Raiders of the Nile is the second in a new series by Steven Saylor which features his ancient Roman detective, Gordianus the Finder, as a young man. After journeying to see the Seven Wonders of the World in the first book in the series, The Seven Wonders, Gordianus has settled in Alexandria with his slave and lover, Bethesda. But Alexandria full of political intrigues and discontented people, since King Ptolemy is hated and his exiled older brother is threatening to invade and reclaim the throne. On Gordianus’ twenty-second birthday, he and Bethesda watch a mime show mocking the king, and shortly afterwards Bethesda is kidnapped by ruffians who have mistaken her for an actress in the mime troupe, who is a rich man’s mistress. Gordianus discovers that the kidnappers are members of Egypt’s most notorious gang of bandits, and he sets out on an adventure to rescue Bethesda. On the way he gets accused of murder and of stealing a valuable ruby necklace, before being saved by one of the bandits, who leads him to the gang’s hideout. Gordianus meets their leader, who might or might not be a member of the royal family in disguise. There he finds Bethesda, only to find that the bandit chief wants her for himself. To save himself and Bethesda, he is forced to take part in an attempt to steal the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Will he save the woman he loves from the clutches of the bandits?
These prequels to the Gordianus the Finder series have a lighter tone than the later books. This one is more of an adventure novel than a mystery. But it is fun to read, and full of suspense and unexpected turns of events. Gordianus is much the same character as he is in the novels that take place later, very logical and more intelligent than most of the people around him, but as a younger man he is less sure of himself, and so is more vulnerable. I always enjoy his adventures.
Raiders of the Nile is available from the Browsing Collection in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library: http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/012837413 . It's not necessary to read the first volume in the series, The Seven Wonders, first, but The Seven Wonders is just as enjoyable as Raiders of the Nile and it will answer some questions you might have if you read Raiders of the Nile first, such as why Gordianus has settled in Alexandria. It's available from the Ann Arbor District Library: http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1401905 .