Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: The Seven Wonders

 The Seven Wonders is the latest in Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series, set in ancient Rome. There are now 13 books in the series. This one, though, instead of being a sequel, is a prequel. It takes readers back to the beginning, or actually, before the beginning of the series.

In The Seven Wonders, the protagonist, Gordianus, is 18 years old and he sets off with Antipater of Sidon as his guide. Their journey takes them on a tour of the Seven Wonders of the World. Of course, as readers, we go along on the journey.

I found the book fascinating. We're taken back to the year 92 B.C. as we travel with Gordianus and Antipater to Greece and Asia Minor to Babylon and Egypt. We see the beginnings of the Olympic Games. We not only see the wonders of the world, we go inside them. We're introduced to the politics of the time.

Discovery by discovery, experience by experience, we follow Gordianus as he comes of age. There are murders; travel by sea, foot and camel; plotting; love; new experiences; and unexpected twists.

What I most enjoyed was seeing the Seven Wonders. I've never seen even one in real life. Through this book, I saw them all and got to see what they looked like centuries ago, both inside and out. I also got to see the beginnings of the Olympics and the people of this time period.

Saylor shows all of this through the action, conversation, and eyes of the characters. He does it without teaching or preaching. For me, it was a page-turner of a book.


I give The Seven Wonders a rating of Hel-of-a-Book.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the Texas Book Festival. They did not request or expect a review. I received the book because I was the Moderator for Steven Saylor's talk at the Festival. I read it before the Festival and meeting Saylor. Now that I have met him, I can tell you that he is brilliant. It's amazing how much he knows about this time period. He's also very friendly and a great speaker. Go hear him if he ever comes to your town.


  1. That sounds fascinating! I love ancient history and wondering what the Wonders would have been like when first created.

  2. Even at the time when this book is set, some of the wonders are beginning to be covered with sand, for example. But you really do get to "see" things that are no longer available for the average person to see. Saylor really did his research.

  3. Sounds good! The Seven Wonders, fresh and new.

    1. It some ways the book made me think, well, I don't need to see them in person now since I've visited them through this book. But in other ways, it made me want to see all that is left of them.

  4. I wonder if you could start with this one?


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