cover image Raiders of the Nile: A Novel of the Ancient World

Raiders of the Nile: A Novel of the Ancient World

Steven Saylor. Minotaur, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-01597-6

Spot-on period detail and tight plotting elevate bestseller Saylor’s 14th novel featuring ancient Roman sleuth Gordianus the Finder (after 2012’s The Seven Wonders). In 88 B.C.E. Alexandria, Gordianus celebrates his turning 22 with his lover—and slave—Bethesda, who disappears after they take in a satiric play mocking King Ptolemy that’s broken up by the monarch’s soldiers. Since one of the performers could pass as Bethesda’s twin—and she’s vanished as well—finding his sweetheart’s whereabouts is complicated, and sets Gordianus on the trail of brigands known as the Cuckoo’s Gang. Subsequent events loop back to the dramatic opening, in which the detective-to-be is involved in a plan to steal the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. While series fans may hope for an eventual return to the continuing story line of the older Gordianus, last visited in 2008’s The Triumph of Caesar, both they and newcomers will find this outing entertaining. Agent: Alan Nevins, Renaissance Literary and Talent. (Feb.)