The Seven Wonders (Ancient World)
by Steven Saylor
Cover Artist: Miguel Coimbra
Review by Mel Jacob
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312359843
Date: 05 June 2012 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Steven Saylor takes the reader on a journey of the ancient world to see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Some lie in ruins as Gordianus, a young Roman, and his companion, the supposedly deceased Antipater of Sidon, a famous Greek poet, who is his tutor, arrive at them. As they investigate each of the Seven Wonders, Gordianus becomes involves in solving various crimes or puzzles.
Antipater has faked his own death at the start of the adventure and is traveling incognito. He has arranged lodgings with a variety of different friends for each of their stops. They are all sworn to secrecy about his survival. Later, Gordianous sees a possible sinister aspect to these places and friends.
Episodic, the novel follows Gordianus as he grows from a callow youth into a mature young man. Some of the episodes were first published as short stories. He also often manages a liaison with women at each of the Wonders. Except for his wealth, one wonders what the sophisticated, older women find so attractive about the callow youth beyond his wealth, and status as a Roman citizen. The encounters are brief and not described in detail.
Little escapes Gordianusí notice. With logic and his observations, he successfully unmasks murderers and spies. However, the biggest mystery is saved for the end.
The Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria provides the scene of the climax and has more violence than the other incidents. For the most part, Gordianus is never in serious danger. The same cannot be said for others.
Those who enjoy reading about the world during the reign of the Romans will find much of interest. New York Times best-selling author Saylor, noted for his extensive research, has authored twelve Roma Sub Rosa novels featuring Gordianus as The Finder. The Seven Wonders is a prequel to those twelve.