Raiders of the Nile
© 2014 Steven Saylor
If fortune favors the foolish, young Gordianus of Rome must be foolish indeed. On his 22ndbirthday, he lavishly adorns his slave-turned-love-interest, Bethesda, only to see her kidnapped when she is mistaken for a rich man’s companion. The kidnappers, a notorious gang of thieves, cutthroats, and miscellaneous scoundrels intending to hold her for ransom, operate out of “The Cuckoo’s Nest”, hidden somewhere amid the Nile Delta. To rescue his love from abuse and execution, Gordianus must track down outlaws even the king of Egypt is quailed by Soon wanted for murder and navigating the backside of a country on the verge of civil war, Gordianus is forced into trusting strangers at his peril. Although the young main character will later be wise and street-savvy, here he’s giving his real name to barkeeps at mysterious tarverns and accepting drinks from smiling strangers. Such things generally lead to death, enslavement, or other misfortune in novels, but Gordianus lives a charmed life. The book opens with him taking part in a grave robbery (the sacking of Alexander the Great’s tomb) , in a splash of action that introduces a mood that remains throughout. While most of Saylor’s novels are political-legal mysteries, Raiders of the Lost Nile is thoroughly a light historical action-adventure novel with a twist at the end. It’s highly speculative, of course, but enjoyable.