A Mist of Prophecies
A Novel of Ancient Rome
By Steven Saylor
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312271213, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 2002
Categories: Mystery & Detective - Historical
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During the Roman Civil War, as the forces of Pompey and Julius Caesar fight a series of battles in the provinces over control of the Republic, Rome itself is a hotbed of intrigue as those left behind wait for word. In this tentative and treacherous environment, a beautiful young seeress is murdered in the marketplace. Possibly mad and claiming no memory of her own past, Cassandra - like her namesake - is reputed to have had the true gift of prophecy and, as a result, she became a confidante of the rich and powerful.
Gordianus the Finder, who had become obsessed with the woman and her mystery, starts to investigate her murder. As the political situation in Rome continues to decay, the citizenry veers towards ruin, and everyone waits for word out in the far off fields of war, Gordianus begins to peel away the veils of secrecy that surround Cassandra's life and death. What lies underneath involves one, possibly many, of the most powerful women in Rome and the truth could not only put Gordianus's life in danger but affect the very future of Rome itself.
Steven Saylor has had a lifelong fascination with ancient Rome, from the drive-in movies of his boyhood (Cleopatra, Spartacus, Ben Hur), to his degree in history from the University of Texas, and through his appearances on the History Channel as an expert on Roman politics and life. He is the author of nine volumes in the Roma Sub Rosa series, most recently Last Seen in Massilia, as well as A Twist at the End, a historical novel set in 19th century Texas. He divides his time between Berkeley, California and Austin, Texas.
"As usual, Saylor's research is impeccable, but the history never distracts from the very human drama.... With this intelligent and compelling story, Saylor shows once again why fans of ancient historicals regard him as the leader of the field."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) “The problem with a writer with the brilliance of Steven Saylor is that he leaves almost impossible standards for other writers to measure up to. With A Mist of Prophecies, Saylor exceeds even his usual standards of excellence.”
--El Paso Times “Vivid and robust...exquisite detail and powerful drama.”
--Philadelphia Inquirer “If you want to visit Rome—ancient Rome—this is the way to go!” --Oklahoman “It would be impossible to imagine a more stellar lineup of suspects in all imperial Rome.” --Kirkus Reviews “A fascinating work!” --Midwest Book Review “One of the best mystery series being published today...A pitch-perfect work...gripping prose.” --Austin Chronicle “Saylor writes with such easy grace that the politics of these vicious times become as captivating to the reader as the mystery of Cassandra’s life and violent death.” --Tampa Tribune & Times "A gritty depiction of the underbelly of the great city in its heyday...The secret history of Rome has never been so fascinating.” --Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian