"Arms of Nemesis" is a Gordianus the Finder whodunit set in ancient Rome near the end of the Republic at the time of the Sparticus slave rebellion. The story is set eight years after Saylor's "Roman Blood". Gordianus the down-on-the-heels Roman detective is hired by Crassus, the richest man in Rome to investigate the murder of one of his factotums by slaves. However, if Gordianus proves the innocence of the slaves he may unravel his employer's political ambitions.
Hard-boiled detective mysteries are pretty formulaic-Gordianus is soft-boiled Truth, justice and the Roman-way are more important to him then silver. This novel is Grisham-esque mixing murder, money, and corporate politics Roman style. Saylor continues to write well. His description of the Roman funeral rites, and the drugged Sybil were particularly good. His violence and action passages continue to be a bit weak. In addition, homosexual relations receive more development then straight sex in this story. I'm a little disappointed with the author's legerdemain to keep the murderer's identity secret until the end.
"Arms of Nemesis" is good. However, it is not as good as Saylor's first novel "Roman Blood". Historical murder mystery readers will enjoy it for its accuracy and detail.
This is a very well written and entertaining "whodunit" that takes place during the time of the Roman Empire. The plot is quite interesting (unless the true murderer is found, 95 slaves will be sacrificed for politcal reasons), the characters are well presented and you learn quite a bit about everyday life in a little town. I found the mystery quite good and it made me feel like reading books by the same author. The ending and the solution to the murders were quite convincing, The P.I. - if you want to call him that - was interesting and quite believable in the way how he was able to solve the crimes. There is quite a bit of criticism of the slavery system, I guess even in these days, when the Roman Empire needed slaves desperately to keep the whole system running, there were people who did not feel comfortable about it. All in all, quite recommendable and enjoyable.
Gordianus is back in Steven Saylor's second book in his Roma Sub Rosa series of Ancient Rome. I found the character Marcus Crassus well pleasing in his no nonsense and heavy handed way that he portarys himself. The other characters are well thouht out to add to the story. I like character Gordianus all the more because of his nature, His adopted son Eco adds to the story by helping his father in his investigation. The story moves very well and keeps you guessing as to how Gordianus will solve the mystery, even the ending has Gordianus thinking he has the answer to the murder.
This is the second book in the series after Roman Blood. It is almost as good, but I was slightly disappointed for two reasons: - 10 years have passed after the end of Roman Blood. I would have liked to read more about Gordianus at the beginning of his career and especially about Eco as a boy - the "whodunnit" was rather obvious from page 150 on Still a very good read, with interesting characters and vivid, sensual descriptions.
I enjoyed this book very much. Yet I found the main character's way of addressing slavery to be very out of keeping with the time the book was set in. A Roman man would have thought nothing of the slaves' plight, but it is a modern historical fiction piece after all. Worth reading, decent mystery. If not for the Roman setting and historical detail though, I'm not sure anything would stand out about his mysteries.