The Bottom Line
Steven Saylor is such a capable writer that I'm sure he could turn his hand to the fantasy genre, but would he want to in order to resurrect Gordianus the Finder? In The Judgment of Caesar, the very best of the Roma sub rosa series, everything, both in the political world in which Gordianus mixes and the personal, comes together perfectly, without even a sense of loss.
- As happy an ending as could be.
- Caesar's character made complex and intriguing.
- Creates a new spin on the Cleopatra-Caesar scandal.
- Absolutely none, in my opinion.
- You may find the coincidences distressing instead of funny.
- You may also find the ending too ambiguous.
- Gordianus' wife Bethesda wants to go to home to Egypt to seek the healing waters of the Nile.
- At the time of their arrival near the Pharos Lighthouse, their boat is stopped.
- Pompey's wife gives Gordianus a vile of fast-acting poison -- just in case.
- Before Pompey can kill Gordianus, Magnus is assassinated by Ptolemy's minions.
- Washed ashore, Gordianus helps with Pompey's funeral.
- Ptolemy's men find Gordianus and bring him to the pharaoh who thinks he'll make a good plant.
- Gordianus acts like an old curmudgeon -- especially around the rulers, but not his four boys.
- Gordianus' private dinner with Caesar has 2 surprise visitors: his son Meto and Cleopatra-in-rug.
- Called upon to solve a dynastic dispute, Caesar is led by his sexual attraction to prefer Ptolemy.
- By luck and Ptolemy's treachery, Caesar is led to support Cleopatra.
Guide Review - Review The Judgment of Caesar
After witnessing the assassination of Pompey, "Gordianus called The Finder" finds himself at the Egyptian court of Ptolemy at Alexandria. The Egyptians know of him from their many-segmented dossier which includes mention of his son Meto who has served Caesar -- intimately -- since "Last Seen in Massilia". Ptolemy, with his own pharaonic load of family feuds, assumes that even if Gordianus doesn't want to speak to Meto (whom Gordianus disowned in a fit of almost unregretted pique at Massilia), he will still be attached enough to Caesar to provide an eye and ear in the Roman quarters. Oddly, Gordianus does oblige Ptolemy, telling him how Cleopatra had managed to get herself secreted into his palace in the famous carpet. Both Caesar and Ptolemy are remarkably complacent with the greyed and outspoken Gordianus who says what would lead to execution in almost anyone else, but Caesar does get in his taunts -- like telling Gordianus he's a Ciceronian prig. Mostly Caesar reveals that not only does he have a penchant for good looking youths, power, and godhood, but in a way the straightforward Gordianus never could, he (like his perfect mate Cleopatra) is a master of treachery and statecraft. There are two mysteries that Gordianus solves in the course of "The Judgment of Caesar": one that absolves his son Meto and causes their reconciliation, and the other that brings Gordianus back to his beloved Bethesda.