The Seven Wonders Review
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Author Steven Saylor has already written several novels and short stories about the Roman detective known as Giordanus the Finder. Now, in The Seven Wonders, he takes a look back at his beloved character’s youth, mixing ancient history, mythology, and a number of short mysteries to explore some of the most famous monuments of the ancient world.

Just a year ago, Giordanus of Rome became a man. Now, at 18, he’s embarking on a journey to see the famed Seven Wonders of the World, accompanied by his tutor, the famous poet, Antipater. For some reason—of which Giordanus is not aware—old Antipater has chosen to fake his own death and travel incognito. Fortunately, though, he still has several trusted friends and family members who are happy to welcome the weary travelers into their homes.

The lengthy journey takes Giordanus and Antipater from Greece to Babylon to Egypt, with visits to the Olympic Games and the ruins of the city of Corinth along the way. And, at each stop, the two men encounter a new mystery, which curious young Giordanus eagerly sets out to solve.

Each chapter of The Seven Wonders reads much like a separate short story, following Giordanus and his brilliant old tutor as they explore another one of the Wonders, encountering a new mystery in each new city. Some of the mysteries are simpler than others. Some, in fact, are barely mysteries at all, with their solutions almost instantly apparent. But each new adventure gives Giordanus another chance to show off his skills of deduction.

While each short mystery does add some action and intrigue to the novel, though, they simply can’t compete with Saylor’s carefully researched travelogue of the ancient world. If you’ve ever wished that you could travel back in time to see the Seven Wonders for yourself, you’ll be mesmerized by the detailed descriptions of each one, along with the cultural, historical, and religious details that Saylor incorporates into each chapter.

As you follow Giordanus on his life-changing journey, then, you won’t just be entertained; you’ll be educated, too. And, when you finish, you’ll know a little more about the politics, the lifestyles, and the deities of the people that the young Finder encounters in each city.

Meanwhile, to add a little bit of drama—or perhaps to spice things up a bit—Saylor also gives Giordanus a new conquest in each new city. Sometimes the encounters are brief; sometimes, they’re ongoing. But most feel out-of-place, like an unnecessary afterthought that merely distracts from the more interesting parts of the story.

Still, with its enchanting blend of ancient history and short mystery, this swiftly-moving adventure is a must-read for ancient history buffs. After you finish reading The Seven Wonders, you’ll feel almost as if you were really there, exploring the ancient world along with its young protagonist.

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