It's the first century AD, and Marcus Didius Falco, ancient Rome's favorite son and sometimes palace spy, has just been dealt a lousy blow from the gods: the beautiful, high-born Helena Justina has left him in the dust. So when the Emperor Vespasian calls upon him to investigate an act of treason, Falco is more than ready for a distraction. Disguised as an idle vacationer in the company of his best friend Petronius, Falco travels from the Isle of Capreae to Neapolis and all the way to the great city of Pompeii…where a whole new series of Herculean events - involving yet another conspiracy and a fateful meeting with his beloved Helena - are about to erupt.
Lindsey Davis' Shadows in Bronze is historical mystery at its best.
©2015 Lindsey Davis (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
The author has a great sense of time and place and has done her research, which is deep enough to engage the listener well beyond the bare window dressing prevalent in too many novels set in this period. Have to love Falco's wry sense of humor, which is reminiscent of modern classic detectives without being out of place. At times, the pace of the story was leisurely and the plot is fairly complex, but this is a novel to be savored, not a racy potboiler with lots of heavy handed artificial suspense. I figured out the major plot twist before it was revealed, but that's because the author makes an honest presentation of the facts of the case and doesn't resort to phony deus ex machina to surprise the reader. The romantic aspects of the book may put off some listeners who are only interested in slam bam action, but I thought it charming & insightful
I found Simon Preble's narration to be adequate, but much too slow. I had to turn up the playback speed to 1.5x to make it listenable. The character voices were pretty well rendered, but Falco's first person narration was often not as quick and lively as the material warranted. There are several other well known narrators I would have preferred for this reading.
This is a great series but this new narrator is not for this series. He just kills it. Gordon is a wonderful narrator for this great series. The older books are super but hard to find.
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