Quick Review (read on for full review)
Wonderful as ever, Falco and the gang never disappoint. A thoroughly engaging mystery, combined with sharp wit and historical detail. A great book in a great series. Highly recommended! 5 / 5
Summary (from back of book)
Rome AD 72: Marcus Didius Falco returns from a six-month mission to the German legions. But trouble is in store for him: his apartment has been wrecked by squatters and an ex-legionary friend of his colourfully heroic brother Festus is demanding money, allegedly owed him as the result of one of Festus’ wild schemes. Worse still, the only client Falco can get is his mother – who wants him to clear the family name.
Then just as Falco thinks things can only get better, fate takes a turn for the worse…The legionary is found viciously stabbed to death with Falco the prime suspect. Now he has only three days to prove he is not a murderer, to trace the real suspect, amass evidence and win a fortune…
I narrowed it down to two…
He would have had more luck trying to dispute the philosophy that life is a bunch of whirling atoms with a half-naked, barely sober garland girl.
Filial piety was not my strong point but I was willing to join in a fight.
I love this series and am thoroughly enjoying revisiting these books.
In this instalment we are introduced to even more of Falco’s family as Falco’s dead older brother, the war hero Festus, is causing a spot of bother from beyond the grave. In an attempt to clear his name of murder, Falco is forced to reconnect with his estranged father and together they try to piece together the mystery of Festus’ last trip home.
Lindsey Davis brings the Roman world to life with ease and in amazing colour. Her characters are always believable and well-thought out and her storylines are gripping and full of plot twists that keep you reading and guessing. The humour that is infused with the tale never fails to entertain and the multiple story threads are deftly woven together. Historically accurate and brimming with detail and description without slowing the pace or making the reading too heavy, there is a reason why Lindsey Davis is one of my favourite authors and these books, some of my favourites.
With this story set in Rome itself as opposed to elsewhere in the empire, all my favourite characters make an appearance: Petro, Falco’s mum, Helena’s dad and now Falco’s Pa has been added to that list too. It was great getting reacquainted with Falco’s numerous sisters – Maia is my favourite – and their husbands and children…However, the limelight is never taken away from Falco and Helena; they are simply wonderful and witty and I adore them.
If you’ve yet to read any of the Falco novels, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I would suggest that you start the series at the beginning, not because the individual novels don’t work as standalones, but because they are all fantastic and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to skip even a moment of Falco’s company. Next up in the series is my personal favourite, Last Act in Palmyra, and I can’t wait…