Sunday, May 18, 2014

Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor

Raiders of the Nile: A Novel of the Ancient World by Steven Saylor --- 342 pages

If you are encountering Saylor for the first time,don't be misled by the "romance novel"cover art or the Speilberg-esque title.  Saylor is the author of the critically acclaimed and very popular Roma Sub Rosa series of historical mysteries set in the chaotic years when Rome was metamorphosing from a republic to an empire.

The series began with Roman Blood featuring a murder trial and the famous Roman advocate and orator Cicero, who hires a "finder" named Gordianus to investigate the crime for him. Gordianus the Finder is the central character of the series, which culminates with The Triumph of Caesar and Gordianus' retirement.  Now Saylor is going back to explore Gordianus' life and adventures before Roman Blood with a series of prequels, starting with The Seven Wonders and now Raiders of the Nile. Further prequels are in the works.

In Raiders of the Nile Gordianus and his recently acquired slave, the beautiful Bethesda, are celebrating Gordianus' twenty-second birthday in the great city of Alexandria in Egypt. When Bethesda is abducted and held for ransom by bandits who have mistaken her for the mistress of a wealthy Egyptian, Gordianus is desperate to get her back. Using the skills taught to him by his father the Finder, he sets out in company with a clever young slave named Djet to penetrate the treacherous Nile Delta, where dangerous creatures both animal and human are known to lurk and ambush the unwary.

In order to find Bethesda, Gordianus pretends to be a criminal looking to join the notorious Cuckoo's Gang led by a bandit feared throughout Egypt.. He manages to join the gang, but his efforts to rescue Bethesda are threatened by the Cuckoo's infatuation with Bethesda and Gordianus' own curiosity about the Cuckoo and his audacious plan to snatch a great treasure out from under the very nose of Pharaoh.

Well researched, well-plotted and packed with action and interesting characters.

Click HERE for an interview with Steven Saylor.  Click HERE to visit his web site.


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