The Seven Wonders
The twelve previous mystery novels in Steven Saylor’s bestselling Roma Sub Rosa series have made Gordianus the Finder one of the most popular sleuths of ancient Rome. Now Saylor offers a prequel to the series, featuring 18-year-old Gordianus on his spectacular coming-of-age voyage around the ancient world.
Accompanied by his tutor, the celebrated poet Antipater of Sidon, a fresh-faced and self-confident Gordianus sets out to visit the Seven Wonders of the World, from the Colossus of Rhodes to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At each new location, Gordianus encounters a fresh mystery to hone his burgeoning detective skills. By the time he reaches the last Wonder, the young sleuth knows that he is meant to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Finder – but in his newfound assurance of his abilities, he might just be missing the solution to a greater mystery that has been slowly drawing him in since the beginning of his journey.
Saylor’s mastery of ancient history makes each of his books a pleasure, but The Seven Wonders is a particularly indulgent tour of the Roman world – rife with spectacular set pieces – to be lapped up by devoted classics enthusiasts. Each chapter can be read as an individual unit, but the through line of the plot takes this book a step beyond a mere series of short stories. Seasoned Roma Sub Rosa fans and newcomers alike will be immediately engaged in this tightly crafted novel. While Gordianus’s new sexual liaisons at every stop along his journeys begin to border on the lurid, it’s all part of the classic boy’s coming-of-age tale, borrowing from the long traditions of setting out to prove oneself, see the world, and ultimately discover one’s fate.