©2006 Lindsey Davis; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks LTD
"The author's vivid picture of life in A.D. 76 and the sparkling characterizations, particularly the amusing byplay between Falco and Helena, will satisfy most readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"If Sam Spade traveled back in time to A.D. 76, he'd be Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman sleuth at the center of Davis' mordant series." (Booklist)
One of the best parts about this book was the way Davis caught the standard annoyances of swanning around the country as part of a tour group. In this case Falco's family group is chasing after a tour on which a young woman had been killed. Touring was quite popular in the Roman Empire during Falco's time and even now it is possible to find Roman graffiti on ancient monuments thus proving that the urge to leave some personal mark cuts across the ages.
Anyway there are shady tour operators, annoying and importunate guides, bad lodging, worse food and lots and lots about Greece.
The narrator does a fine job of giving Falco a believable voice.
Seems to me our main character "Falco" just develops more and more. This one was a real mystery, with lots of twists and turns. You may need a strong stomach for some of this story. ( I don't want to give away any of it, just a heads up) If you've read any of my other reviews, you know I read lots of historical novels. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys mystery and history.
If you loved "I, Claudius", you will love this. Although set 2000 years ago, it reminds me of my recent trip to the same area. Also, I love the British accents for Roman characters a la "Claudius." A fun read for history and mystery readers and for those planning a trip to Italy and Greece.
I agree completely with the review that characterized Ms. Davis' Falco novels as an Ancient Roman version of Moonlighting -- although Helena is not as tetchy as Maddie Hayes.
Mr. Rodska is pitch-perfect as narrator.
"Better then Remebered"
Always having been a voracious reader, I read all the Falco books, apart from the last, as soon as they came out, but found the later ones slightly hard going. Being no longer able to read, I've turned to audiobooks and am finding the narrations of Rodska adding so much more to the author's text making it far more than merely reading the prose out loud. For me, he brings alive what are ostensibly Falco's memoirs, written in the first person, making me laugh out loud in places. He also voices the other characters superbly; the "welsh" Athenian law tutor we meet is making me smile just thinking about it. This book is well worth listening to for the final chapter alone - when I read it for myself I remember feeling "is that it", but Rodska's comic timing and voice characterisation really brought it to a perfect close.
"An entertaining listen"
If you're already a fan of Didius Marcus Falco, I'm sure you'll like this, I reckon it's as good as any of the others. If you are new to the series there are a lot of people to get to know, but the characterisation is good and I didn't get confused.
Falco is a Roman 'Informer', which seems to be the equivalent to a modern day detective. He and his wife and assorted members of their family go travelling around Greece in search of the reasons behind a couple of nasty deaths, and find more death everywhere they go. Coincidence? We think not.
The story was engaging enough to keep my interest, and the idea of Ancient Roman tourism is quite thought provoking. I was expecting some progression in their search through the book, but the vital clues and the final revelation only come right at the end. Some ends are left a little bit loose.
I liked the narration, and was amused by the various regional British accents used for the speech of native Greeks, other tourists and supporting characters.
Not too long, and definitely worth a listen.
"compelling and entertaining"
Christian Rodska's voice has developed Falco's personality really well as the novels have followed Falco's life and turning fortunes. It is an utterly convincing characterization of the detective, his talented wife, and in more recent novels: growing family. This novel delves into corruption in the roman travel trade. Lindsey Davis's descriptions of the key locations of Greek tourism: the acropolis, Delphi, and Olympia are startlingly accurate and evocative. Falco's dry, sardonic world view spices up the classic detective format Davis specializes in to create a compelling and entertaining listen. I really enjoyed it.
This was my first Marcus Didius Falco murder mystery and I loved it. The narration was excellent and I found myself able to visualise the main characters and get caught up in the plot. I also enjoyed the humour and would wholly recommend this to others who enjoy colourful who-dunnits set in bygone eras. For me, this audio book gave me much more than if I had simply read the text.
"A very average Falco mystery"
I have read many Falco books but this lacked the usual humour and interest and I found myself hoping it would end, overall it was very average.
No, there are far better Falco stories
Narration was fine.
Perhaps story lines and content are getting more difficult to invent after so many mysteries, this one felt like it.
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