The Throne of Caesar

Written by Steven Saylor
Review by Vicki Kondelik

Here is the long-awaited next installment of Saylor’s Roman mystery series, featuring Gordianus the Finder, that deals with Julius Caesar’s assassination. After three prequels about the young Gordianus, Saylor returns to the main timeline of the series.

In March 44 BCE, after years of solving crimes, Gordianus has retired, or so he thinks. Cicero and Caesar himself call on him, separately, to ask him to discover the details of a suspected plot against Caesar’s life. Gordianus is not certain of Cicero’s motives—whether he wishes to save Caesar or to join in the plot—but he agrees to investigate. He must learn the identities of the conspirators before the Senate meets on the Ides of March, because Caesar plans to leave Rome to conquer the Parthian Empire. And, in order to honor Gordianus’s son Meto, who has been one of Caesar’s strongest supporters, Caesar plans to make Gordianus a senator on the Ides.

Saylor does an outstanding job at keeping up the reader’s suspense, even though you know what will happen on the Ides of March. Gordianus obviously will not discover the plot in time to prevent Caesar’s assassination. But what will keep him from doing so? And will Gordianus be made a senator or not? Actually, it is another murder, not Caesar’s, which will become the focus of Gordianus’s investigation: that of his friend Cinna the poet who was, famously, torn limb from limb by an angry mob following Caesar’s assassination. Was Cinna the victim of a tragic case of mistaken identity, as Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar would lead you to believe? Or was something more sinister going on? Saylor offers a fresh perspective on these well-known events. And fans of Gordianus will be glad to know this is not the end of the series.