Friday, July 20, 2012

The Seven Wonders

The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor

Many years ago I read A Twist at the End by Saylor where he featured the writer O'Henry as a the protagonist of a fictional story. I enjoyed it a lot, but since most of his other books were mysteries set in ancient Rome, which didn't interest me at the time, I didn't consider reading anything else by him until now.

Saylor's new book The Seven Wonders is a prequel to his Roma Sub Rosa series which features Gordianus, a Sherlock Holmes-type character with an uncanny ability to solve mysteries and riddles. As I mentioned, I haven't read any of that series, but since this is a story that takes place chronologically before that series began, and since I enjoyed his the other book so much, I figured it was time to read another book by him and this was an obvious book with which to start.

In the year 92 B.C. Gordianus has just turned 18 and is embarking on the trip of a lifetime. His teacher Antipater has made plans to take him through Greece, Asia Minor, Babylon, and Egypt to see the seven man-made structures that have been given the distinction of being called the Seven Wonders of the World. During each of the stops along his journey, Gordianus finds himself exposed to some sort of mystery which reveals in him an uncanny ability to deduce and solve riddles. These characteristics will eventually earn him the title of "the Finder" as he's known in the Roma Sub Rose series.

The book was very good. It was both entertaining and educational. Each of the chapters contains its own mystery for Gordianus to solve which kept the pace of the story moving very quickly. But equally enjoyable to me was all of the information Saylor provided about those ancient wonders--which with the exception of the Great Pyramids are no longer around for us see and experience. I plan to read more of Gordianus's adventures soon.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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