Old Rome Fiction

I love historical fiction, especially when a good portion of the story is based on actual facts. So I started reading Imperium, the first book in a trilogy by Robert Harris. It’s set in Rome in the 79-70 BC decade and is devoted to Cicero who held, among others, the role of famous orator and politician. I read the first 100 pages and just couldn’t get into the story, which seemed pretty dry to me.

The main reason for this, is that I remember maybe too fondly the Gordianus series of Steven Saylor. Starting with Roman Blood (1991), where the Finder Gordianus is hired by Cicero, to The Triumph of Caesar (2008), Saylor takes you through Roman and Egyptian life, where you meet wonderful characters sharing their secrets, and, ultimately solving riddles and discovering the culpable parties responsible for thefts and murders.

I so longed for the old Roman setting of Saylor, that I read the prequel Raiders of the Nile and I despise prequels (yes George Lucas, I’m looking at you). It was a fun read, but I dearly missed the older and much wiser Gordianus. The author recently promised a new “old Gordianus” book in an interview, and I can’t wait.

Saylor also published two books also set in early Rome, spanning many generations : Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome (2007) and Empire: The Novel of Imperial Rome (2010).

Series Rating: 9/10

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