Book: The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor
Reviewed by: Chris M.
In order to give you an accurate review of my experience with Steven Saylor’s latest novel, I must be honest; historical fiction is not my cup of tea. That being said, mysteries and private investigators are most definitely a cup of tea that I willingly guzzle all the time, and in The Seven Wonders Saylor seamlessly blends the scope and detail of top quality historical fiction with the suspense and brutishness of a good mystery.
The Seven Wonders is a prequel to Steven Saylor’s long running mystery series featuring ancient Roman private eye Gordianus the Finder. This being my first experience with Saylor’s work, I was a bit worried that this novel would leave me feeling like an outsider due to my lack of prerequisites, but that was most certainly not the case. An older, wiser Gordianus narrates the novel, and Saylor does an excellent job of illustrating the youthful wonder of a young man who is seeing the world for the first time. Because of this, the novel feels like the untold beginning of tales of Gordianus, and as a reader I felt welcomed into a strange new world because the world being described is strange and new to the young Gordianus.
True to its name, The Seven Wonders follows Gordianus as he travels to each and every wonder of the world accompanied by his tutor, and world famous Greek poet, Antipater (who has faked his own death and is traveling in disguise). Beginning with the Temple of Artemis, where Gordianus witnesses a most peculiar murder, and ending at The Great Pyramid in Egypt, where the curse of the mummy rears its ugly head, Gordianus and Antipater’s travels prove to be both treacherous and eye-opening.
In all honesty, I never expected to enjoy The Seven Wonders half as much as I did. Steven Saylor’s attention to detail, clever prose, and ability to pack these few hundred pages with mystery after mystery won me over, and now I can’t get enough. This is a truly great introduction to a long-standing character, and from here I plan on reading every Gordianus book I can get my hands on. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of The Seven Wonders, and join us at Book People on Monday, June 4th 7p when Steven Saylor will be here speaking and signing his new novel.