Copyright 2004 by Steven Saylor

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa Series #10) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those who enjoy the excellent Gordianus the Finder series won't be disappointed in this book. It is set not in Rome, but in Egypt, where Gordianus has taken his ailing wife to bathe in her beloved Nile. Things begin to go awry immediately, however. Gordianus, who seems to be the Forrest Gump of the ancient world, manages to be present at the infamous assassination of Pompey as well as at Cleopatra's unrolling from a carpet before the eyes of Julius Caesar. The mystery and its solution don't actually occur until nearly the last third of the book. In the meantime, the reader is treated to a delicious recreation and description of ancient Alexandria and its royal precincts. That alone is worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gordianus the Finder and his beloved wife Bethesda are sailing from Rome to Alexandria both hoping that bathing in the Nile River will restore her to her health. An Egyptian by birth and sold into slavery, Bethesda knows exactly where she wants to bathe in the healing mystical Nile. When they reach the place next to a sacred shrine guarded by a priestess of Osiris, Bethesda leaves Gordianus but fails to return though he searched for his beloved.

Grieving and heartbroken, he travels on to Alexandria only to meet up with King Ptolemy who is battling his sister-wife Cleopatra for the throne. Gordianus accepts the king¿s invitation to the palace and finds he must deal with Caesar who wants the Egyptian civil war to end so whoever is the ruler can pay back the money owed to Rome. When the son he disowned is charged with trying to poison Caesar and Cleopatra, Gordianus realizes he still cares about Meto; he vows to find the real culprit so his son can go free.

A Gordianus the Finder mystery is always a special treat and in THE JUDGMENT OF CAESAR he proves that even though he is in his sixties, he can match wits with the most Machiavellian of people including Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Readers see how Caesar falls under Cleopatra¿s spell and through the research of Steven Saylor we are treated to a period of history that is both dramatic and colorful. Egyptologists and mystery fans are going to cast positive judgment on this exciting novel.

Harriet Klausner

amerigoUS on LibraryThing 11 months ago
More historical fiction than historical mystery, I still liked this latest installment of Gordianus the Finder, who seems to find himself at a crossroads as he struggles to come to terms with alienating his adopted son and his sick, possibly dying, wife. He arrives in Alexandria at his wife Bethesda's request, in order to "take the cure" by immersing herself in the Nile's "sacred" waters. At the same time, Pompey has arrived to seek Egyptian support after his defeat at Pharsalus. What comes after is history and Gordianus is there to witness it, which I think is basically what this novel is about. Hardcore Gordianus mystery fans might be disappointed because the mystery plays a small part in the novel, but in Saylor's version of events, it tips the balance historically as Caesar chooses between Ptolemy or Cleopatra.
mamzel on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Watching over Gordianus's shoulder we are again witness to famous historical events, this time in the extraordinary city of Alexandria. Gordianus has taken his wife, originally Egyptian, home to Alexandria in the hopes that bathing in the Nile will cure her of whatever the illness is that she is suffering. As the famed city pulls into view, their ship is hit by a terrible storm that pushes them into sight of Pompey's fleet. Suspected of being a spy, Gordianus is taken onto Pompey ship moments before he is rowed ashore to his death at the feet of the young king Ptolemy. Afraid of being separated from his family, he leaps into the water to try and swim to their ship but is instead washed on to the beach. He assists in building pyres for Pompey (less one finger and a head) and collapses from exhaustion. He wakes to find his wife and adopted sons had been deposited on the beach.They travel west toward Alexandria, searching along the various branches of the Nile in the river delta for the spot to take Bethesda's healing swim and finally find an ancient temple that suits her needs. She walks into the water and disappears. Bereft, Gordianus proceeds to Alexandria.He arrives in time to witness the famous meeting of Caesar and Cleopatra at the same time that he is rejoined with his son Meto. At a meal he was to share with the famous couple, a bottle of wine rescued from Pompey's ship was opened. Before either tasted the wine, Cleopatra calls her slave girl to taste the wine and it is discovered, fatally, that it is poisoned. Meto opened the sealed bottle and poured the wine so suspicion falls on him. Gordianus is granted a chance to investigate and determine who was the real poisoner.Sayer has brought us to another important place in history and places us in the middle of the action as an eyewitness. Only one more book in the series. He has taken a well documented historical event and inserted a mystery that involves all the major players and lets us see them as more than pages in a history book.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This review contains spoilers for this and earlier books in the Roma sub Rosa series.At the close of A Mist of Prophecies, Gordianus the Finder's wife, Bethesda, decided that the only way she could be cured of a lingering illness was to return to Alexandria and bathe in the Nile. When this book opens, Gordianus, Bethesda, his recently adopted son Rupa, and his two slave boys are at sea approaching Alexandria's lighthouse. Before they can even land, Gordianus finds himself carried away by the Roman civil war that is now spilling over into the struggle for the Egyptian crown, and reunited with old acquaintences and enemies. Knowing that Caesar is going to be arriving in Alexandria any day, it seems likely that he will also be forced to face his disowned, adopted son, Meto.The mystery in this book takes a backseat to the historical and family drama. The murder which Gordianus investigates does not take place until the last third of the book, and is resolved well before the ending. The major suspense action of the plot- taken seperately from the ongoing story of Gordianus' family- is general court intriuge, with every side thinking that the Finder might be a useful man to know, and not an investigation.Bethesda's alleged death and later reappearance was handled strangely, and with little explanation. Possibly Saylor wants to force the reader to see through Gordianus' eyes, as a man of his times, who though not superstitious in nature might accept that Egyptian gods rule in Egypt just as Roman gods do in Rome, and not look for an explanation of what in the natural world Bethesda could have been doing while she was gone. However, there is little that would have been changed about the plot if Gordianus had known all along that she would need to spend some time in seclusion at the temple, and had been sent on ahead. Some different explanation would need to have been given for Meto to see the vial in Gordianus' trunk. Gordianus' internal musings would have been different, but I cannot name one action that necessarily would have been except for the times that he informs somebody of her death. Even his delay in leaving Alexandria could have been accounted for at the end, if he needed to wait for Bethesda to be ready. The action of the next full novel (Triumph of Caesar, coming out next year) seems to be set in Rome, so it is hard to say why Gordianus and Bethesda would need to be left in Alexandria when the rest of the family went ahead with Meto. Maybe some reason for splitting up the traveling party will become clear in the next book?
Bookmarque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
His historical perspective is much more independent than that of McCullough; no hero-worship here. He presents Caesar dispassionately and somewhat disapprovingly, even if through the eyes of the disapproving Gordianus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MMMNJ More than 1 year ago
A brilliant series! The perfect marriage of history and fabulous story-telling. A joy to read and re-read!
Aristedes More than 1 year ago
A lot of good twists and turns in the plot. Good characters, the ending scene both mysterious and a little convoluted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago