Falco finds out that Sosia, the niece of a highly placed senator, holds the secret to a stockpile of silver pigs, ingots intended for no good use. Hoping for future favors from Sosia's powerful uncle, Falco embarks on an intricate case of smuggling, murder, and treason that reaches into the palace itself. And if he does not tread lightly, the treacherous puzzle of the silver pigs could buy him a one-way ticket to his own funeral pyre.
©1989 Lindsey Davis (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Christian Rodska brings our hero to life! I read the book first, then listened to the audio version...then I bought it. There are no dull points and the writing is terrific. Lindsey Davis has a wonderful gift of wit. The descriptions and dialogue stand alone as written, but the impact is magnified by Christian Rodska's vocal skills and expressions.
Anything by Lindsey Davis... I strongly recommend you just stay on this series until you can't laugh any more.
Falco astride the boat and the pier and Helena reluctantly helping him only to learn to her chagrin that he can't swim.
Probably what I wrote in the title or words to that effect. I describe the book to friends as Magnum/Rockford in ancient Rome. The sarcasm, lack of funds, bad luck with women... it all fits perfectly. OK, maybe "Rockford in Rome".
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
I generally enjoy novels--mysteries or not--set in the classical world, and am a huge fan of the Roman sleuths created by Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts, and Ruth Downie. But for some reason I really dislike the characters in this series, and the attempts at what I guess could be called "wry wit" don't resonate with me.
I read "Silver Pigs" when it first came out--and I believe this first book in the series predates the three series I do like--and I didn't care for it then. Decided to try the audio version because it was on sale and because I like Christian Rodska (if you haven't heard him "channel" Winston Churchill in the latter's WWII histories, you're missing something). Rodska's Cockney version of hero and narrator Didius Falco is well conceived and sort of fun. But I just don't like this book. Still not sure why, and it doesn't mean you won't.
Shameful. Rodska's nasal, whiny, high-pitched, grating voice makes Falco sound like a near-hysterical, particularly aggravating child, thoroughly spoiling an entertaining, engaging adventure tale. This, the first book in the compelling Marcus Didius Falco series, introduces some of the best-developed characters in historical fiction, then cleverly maneuvers them in and out of dire straits, all the while maintaining the smooth arc of an absorbing plot line. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous, always smart, perceptive and satisfying. Deplorably, Audible is removing the Falco books narrated by the brilliant Simon Prebble and replacing them with the repellent Rodska-narrated versions. PLEASE bring back the Prebble-narrated versions, and PLEASE make available for purchase more Prebble-narrated books in the series.
First in the Falco series ; sets the tone for the books that follow. Distinct voices of the characters; Rodska gives impeccable performance. I have read Silver Pigs multiple times in print. This mystery unfurls beautifully in audio format.
This is a masterful matching of narrator and piece. Christian Rodska is perfect as Falco, the slightly cynical but rather idealistic informer. A cast of great characters are introduced and Rodska handles them with aplomb. A great choice for mystery and history lovers alike.
I look for books with ideas on multiple levels, a good story, and a bit of fun.
After an uninspired start, that story gradually engaged and caught my interest. At first the style felt like the clichéd private investigator story given the cheap facade of an ancient setting. However all the characters grew richer and more interesting as the story went by, and the historical aspects were handled deftly. I found myself compelled to listen every spare moment I had.
Loved this book, it is a fictional story but the background and detail are as spot on as I could hope for. Audible had an abridged and dramatized version for a while and, fortunately, pulled it- Good books deserve to be presented in full. I hope audible is currently recording an unabridged version of the next book and plans on offering the whole set. As an end note: Davis does not leave you hanging at the end of silver pigs, the book stands by itself very well.
I listened to this based on others' recommendations, but was highly disappointed. The main character, Falco, often acts with great disdain toward Senators and even Emperors in ways that are entirely unbelievable. We are meant to believe that our hero has some kind of yearnings for the old Republic - which has by this time not existed for nearly 100 years - and continually insults everyone of higher rank he sees, in an age where the mere hint of such a thing would have a man of low rank crucified. In addition to constant insults, we are told he turns down a gold ring that's more than he could earn in 50 lifetimes just over the principle that it came from an Emperor's son. This is interwoven between two clumsy love stories: our hero first falls for a woman he has met twice, and her subsequent murder is supposed to be what drives him to great lengths to find her murderer; later, much ink is wasted with dialog between Falco and another woman interspersed with our hero's comments about how they aren't getting along (when they clearly are, so it's confusing). It often feels like the author desperately wants us to believe X is happening, but it showing Y instead, and oh, it ends up it was Y all along, but the author needed to throw some twists in to make it all interesting. It's strange. Many details about basic Roman life are omitted distorted, or wrong. Ideas about how the different classes dressed or talked to each other are off. Details about how a man with little income comported himself and what he could afford (really? he hires chairs to be carried around like a Senator?) are unbelievable and poorly researched. Information about the realities of a divorced woman of the upper classes is untenable, including the idea that she would divorce because her husband didn't love her (it would have been odd for a woman of her rank to marry for anything but a familial alliance). It's just poorly done.If you want good, Roman-era historical fiction mysteries, I suggest the SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts. Details are spot on, writing style is fantastic, and you haven't worked out who the killer is in the first chapter.
When he doesn't sound angry, he sounds out of breath, like he's just run up the steps to the curia.
"Detective fun in ancient Rome"
I like the idea of being transported to Ancient Rome.
Falco in love.
He's very good.
It kept me listening, it's not a comedy or a weepy.
Enjoyed the ride, it did go on a little bit longer than I was comfortable with but I'd listen to the next one.
"Good story Brilliantly read"
Absolutely especially if Mr Rodska is the narrator.
A good and unique series of entertaining stories with a likeable rogue at their centre.
an excellent insight into the world of Rome under the empire. nice series of books.
"Marcus Falco has a new fan"
I'm new to this series and I now can't get enough of them. Extremely well read and thoroughly enjoyable to be transported back in time to a rich bevvy of characters and good storylines. Easy and entertaining.
"i love this book and listen to it again and again."
i reread this book regularly. it is a great story and it is read superbly.
"So so !"
So so story and far to much building
However there is something I shall try book 2 and review again
"Lumps of English silver kept me rapt."
This book was fun and informative. It was a decent whodunnit with the added bonus of teaching about Ancient Rome.
Probably the description of Britain as the dregs of the Empire.
It made me smile.
I love the Falco series, Lindsey Davis really knows her stuff - the history is very accurate. Christian Rodska also has the perfect voice for Falco! All the books are brilliant, but I particularly like those read by Christian Rodska as he really brings out the humour of the characters.
"Within 2 minutes I wanted my money back"
Never having written it.
Given me a refund?
I would rather set my ears on fire
All of them.
Awful, just awful. Cliched storyline, lack of character development - particularly women, whose entire purpose is to be objectified by the main (male) character. Dialogue so dismal it was irritating and plodding narration of dull detail "I turned left. She turned right. I turned right" performed in a smirking, 'oh look matron' style. The most annoying and pointless book I've bought in quite some time. Move on and buy something from someone who knows women can have a personality and not just nice ****.
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