Buying Options

Kindle Price: $11.99

Save $7.00 (37%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

You've subscribed to ! We will preorder your items within 24 hours of when they become available. When new books are released, we'll charge your default payment method for the lowest price available during the pre-order period.
Update your device or payment method, cancel individual pre-orders or your subscription at
Your Memberships & Subscriptions

Buy for others

Give as a gift or purchase for a team or group.
Learn more

Buying and sending eBooks to others

Select quantity
Buy and send eBooks
Recipients can read on any device

Additional gift options are available when buying one eBook at a time.  Learn more

These ebooks can only be redeemed by recipients in the US. Redemption links and eBooks cannot be resold.

Quantity: 
This item has a maximum order quantity limit.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Share <Embed>
Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.
The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World (Novels of Ancient Rome Book 1) by [Steven Saylor]

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World (Novels of Ancient Rome Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 395 ratings

Price
New from Used from
Kindle
$11.99

Virtual experiences for $15 or less
Amazon Explore Browse now
Next 4 for you in this series See full series
Total Price: $49.96
By clicking on the above button, you agree to Amazon's Kindle Store Terms of Use

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I
Prelude in Rome:
THE DEAD MAN WHO WASN’T
 
 
“Now that you’re dead, Antipater, what do you plan to do with yourself?”
My father laughed at his own joke. He knew perfectly well what Antipater was planning to do, but he couldn’t resist a paradoxical turn of phrase. Puzzles were my father’s passion—and solving them his profession. He called himself Finder, because men hired him to find the truth.
Not surprisingly, old Antipater answered with a poem made up on the spot; for yes, the Antipater of whom I speak was
the Antipater of Sidon—one of the most celebrated poets in the world, famed not only for the elegance of his verses but for the almost magical way he could produce them impromptu, as if drawn from the aether. His poem was in Greek, of course:
“I died on my birthday, so I must leave Rome.
Now your son has his birthday—is it time to leave home?”
Antipater’s question, like my father’s, was merely rhetorical. For days the old poet and I had been making preparations to leave Rome together on this day. He gave me a smile. “It does seem unfair, my boy, that your birthday should be overshadowed by my funeral.”
I resisted the urge to correct him. Despite his lingering habit of addressing me as a boy, I was in fact a man, and had been so for exactly a year, since I put on my manly toga when I turned seventeen. “What better way to celebrate my birthday, Teacher, than to set out on a journey such as most people can only dream of?”
“Well put!” Antipater squeezed my shoulder. “It’s not every young man who can look forward to seeing with his own eyes the greatest monuments ever built by mankind, and in the company of mankind’s greatest poet.” Antipater had never been modest. Now that he was dead, I suppose he had no reason to be.
“And it’s not every man who has the privilege of gazing upon his own funeral stele,” my father said, indicating with a wave of his hand the object of which he spoke.
The three of us stood in the garden of my father’s house on the Esquiline Hill. The sky was cloudless and the air was warm for the month of Martius. In front of us—delivered only moments before from the sculptor’s workshop—stood a riddle in marble. It was a funeral stele for a man who was not dead. The rectangular tablet was elegantly carved and brightly painted, and only about a foot tall. Later it would be placed atop the sepulcher intended for the dead man’s ashes, but for now it was propped atop the crate in which it had been delivered.
Antipater nodded thoughtfully. “And not every man has the opportunity to design his own monument, as I have. You don’t think it’s
too irreverent, do you, Finder? I mean, we don’t want anyone to look at this stele and realize it’s a hoax. If anyone should surmise that I’ve faked my own death—”
“Stop worrying, old friend. Everything is going as we planned. Five days ago I entered your death in the register at the Temple of Libitina. Thanks to the rich matrons who send a slave to check the lists several times a day, word of your demise spread across Rome in a matter of hours. People assumed that your old friend and patron Quintus Lutatius Catulus must be in possession of your remains and in charge of the funeral arrangements. There was disbelief when it was discovered that a citizen as humble as myself had been named executor in your will, and that your remains were to be displayed in the vestibule of my house. But so it was. I summoned the undertakers to wash and perfume the body, purchased flowers, cypress sprigs, incense, and a very elegant bier—your will provided for all necessary expenses—and then I put your corpse on display in the vestibule. And what a turnout you’ve received! All the poets and half the politicians in Rome have come to pay their respects.”
Antipater flashed a wry smile. “My demise has allowed you to make the acquaintance of the best people in Rome, Finder—just the sort who are always getting dragged into court for murdering each other. I daresay this could prove a windfall for you—meeting so many potential new clients!”
My father nodded. “Everyone has come to have a look, it seems—except Catulus. Do you imagine your patron is sulking, because the will didn’t name him as executor?”
“More likely he’s been holding off, waiting until today to pay his respects—the day of the funeral—so that his visit will be as conspicuous as possible. Catulus may have the soul of a poet, but he has the instincts of a politician—”
Antipater fell silent at the sound of a knock at the front door.
“Another caller. I shall disappear at once.” Antipater hurried to the concealed door that gave access to a narrow chamber next to the vestibule, where a tiny crack in the wall served as a peephole and allowed him to observe all that transpired.
A moment later, my father’s doorkeeper—the only slave he owned at that time—appeared in the garden.
“You have a visitor, Master,” Damon wheezed. The constant flood of callers was running the poor old fellow ragged. He cleared his throat and I saw him concentrate, determined to get the name right. “Lintus Quitatius Catulus, former consul of the Republic, has come to pay his respects to the deceased.”
“Quintus Lutatius Catulus, I think you mean,” said my father indulgently. “Come, son, let us greet the consul.”
The man in the vestibule was perhaps sixty years old. Like my father and me, he was dressed in a black toga, but his was embroidered with a purple band that marked his status as a senator. Ten years ago Catulus had served as consul and commander of the legions; it was his army that annihilated the Cimbri at the battle of the Raudine Plain. But Catulus was also a man of culture and learning, and was said to have a sensitive nature. He stood stiffly upright before the funeral bier with his hands crossed before him.
My father introduced himself, and me as well, but Catulus hardly seemed to notice. “Your distinguished presence graces my home, Consul, though I regret the sadness of the occasion. Did you come alone?”
Catulus raised an eyebrow. “Of course not. I left my retinue outside, so that I could spend a moment alone with my old friend—face-to-face, so to speak. But alas, his face is covered.” Catulus gestured to the mask, made of wax, which concealed the face of the corpse. “Is it true that his features were damaged by the fall?”
“I’m afraid so,” said my father. “The undertakers did what they could to make him presentable, but the damage was such that I decided it was preferable to conceal the injuries. Normally, a death mask is made from the direct impression of the face in repose. But in this case, I hired a sculptor to create the likeness. The mask will be used in the funeral procession, as usual, but until then I’ve placed it over his face. I think the sculptor did a very good job, don’t you? It really does look like Antipater, lying there with his eyes shut, as if he slept. Still, if you wish to gaze upon his face.…”
Catulus nodded grimly. “I’m a military man, Finder. I’ve seen the most terrible things that can be done to human flesh. Show me.”
My father stepped to the bier and lifted the death mask.
The staid consul’s abrupt, girlish shriek, stifled by a fist to his mouth, was so incongruous that I almost laughed out loud. Behind the wall, I heard a noise like loose plaster falling, and imagined Antipater shaking with mirth.
Catulus glanced at the wall. My father shrugged and looked embarrassed, as if to apologize for the presence of rats.
“But how could a mere fall have resulted in such terrible disfigurement?” Catulus kept his fist pressed to his mouth. He looked a bit green.
“It was a long fall,” explained my father, “from the top floor of an apartment in the Subura, five stories up. He landed on his head. As I say, the undertakers did what they could—”
“Yes, I understand. Replace the mask, please.”
“Of course, Consul.”
Not for the first time, I wondered about the true identity of the corpse upon the bier. My father had declined to tell me, following his long-standing practice of keeping to himself any aspect of his work that he deemed unnecessary for me to know. When I turned seventeen, I had thought my father might see fit to share all his secrets with me, but if anything, he had become more guarded than ever during the last year. I knew that something very dangerous must be afoot in Rome, for Antipater to fake his own death, and for my father to assist him in such a wild scheme, but regarding the details, I had been kept in the dark.
The elderly body on the bier was apparently an excellent match for Antipater; not one of the many visitors had expressed the least doubt. Of course, the only parts of the corpse that were visible were the long white hair and beard and the wrinkled, age-spotted hands crossed over the chest, the rest being covered by one of Antipater’s favorite garments and by the mask. The man truly had died from a fall in the Subura, just as my father described, cracking his skull and shattering his face. Had he been a slave, discreetly acquired from his owner? Or some lowlife criminal whom no one cared to claim? Or simply some ancient citizen of the Subura without family or friends to mourn him? Whoever he was, he had died at the right time and in such a manner that he could be passed off as Antipater. In a way, my father had done the poor fellow a favor; the dead man had been mourned by the best people in Rome and was about to receive funeral rites far above his station.
&...
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

STEVEN SAYLOR is the author of acclaimed historical mystery novels featuring Gordianus the Finder, including The Triumph of Caesar, as well as the internationally bestselling historical novels Empire and Roma.  He has appeared on the History Channel as an expert on Roman politics and life.  He divides his time between Berkeley, California and Austin, Texas.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B006JJVLHW
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Minotaur Books; First edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 5, 2012
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1220 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 395 ratings

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Steven Saylor is the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder, set in the ancient Rome of Cicero, Caesar, and Cleopatra. The latest book is THRONE OF CAESAR, in which Gordianus confronts the Ides of March, 44 B.C., and the most famous murder case in history.

There have also been three prequels—THE SEVEN WONDERS, which follows the 18-year-old Gordianus on his journey to the Seven Wonders of the World; RAIDERS OF THE NILE, in which young Gordianus, living in Egypt, finds himself drawn into a plot to steal the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great; and WRATH OF THE FURIES, in which young Gordianus finds himself in Ephesus on the eve of King Mithridates' mass slaughter of every Roman man, woman, and child.

To read the books of the ROMA SUB ROSA series in chronological order, begin with the prequels, and then ROMAN BLOOD, THE HOUSE OF THE VESTALS (short stories), A GLADIATOR DIES ONLY ONCE (short stories), ARMS OF NEMESIS , CATILINA'S RIDDLE, THE VENUS THROW, A MURDER ON THE APPIAN WAY, RUBICON, LAST SEEN IN MASSILIA, A MIST OF PROPHECIES, THE JUDGMENT OF CAESAR, THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR, and THE THRONE OF CAESAR.

Steven is also the author of the international bestseller ROMA: THE NOVEL OF ANCIENT ROME and its follow-up, EMPIRE: THE NOVEL OF IMPERIAL ROME. These two epic novels comprise a multi-generational saga that spans the first 1200 years of the city, from Iron Age trading post to the height of the empire under Hadrian. A third volume (making this series a trilogy) is on the way.

Outside the Roman books are two novels set in Steven's native Texas. A TWIST AT THE END is based on America's first recorded serial murders, which terrorized Austin, Texas in 1885. The chief protagonist is young Will Porter, who later became famous as O. Henry. HAVE YOU SEEN DAWN? is a contemporary thriller set in a small Texas town; Steven calls it "autobiography done with mirrors."

Three "chapbooks" published as e-books collect Steven's scattered essays and short stories: A BOOKISH BENT; FUTURE, PRESENT, PAST; and MY MOTHER'S GHOST: THREE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAYS &amp; A SHORT STORY.

Steven's books have been published in 22 languages, and book tours have taken him across the United States, England, and Europe. He has appeared as an expert on Roman life on The History Channel, and has spoken at numerous college campuses, The Getty Villa, and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel.

Steven was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics. He divides his time between homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas. When not using his brain, he likes to keep in shape running, swimming, and lifting weights.

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
395 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2020
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2018
3 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2021
2 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2017
6 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )Verified Purchase
6 people found this helpful
Report abuse

Top reviews from other countries

Clemens A. Schoonderwoert
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Educational Wonder!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2022
Iain S. Palin
4.0 out of 5 stars The young Gordianus touring and sleuthing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2013
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
John Hopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful portrayal of the Seven Wonders, but only average as a novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 25, 2014
Simon Binning
4.0 out of 5 stars Prequel to a great series; brings new depth to the main character
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2014
Josi David
5.0 out of 5 stars if you love the series you'll love this one too
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2016
Report an issue

Does this item contain inappropriate content?
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright?
Does this item contain quality or formatting issues?