Lindsey Davis' sixteenth novel in the bestselling Marcus Didius Falco series is a tale of scandal, piracy and deception.
One of the Roman novels from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series
Lindsey Davis has written over twenty historical novels, beginning with The Course of Honour. Her bestselling mystery series features laid-back First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy the Chief Spy. After an English degree at Oxford University Lindsey joined the Civil Service, but became a professional author in 1989. Her books are translated into many languages and have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her many prizes include the Premio Colosseo, awarded by the Mayor of Rome 'for enhancing the image of Rome', the Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective and the Crimewriters' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. For more information, please visit www.lindseydavis.co.uk.
The Rome of Vespasian and Titus comes to life in Davis's entertaining 16th entry in her popular ancient historical series (after 2003's The Accuser) featuring "finder" Marcus Didius Falco. The staff of the official government newspaper retains Falco when Diocles, the paper's gossip columnist, disappears while on a visit to Ostia. At the seaport, a cesspool of corruption, Falco follows up on rumors that pirates, supposedly put out of business by Pompey the Great decades earlier, are engaged in smuggling and a kidnapping racket. Utilizing his street smarts and well-earned cynical view of humanity, Falco moves in and out of dives and places of worship on the trail of a mysterious figure who acts as the middleman between the kidnappers and the victims' families. Disturbingly, some of the clues point to one of the detective's disreputable relatives. Longtime fans will enjoy the additional background on Falco's family, but first-timers, aided by a family tree and an introductory cast of characters, will be able to plunge right in. Unlike Steven Saylor in his Roma Sub Rosa series, Davis makes less use of the history of the time. While her deliberately modern colloquialisms ("Go with the flow, man," Falco is told) take a little getting use to, they help maintain the light arch tone that also distinguishes these fun novels from Saylor's more serious tales. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Sept. 23) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-In this 16th mystery set in the Roman Empire (76 A.D.), Falco investigates the disappearance of the official scandal columnist for the Roman Daily Gazette. When last heard from, the scribe had been leaving for vacation at Ostia. The private informer notes with typical irony that at first this assignment "had all the signs of a nice little escapade that I could handle blindfolded," but he soon finds himself pursuing a bewildering and seemingly unconnected variety of leads that involve kidnappings, Mediterranean pirates, local dives, religious customs, a teenager's romance, and an outrageous funeral celebration. His independent inquiry is complicated somewhat by his helpful wife (a Senator's daughter) and their children, several other family members, and his best friend, a policeman. Falco and company are kindly, intelligent people who live in a brutal time; they survive with integrity intact through humor, loyalty to one another, and a tough acceptance of the inevitable. Readers might be daunted by lists of characters, maps with strange place names, Briticisms, or Falco's casually allusive narrative style, but those who persevere will be richly rewarded, becoming immersed in fascinating details of a distant time and place populated by recognizable human beings. Though this story can be read independently, the series is best read in order, beginning with Silver Pigs (Crown, 1991); the novels progress satisfyingly through Falco's life as they explore many far-flung corners of the Empire.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This is the sixteenth Falco novel, and they have built up a large
following. It is not hard to see why. They are amiable and
unpretentious...The research that has gone into them allows the
externals of Roman life to be presented in an evocative way. Yet
the interior life of the characters remains reassuringly
modern...Philip Marlowe in a toga. * Times Literary Supplement
...an entertaining mystery * Sunday Telegraph *