Steven Saylor books in order
Steven Saylor is a New York Times, and International bestselling author of historical mystery, historical fiction and non-fiction books.
He is best known for writing the internationally bestsellers Roma (2007), and Empire (2010), the first and second installments of the Rome Series.
Born in Texas, he attended University of Texas at Austin where he studied history and Classics, graduating with high honors.
His books have been translated into 22 languages, selling multiple copies across the globe.
Besides writing, Saylor has offered his expertise on Roman life on The History Channel, and has also given talks in multiple college campuses, The Getty Villa, and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel.
The author currently splits his time between his homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.
Whenever he is free, Saylor likes to swim, shape run and lift weights.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Non-fiction
- A Twist at the End (2000)
- Have You Seen Dawn? (2003)
- The Seven Wonders (2012)
- Raiders of the Nile (2014)
- Wrath of the Furies (2015)
- My Mother's Ghost (2013)
- Future, Present, Past (2013)
- A Bookish Bent: Essays About Reading, Writing, and George W. Bush's Close Call on the Running Trail (2013)
Roma Sub Rosa
- Roman Blood (1991)
- Arms of Nemesis (1992)
- Catilina's Riddle (1993)
- The Venus Throw (1995)
- A Murder On the Appian Way (1996)
- The House of the Vestals (1997)
- Rubicon (1999)
- Last Seen in Massilia (2000)
- A Mist of Prophecies (2002)
- The Judgement of Caesar (2004)
- A Gladiator Dies Only Once (2005)
- The Triumph of Caesar (2009)
- The Throne of Caesar (2018)
- Roma (2007)
- Empire (2010)
- Dominus (2021)
Detailed book overview
Austin, Texas, in 1885 is a place of dust and dreams, quick riches, and wild desires. But "the Servant girl Annihilators" are also making it a city of fear. The first victim, a mulatto housekeeper, is torn from her bed and murdered. Six more women will die, including pretty blond Eula Phillips, who is bank clerk's Will Porter's lover.
Over a decade later, living in New York as O. Henry, Will cannot escape his memories--or a blackmailer's merciless demands. Then a mysterious letter invites him back to Texas to follow the dark path of a sadistic killer and make a stunning discover as he is forced to confront the demons of his own tormented mind...
NB: This book is also known as Honour the Dead.
When young Rue Dunwitty travels from San Francisco back to Texas to visit her wheelchair-bound grandmother, she quickly discovers that something is terribly wrong in the little town of Amethyst.
Her unease begins when she see signs posted all over town with a photo of a missing high school student and the haunting question, “Have You Seen Dawn?” Then, in the middle of the night, from the window of the bedroom where she grew up, Rue see what appears to be a moving flashlight in the fields surrounding an abandoned house on the outskirts of town.
A series of seemingly small discoveries gradually turn Rue’s unease into dread. Someone in Amethyst is hiding a ghastly secret—and it seems that Rue is the person destined to uncover the awful truth. A web of white lies and unexplained movements make her suspicious of almost every man around her. Which of them was behind the disappearance of Dawn, and what happened to the pretty young teenager? Unless she can discover the truth in time, it looks like Rue will face the same harrowing fate…
The year is 92 B.C. Gordianus has just turned eighteen and is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Gordianus is not yet called "the Finder"―but at each of the Seven Wonders, the wide-eyed young Roman encounters a mystery to challenge the powers of deduction.
Accompanying Gordianus on his travels is his tutor, Antipater of Sidon, the world's most celebrated poet. But there is more to the apparently harmless old poet than meets the eye. Before they leave home, Antipater fakes his own death and travels under an assumed identity. Looming in the background are the first rumblings of a political upheaval that will shake the entire Roman world.
Teacher and pupil journey to the fabled cities of Greece and Asia Minor, and then to Babylon and Egypt. They attend the Olympic Games, take part in exotic festivals, and marvel at the most spectacular constructions ever devised by mankind. Along the way they encounter murder, witchcraft and ghostly hauntings.
Traveling the world for the first time, Gordianus discovers that amorous exploration goes hand-in-hand with crime-solving. The mysteries of love are the true wonders of the world, and at the end of the journey, an Eighth Wonder awaits him in Alexandria. Her name is Bethesda.
Gordianus is now twenty-two years old and living in Alexandria with Bethesda, scraping by in modest and haphazard fashion. But then Bethesda is kidnapped by mistake. With few resources available to him, Gordianus has to find the people who kidnapped her and get her back - before they realise they have the wrong woman and dispose of her for good.
A raid on the golden tomb of Alexander the Great, a semi-shady troupe of travelling performers, highwaymen, amorous innkeepers, the politics of the pharaohs, smugglers, camels and an adventure up the Nile all combine to make this a rescue mission neither Gordianus - or Bethesda - will ever forget.
In 88 B.C., it seems as if the entire ancient world is at war. In the west, the Italian states are rebelling against Rome; in the east, Mithridates is marching through and conquering the Roman Asian provinces. Even in the relatively calm Alexandria, a coup has brought a new Pharaoh to power and chaos to the streets. The young Gordianus has been waiting out the chaos in Alexandria, with Bethesda, when he gets a cryptic message from his former tutor and friend, Antipater. Now in Ephesus, as part of Mithridates' entourage, Antipater seems to think that his life is in imminent danger.
To rescue him, Gordianus concocts a daring, even foolhardy, scheme to go "behind enemy lines" and bring Antipater to safety. But there are powerful, and deadly forces, at work here, which have their own plans for Gordianus. Not entirely sure whether he's a player or a pawn, Gordianus must unravel the mystery behind the message if he's to save himself and the people he holds most dear.
Steven Saylor usually writes about people who lived long ago and far away—USA Today calls him “a modern master of historical fiction”—but in these remarkably revealing essays he turns an insightful gaze on his own life, ruminating on his mother’s death, his Texas hometown, and his marriage to another man. These three essays, says Saylor, “may be the closest thing to an autobiography that I’ll ever write.”
Also included is the prize-winning short story “Kinder, Gentler,” a rare piece of autobiographical fiction written when Saylor lived on Castro Street in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS crisis.
The author USA Today calls “a modern master of historical fiction” presents three short stories from three different genres—science fiction, murder mystery, historical fiction—set in three different times, from the near future, to the present, to more than two thousand years ago.
In “Insecticide,” John Moreland faces a problem: cockroaches. Hundreds of them, thousands of them, everywhere in his apartment. But all problems have a solution—or so we would like to think. When an exterminator pays a call, Moreland believes his problem is over. But John Moreland’s problems are just beginning…
Set in a not-too-distant future which seems uncannily like today, “Insecticide” was first published decades ago, but now seems more timely, and more chilling, than ever.
“Murder Myth-Begotten” is set not in the distant past, but in modern-day Berkeley, California—where author Steven Saylor happens to live. But the story nonetheless draws from Classical myth, as a brother and sister, inspired by the revenge killings of ancient Greek drama, decide to exact revenge on their own mother. But once you decide to embrace the values of the ancient Greeks, the Fates may have some unpleasant surprises in store…
In “The Eagle and the Rabbit,” the year is 146 B.C. For centuries, war has raged between Rome and Carthage. But at last the walls of Carthage have been breached. Its temples have been looted and burned. Its citizens have been massacred.
Rome’s triumph appears absolute. But in the desert south of the smoldering ruins of Carthage, scattered survivors are still at large, desperate but free. Roman mercenaries are dispatched to hunt them down. When captured, the survivors are subjected to a forced march designed to weed out the weak and crush the will of the strong.
Separated from the other captives, two young Carthaginians are made to endure to a special series of ordeals—not only punishments, but temptations as well. One is dubbed the Eagle, the other the Rabbit. The choices they make could destroy them both—or lead one of them to freedom. But to win his freedom, the Eagle must pay a terrible price.
Steven Saylor usually writes about people who lived long ago and far away—USA Today calls him “a modern master of historical fiction.” But as he notes in the introduction to this volume, “Even the writer with the most powerful bent for producing fiction will from time to time turn to nonfiction instead. One is asked to review a book, or to interview a fellow author. One feels compelled to pay homage to a mentor, or to reflect on the writing process itself.”
A Bookish Bent collects a baker’s dozen of essays written over a period of almost twenty years, beginning in 1992 when Saylor was asked to interview the poet Thom Gunn. All these essays have a connection to reading or writing—including “On Big Trucks, Bush, and Bikes,” which begins at the Texas Book Festival in Austin but ends with a chilling reflection on the accident that might have prevented the presidency of George W. Bush and changed history.
History is at the center of essays like “Caesar’s Legacy and Its Twilight.” Other pieces explore Agatha Christie’s sole foray into the historical mystery genre, the vanishing reputation of detective fiction giant Stuart Palmer, the legend of the London Monster, the state of the mystery short story, and the peculiar allure of the works of archaeologist-cum-thriller writer Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
Saylor also reflects on the origins of his popular Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, sleuth of ancient Rome. An invitation to publish a piece called “Why I Write” in Publishers Weekly led to more soul-searching than he expected. “Why do I write? The answer surprised even me.”
Roma Sub Rosa
In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on a case involving the savage murder of the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius. Charged with the murder is Sextus's son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.
The case becomes a political nightmare when Gordianus's investigation takes him through the city's raucous, pungent streets and deep into rural Umbria. Now, one man's fate may threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.
The hideously disfigured body was found in the atrium. The only clues are a blood-soaked cloak, and, carved into the stone at the corpse's feet, the word Sparta. The murdered man was the overseer of Marcus Crassus's estate, apparently killed by two runaway slaves bent on joining Spartacus's revolt.
In response to the murder, the wealthy, powerful Crassus vows to honor an ancient law and kill his ninety-nine remaining slaves in three days. Now Gordianus the Finder has been summoned from Rome by a mysterious client to find out the truth about the murder before the three days are up.
Enmeshed in a world of desperate slaves and duplicitous masters, extravagant feasts and sordid secrets, Gordianus must risk all he loves, including his life, to stop a senseless slaughter-and save the very future of Rome itself.
Gordianus, disillusioned by the corruption of Rome circa 63 B.C., has fled the city with his family to live on a farm in the Etruscan countryside. But this bucolic life is disrupted by the machinations and murderous plots of two politicians: Roman consul Cicero, Gordianus's longtime patron, and populist senator Catilina, Cicero's political rival and a candidate to replace him in the annual elections for consul. Claiming that Catilina plans an uprising if he loses the race, Cicero asks Gordianus to keep a watchful eye on the radical.
Although he distrusts both men, Gordianus is forced into the center of the power struggle when his six-year-old daughter Diana finds a headless corpse in their stable. Shrewdly depicting deadly political maneuverings, this addictive mystery also displays the author's firm grasp of history and human character.
On a chill January evening in 56 B.C., two strange visitors to Rome - an Egyptian ambassador and a eunuch priest - seek out Gordianus the Finder whose specialty is solving murders. But the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, has come to ask for something Gordianus cannot give - help in staying alive. Before the night is out, he will be murdered.
Now Gordianus begins his most dangerous case. Hired to investigate Dio's death by a beautiful woman with a scandalous reputation, he will follow a trail of political intrigue into the highest circles of power and the city's most hidden arenas of debauchery. There Gordianus will learn nothing is as it seems - not the damning evidence he uncovers, not the suspect he sends to trial, not even the real truth behind Dio's death which lies in secrets - not of state, but of the heart.
Torchlight flickers on the elegant marble walls. The sound of a mob echoes in the street. The year is 52 B.C. and the naked body of Publius Clodius is about to be carried through the teaming streets of Rome. Clodius, a rich man turned rabble-rouser, was slain on the most splendid road in the world, the Appian Way. Now Clodius's rival, Milo, is being targeted for revenge and the city teeters on the verge of chaos.
An explosive trial will feature the best oration of Cicero and Marc Antony, while Gordianus the Finder has been charged by Pompey the Great himself to look further into the murder. With the Senate House already in ashes, and his own life very much in danger, Gordianus must return to a desrted stretch of the Appian Way - to find the truth that can save a city drunk on power, rent by fear, and filled with the madness and glory of Rome.
Wonderfully entertaining mystery stories set in the world of the acclaimed ROMA SUB ROSA series. It is the Rome of the Late Republic, and Gordianus the Finder has a knack for finding trouble - and dead bodies. Known to many as the one man in the ancient world who can both keep a secret and uncover one, Gordianus lays bare some of his most intriguing adventures in this new volume in Steven Saylor's highly acclaimed mystery series.
In 'Little Caesar and the Pirates', Gordianus must act as a go-between for kidnappers, but he begins to wonder who is really being held hostage; in 'The Alexandrian Cat', a mischievous girl and a tell-tale sneeze reveal an ingenious plot of murder and thievery; and in 'The House of the Vestals', blackmail goes horribly wrong and there is no one to take the blame
As Caesar marches on Rome and panic erupts in the city, Gordianus the Finder discovers, in his own home, the body of Pompey's favorite cousin. Before fleeing the city, Pompey exacts a terrible bargain from the finder of secrets-to unearth the killer, or sacrifice his own son-in-law to service in Pompey's legions, and certain death.
Amid the city's sordid underbelly, Gordianus learns that the murdered man was a dangerous spy. Now, as he follows a trail of intrigue, betrayal, and ferocious battles on land and sea, the Finder is caught between the chaos of war and the terrible truth he must finally reveal.
As civil war between Caesar and Pompey engulfs the Roman world, Gordianus the Finder receives an anonymous message informing him of the death of his son Meto who has been acting as a double agent for Caesar. The search for Meto's fate brings Gordianus to the besieged seaport of Massilia, which is stubbornly holding out against Caesar's troops.
As famine and slaughter threaten the blockaded city, Gordianus is drawn into the intrigues of exiled Romans and duplicitous Massilians. His only friend in the city, Hieronymous, has been made the doomed scapegoat elected by city officials to bear the sins of the populace and save them all from annihilation.
Meanwhile, Gordianus is constantly frustrated in his efforts to find out what happened to his son - and when he witnesses the fall of a young woman from a precipice outside the city called the Sacrifice Rock, then the plot begins to thicken...
In the year 48 B.C., Rome is in the midst of Civil War. As Pompey and Caesar fight for control of the Republic, Rome becomes a hotbed of intrigue, driven by espionage, greed and betrayals.
A beautiful young seeress staggers across the Roman marketplace and dies in the arms of Gordianus the Finder. Possibly mad and claiming no memory of her past, Cassandra― like her Trojan namesake―was reputed to have the gift of prophecy, a gift many in Rome would pay for handsomely...or resort to murder.
Obsessed with Cassandra's mystery, Gordianus investigates her murder. As he peels away the veils of secrecy surrounding her life and death, he discovers a web of conspiracy linking many of Rome's most ruthless and powerful women. Now Gordianus's pursuit not only endangers his own life, but could change the future of Rome.
Gordianus the Finder and his ailing wife Bethesda travel to Egypt - Bethesda's homeland - seeking a cure for her enduring, mysterious illness. They arrive as the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey is reaching its conclusion on its shores.
Captured by Pompey, but rescued by Ptolemy's men who kill Pompey for Caesar, Gordianus is caught in the middle of the struggle between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra, Caesar's seduction by Cleopatra, and the dying days of the Roman Republic.
When his wife disappears into the Nile, never to resurface, Gordianus must uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious occurrences if he is to find out what has happened to his wife, now presumed dead.
Set between the events of his novels Roman Blood and Catilina’s Riddle, these nine stories of previously untold adventures from the early career of Gordianus - when his adopted son, Eco, was still a mute boy and his wife, Bethesda, was but his slave - will delight Saylor’s many fans while illuminating details of the ancient world like no other writer can.
Included are “The Consul’s Wife”, which involves a twisted search for truth behind a threatening blind item in the Acta Diurna. In “The White Fawn”, Gordianus must deal with a kidnapping and murder during the revolt of Sertorius. “Archimedes’ Tomb” tells the story behind Cicero’s discovery of Archimedes’ tomb. Finally, “If a Cyclops Could Vanish in a Blink of an Eye” brings up a perplexing domestic situation in Gordianus’ own home.
The Roman civil war has come to its conclusion – Pompey is dead, Egypt is firmly under the control of Cleopatra (with the help of Rome's legions), and for the first time in many years Julius Caesar has returned to Rome itself. Appointed by the Senate as Dictator, the city abounds with rumors asserting that Caesar wishes to be made King – the first such that Rome has had in centuries. And that not all of his opposition has been crushed.
Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder' but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar's wife. Troubled by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead – murdered -- on her doorstep.
With four successive Triumphs for Caesar's military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies -- to protect Caesar's life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar's, Gordianus agrees to help – but only to find the murderer who killed his friend. But once an investigation is begun, there's no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end.
Julius Caesar, appointed dictator for life by the Roman Senate, has pardoned his remaining enemies and rewarded his friends. Now Caesar is preparing to leave Rome with his legions to wage a war of conquest against the Parthian Empire. But he has a few more things to do before he goes.
Gordianus the Finder, after decades of investigating crimes and murders involving the powerful, has been raised to Equestrian rank and has firmly and finally decided to retire. But on the morning of March 10th, he’s first summoned to meet with Cicero and then with Caesar himself.
Both have the same request of Gordianus―keep your ear to the ground, ask around, and find out if there are any conspiracies against Caesar’s life. And Caesar has one other matter of vital importance to discuss. Gordianus’s adopted son Meto has long been one of Caesar’s closest confidants.
To honor Meto, Caesar plans to bestow on Gordianus an honor which will change not only his life but the destiny of his entire family. It will happen when the Senate next convenes on the 15th of March.
Gordianus must dust off his old skills and see what plots against Julius Caesar, if any, he can uncover. But more than one conspiracy is afoot. The Ides of March is fast approaching and at least one murder is inevitable.
Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.
Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city's first thousand years ― from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome's astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history.
Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome's republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.
Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome's first families, the Potitius and Pinarius clans: One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself.
Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome's empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more.
Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire, the persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel's heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii.
Steven Saylor once again brings the ancient world to vivid life in a novel that tells the story of a city and a people that has endured in the world's imagination like no other.
A.D. 165: The empire of Rome has reached its pinnacle. Universal peace―the Pax Roma―reigns from Britannia to Egypt, from Gaul to Greece. Marcus Aurelius, as much a philosopher as he is an emperor, oversees a golden age in the city of Rome. The ancient Pinarius family and their workshop of artisans embellish the richest and greatest city on earth with gilded statues and towering marble monuments. Art and reason flourish. But history does not stand still.
The years to come bring wars, plagues, fires, and famines. The best emperors in history are succeeded by some of the worst. Barbarians descend in endless waves, eventually appearing before the gates of Rome itself. The military seizes power and sells the throne to the highest bidder. Chaos engulfs the empire.
Through it all, the Pinarius family endures, thanks in no small part to the protective powers of the fascinum, a talisman older than Rome itself, a mystical heirloom handed down through countless generations.
But an even greater upheaval is yet to come. On the fringes of society, troublesome cultists disseminate dangerous and seditious ideas. They insist that everyone in the world should worship only one god, their god. They call themselves Christians. Some emperors deal with the Christians with toleration, others with bloody persecution. Then one emperor does the unthinkable. He becomes a Christian himself. His name is Constantine, and the revolution he sets in motion will change the world forever.