Lindsey Davis’ Master and God is a vastly entertaining historical novel set in the reign of the Emperor Domitian in first-century Rome. It is on the one hand a love story between Gaius Vinius Clodianus, a valiant but reluctant member of the Praetorian Guard, whose military career is as successful as his marital history is disastrous, and Flavia Lucilla, daughter of a freed slave and hairdresser to the ladies of the imperial household. A devastating fire in Rome brings them together as apartment-mates whose relationship survives separation and the apparent death of Gaius, evolving into a bond of real passion and understanding.
It is also the story of the seizure of power by the Emperor Domitian, his increasing paranoia and madness as he styles himself Master and God. As Domitian’s cruelties to his enemies and those he only thinks are enemies grows, the future of Rome demands desperate measures, measures that demand Gaius choose between his sworn duty to protect the Emperor becoming part of the forces arrayed against him.
©2012 Lindsey Davis (P)2012 AudioGO
Davis' concept of a wise-cracking, Raymond Chandleresque equivalent in ancient Rome, Didius Falco, was, at the time he first appeared, a new approach to the mystery novel and much praised. But Davis herself has never been an outstanding author, and there are now better authors in the genre [such as Ruth Downie]. Indeed, her later Falco novels weren't particularly good. But this novel is definitely more mediocre than her previous efforts. It is rather a "Everyday Life in Imperial Rome" with large dollops of history, social and political, and an awkward love story inserted at intervals.
Falco succeeded in large part by being in the first person; this book is in the third, and that makes the narrative sections somewhat slow going, not helped by Robin Sachs' attempt at being laconic -- which comes across as monotonous and soporific.
In short, this is overwritten, and not particularly interesting, and read rather than performed. I'd recommend Downie's "Medicus" series instead.
I think this would have been better received by me if the reader didn't drone on so. Good subject matter, but it doesn't hold my attention.
I love Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius series and was looking forward to this book, but it was so boring I kept falling asleep. I don't know if the bood was boring or the reader, but it seemed to take forever to finish. I suspect the fault lies with Robin Sachs, because I like her other books so much.
I'm listening to Creole Belle by James Lee Burke.
Not speak in a monotone!!!!!
I'm not sure I would cut anything, except the reader. Why would she change readers?
Why would an author change from a good reader?
Historians Or those who like The Fall of Pompeii, written in 1800 something.
Only the Marcus Didius series or something that many, many reviews recommend.
The writing was so bad, I don't think any narrator could have helped this story.
I would make the writer rewrite the entire book. I know Lindsey Davis can do better.
Disappointing. This could've been a great epic. I wanted to love it, I couldn't even like it. Plus, I second the other review that says this was BORING. But it was written more like history than good entertaining fiction. The love story was flat, as it was told like a third (or even fourth) person biography. (She did this, she felt that, then he went here and he did that and he felt that...).The emperor's story was told like it was a documentary on his reign, in third person, once removed. I know this writer can write great fiction, I can only hope that this is not a trend for future books. I kept waiting for it to get better. I invested so many hours, and hours and hours to it. I finally gave up 1/4 from the end, as I lost interest and hope. Not sure how it ended, don't really care.
This book transported me to Flavian Rome. I love well researched historical novels and Lindsey Davis never disappoints. Hairstyles, clothing, food, laws and customs are just a few of the topics she uses to paint a vivid picture of life at that time.
Robert Harris's Pompeii comes to mind. It takes place around the same time in history and also made me feel I was there in Pompeii.
I think he did a competent job. This is not a Falco novel. I think I expected to hear his witty, sarcastic voice at first. When I got into the story I began to enjoy the reader.
Dirty, sexy politics... Did you think Nixon and Clinton invented it?
If you are looking for a historical romance this is not the book for you.
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