South of Rome on the Gulf of Puteoli stands the splendid villa of Marcus Crassus, Rome's wealthiest citizen. When the estate overseer is murdered, Crasus concludes that the deed was done by two missing slaves, who have probably run off to join the Spartacus Slave Revolt. Unless they are found within five days, Crassus vows to massacre his ...
South of Rome on the Gulf of Puteoli stands the splendid villa of Marcus Crassus, Rome's wealthiest citizen. When the estate overseer is murdered, Crasus concludes that the deed was done by two missing slaves, who have probably run off to join the Spartacus Slave Revolt. Unless they are found within five days, Crassus vows to massacre his remaining ninety-nine slaves. To Gordianus the Finder falls the fateful task of resolving this riddle from Hades. In a house filled with secrets, the truth is slow to emerge and Gordianus realizes that the labyrinthine path he has chosen just may lead to his own destruction.
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Saylor knows Roman history quite well and certainly knows how to blend it with fictional characters of the era with this thriller that started with the book titled Roman Blood. This is one of the series that is hard to put down once you start. A real page turner!
Publishers Weekly, 1992-08-10 Set in 72 B.C., during the slave revolt led by Spartacus, Saylor's ( Roman Blood ) second historical mystery follows Roman PI Gordianus the Finder to the resort of Baiae on the Bay of Naples. The cousin and factotum of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome, has been bludgeoned to death, apparently by two slaves who have run away. An ancient Roman law decrees that when a master is killed by a slave, the remainder of the household's slaves must be slaughtered. Gordianus and his adopted son Eco have three days to find the real murderer and save the villa's other 99 slaves. A convoluted plot reveals fraud, embezzlement and arms smuggling (spears and swords traded for silver and jewels); sensuously written subplots hinge on arcanic poisons and clandestine love affairs among a cast that includes a Crassus's second-rate philosopher-in-residence and a retired actor who doubles as a female impersonator. Richly detailed bacchanalian feasts and mesmerizing visits to the Sybil at Cumae lead to the spellbinding conclusion, reached during fierce gladiatorial combat. 35,000 first printing; BOMC alternate; paperback rights to Fawcett; author tour. (Oct.)
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