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A prequel to his epic Roma Sub Rosa series, The Seven Wonders follows series star Gordianus the Finder as an 18-year-old traveling the Mediterranean to witness the wonders of that fabled age. At each stop, the young investigator finds a beguiling mystery that pushes his powers of deduction to the limit.
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By Mark on 08-10-12
Interesting History, Not much of a story
I really wanted to love this book and was hoping it would propel me into the rest of Steven Saylors work b/c this is my first experience with his writing. In this book, Steven Saylor presents a history of the seven wonders of the ancient world in a narrative form that many could potentially find more engaging than setting out to read Herodotus on their own. However, the story is actually quite bad. The book fluctuates between interesting histories and a few lesser known sub-stories that are interrupted by a plot that is too easy. The result is a book that bounces unpredictably back-and-forth between being targeted at a historical audience and a seven year old. The fictional aspects of this historical fiction are just too easy - basically every mystery is a murder to which the reader is given no clues and which the protagonist suddenly explains at after he solves it. Then, each chapter ends with a quick reference to the fact that Gordianus not only solved a mystery, but oh yea, he also had sex.
I found Plunkett's performance to be bland and monotone. I am not sure if he was going for a subtlety of emotion/inflection or if he is just not very good (I have not listened to any of his other performances so I have no basis for comparison) but it comes across as monotone and occasionally awkwardly absent of emotion.
I would suggest this book for anyone who wants to learn about this particular historical niche, but I would advise staying away if you are looking for an exciting mystery or engaging historical fiction plot. The setting(s) really served as the main character for me (which is what earned the second star in the overall rating). This hasn't generated the excitement for Saylor's other works that I was hoping for. I will probably listen to one more of his works before deciding whether or not to bail on Saylor's writing.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By MMRudy on 07-30-12
Learning about the past
I've always enjoyed the political backdrop of Saylor's Finder books. Like them, "The Seven Wonders" is a not so subtle lesson in history. As our young protagonist, Gordianus, the Finder to be, visits the marvels of his age, he solves a mystery at each location. In addition, the listener is given a lecture about the Wonder in question. It's a fun way to absorb ancient history.
If you enjoyed the series and like history in small, not too dry, doses this listen will entertain you.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful