Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor

Cover of Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor

Cover of Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor

Wrath of the Furies is the third book in Steven Saylor’s series set in the ancient world, featuring his Roman detective, Gordianus the Finder, as a young man.  King Mithridates, who has conquered most of the Roman provinces in Asia, has recently established his court in Ephesus and begun persecuting the Romans in the city.  Gordianus, who has been living a comfortable life in Alexandria following the events of the previous book, Raiders of the Nile, receives a page from the diary of his former tutor, the poet Antipater of Sidon, which indicates that Antipater, who is now in Ephesus, is in great danger.  He knows the page did not come from Antipater himself, since they had parted on bad terms, but someone is obviously trying to get him to Ephesus.  In spite of a fortune teller’s warning, the chance to save Antipater is too tempting for Gordianus, and he leaves for Ephesus, but since his Roman accent would put him in danger of persecution, he pretends to be mute and brings his beloved Bethesda with him to act as his voice. 

When he arrives in Ephesus, he discovers a plot to massacre all the Romans in Mithridates’ kingdom on a single day.   The king plans a human sacrifice to appease the Furies before the massacre, and he needs a mute witness for the sacrifice, so Gordianus is brought to the palace to be the witness.  He finds several potential allies, including a former Roman consul living at Mithridates’ court, a Jewish man nicknamed Samson, who is possibly a spy, and the high priest of Artemis.  But can he trust anyone?  And where is Antipater?  Will Gordianus be able to stop the sacrifice and prevent the massacre of the Romans?

Wrath of the Furies is a suspenseful read and, like the others in the series, more of an adventure novel than a mystery.  The young Gordianus is an engaging protagonist, and I look forward to reading future volumes.  This book can be read independently, but reading the first two, The Seven Wonders and Raiders of the Nile, will add depth to the experience.  You will find out, for example, how Gordianus met his first love, Amestris, who plays an important role in this book, and why he and Antipater did not part on the best of terms.

See my review of Raiders of the Nile: http://www.lib.umich.edu/blogs/lost-stacks/raiders-nile-steven-saylor

Wrath of the Furies is available from the Browsing Collection in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library: http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/013998202

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