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.
I do not know why Romans are always portrayed with a British accent, but here the graveled Cockney narration Christian Rodska uses is absolutely superb. I love Audiobooks, and a good narrator can make or break a book, let alone a series. Here, both Mr. Rodska and Ms. Davis blend wonderfully. Marcus Didius Falco’s Rome is enthralling and his investigations through the political nuances of intrigue and deception kept me sitting the car listening well after I should have gone into work (playing on the car’s stereo, not headphones, I am a responsible driver). An interesting and fully fleshed cast of supporting characters helps create a world that is as interesting as it is believable. If only Audible would acquire the rest of the series!!!
What a concept for a novel. A private detective in ancient Rome. But it is very well done, great story line, keeps moving at a very good pace. The narrator makes each character really come to life. Will read more by this author.
this story is fun. The author has done a fine job of making a story centuries old seem very modern and fast paced. It has a 50's detective novel feeling to it,and the characters are very likeable.
I somehow happened upon Silver Pigs in hardbound, the year that it was first published. After adjusting to the culture shock of life in empirial Rome I was intrigued and highly entertained by the characters and plot twists that were presented by Lindsey Davis. I faithfully awaited each new book until life distracted me but have recently gone back to the series in Audible format.
It is hard to believe that audio could improve on the written form but it clearly does. Christian Rodska, who narrates all of the unabridged titles that are available from Audible is amazing at portraying Falco in all of his cynical but ethical glory. He is also able to add interest to the sometimes almost pedantic delivery of information about the cultures and history that are a must to understand the plots that unfold. This audio and the rest of the series is one of the most amazing ways to get a sense of the everyday life in Empirial Rome as well as getting an idea of the scale and scope of the Roman Empire.
I highly recommend these to anyone with an interest in history or just a good story.
I love historical fiction, especially when it is set in the Roman Republic or Empire. This is the first Didius Falco novel I have read, and I found it generally entertaining. I quite like Falco himself, and the way in which the author depicted Rome and Roman Britain. Everything was going nicely until Falco (a plebeian gumshoe detective in 70 AD) started interacting directly with senior members of the imperial family, including the Emperor himself. Falco seemed not the slightest bit awed or even outwardly respectful. He was even fairly rude to them. Not only that, but Falco also spurned, in a most rude way, a high honour bestowed on him by the Emperor. His behaviour was not exactly irrational (there were some barely good reasons), but his behaviour was difficult to believe in the historical and social context of ancient Rome. I found this aspect of the book significantly detracting from the aura of historical realism that surrounded an otherwise 'ripping yarn' from classical Rome.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Read a book by Ruth Downie about Roman's in Britain. that got me interested and I came across this series. This is book one of the series by Lindsey Davis. It opens up in 70 A.D. with Susia Camillina running into Marcus Didius Falco (PI) on the steps of the Forum running away from some street thugs. Falco rescues her and finds out she is the niece of a Senator. Falco is first hired by the Senator to find out what is going on but then Susia is murdered and Falco goes to Britain to see Helen the daughter of the Senator recently divorced, who Falco thinks is the key to the mystery. He discovers silver being stolen from the Emperor. The Emperor Vespasian hires him to find the silver pigs and solve the murder. Told in the first person, some action, suspense and information about the romans of the period. Falco has a dry wit and is a bit sardonic, not an appealing character for me but it will give him a second try. Interesting enough for me to try the second book in the series. Christian Rodska narrated the book he has a English accent which was okay for the part of the book in England but where is the Italian accent when in Rome?
75 yr old MWF. I like historical novels with more history than story. Audiobooks shouldn't have too many characters.
This delicious little murder mystery takes place in ancient Rome and in Roman Britain during the reign of Vespasian. I was struck by how modern and familiar daily life in the Roman Empire seemed in the book. Very graphic depictions of the life of a slave in the silver mines in Britain were horrifying, but seemed authentic. The narrator, Christian Rodska, speaks with an apparent northern English accent, (Lancaster?) but gives the senator in England a pretty convincing Oxford and his landlady a satisfying cockney (Mrs Bridges?). He softens his voice for the noble women. I found his narration surprisingly satisfying.
I have read and re-read the books, and now am having fun listening to them on audio. Great narration! These novels have a little bit of something for everyone- they're good mysteries, they're an interesting look at the Roman Empire, and the main character is funny. Smart, but also light and entertaining. So far there has only been one book in the series I haven't absolutely loved.
Yes, Marcus Didius Falco comes across as a real person whom one would like and respect. The deception is unraveled in a practical yet piecemeal fashion.
Falco in the later books becomes more cynical (and less effective). The early books are the best.
Christian Rodska is amazing! He really brings the story to life by truly conveying the characters emotions, and the author's sarcasm. It's a great murder-mystery set in Rome, and Marcus Didio Falco is the perfect hero.
There was a definite journey in the book. I liked how there were several threads to follow, it made the mystery even more fun to solve.
This was my first intro to Rodska. I can tell you that I WILL find more books of his to listen to!
I am extremely disappointed that the whole series isn't here. I guess I will have to go find the paperback copies to fill in the gaps!
"Murder, Mystery and Mayhem in First Century Rome!"
I know of the Falco novels since they were first published. The research by the author is meticulous and adds weight and authenticity to a gripping story.
Falco, our hero, is a very believable character, and more than a little put-upon. He manages to take you, the listener with him as he negotiates his way through the various twists and turns of the plot, collecting a few beatings along the way, as well as imparting some telling insights into the realities of human nature.
I'm biased, I like the Falco Novels anyway!
"completely believable characters and a great plot"
I love these novels - why are there so few in the Audible catalogue? And most of those are short dramas, rather than the whole book. This, the first of the Marcus Didius Falco series, is a cracker. I have no idea how accurate the historical details are but the context rings true to me and I can easily visualise the scenes Davies describes. Falco is a great flawed hero and the narrator's accent is perfect for him. the only thing which seemed slightly unlikely was his meetings with the Ceasars. I'd recommend it as a good uncomplicated bit of escapism... and no gory stuff either.
Got it all.
The stable scene. Falco and Helena believe that they have made it home safely after the journey from Britain with all it dangers and stress of their relationship. They then have a hectic time escaping from attackers during which another side of Helena's character surprises Falco. They end up taking refuge in a stable with only a horse eavesdropping and their feelings for one another take over. This is the starting point for all the other Falco books. Though he is an informer and the plots are important, his relationship with Helena is so important in all the other stories.
For me Rodska is the voice of Falco. He gives Falco the air of someone who knows his place. Has been there, done it all and expects it all to fall apart on him. His tone is easy on the ear but holds your attention. He changes tone and timbre in subtle ways when he voices different characters so that you realise the change but it is not jarring and doesn't deter from the story in any way.
This book can provoke laughter as Lindsey Davis writes with lovely humour. She can also invoke great empathy with the characters which makes for compelling reading.
I borrowed this book on CD from the library some few years ago now and since then have read all the other books in the Falco series and bought them all in hard copy (this was before I joined Audible). I remembered enjoying The Silver Pigs and wanted to reread it as it had been the reason for my going on to read the rest of the series. I was not disappointed. I also realised that when reading the other books it had been Christian Rodska's voice that had been in my head as the voice of Falco all the time.
"Mystery : Humour : Information."
Lindsey Davis has a relish for Ancient Roman history that brings the period and way of life alive to the reader. Her main characters have warmth and immediacy, with a sense of humour throughout that raises many a chuckle. I painlessly absorbed a surface knowledge of Roman law, architecture, religious ritual and deities, etc., in a totally enjoyable way.
I first read this novel many years ago and so enjoyed the Audible version I am ordering more of the series.
"A real pleasure"
I love the Falco series and have read the complete series to date but this was my first aventure into the audio version. I thought the narrator was superb, bringing the character of Falco to life perfectly.
He also did justice to the other characters. Excellent job
"Loved the story - the reason I shifted from Itunes"
I bought this audio book from Itunes - I loved it and was really enjoying the story and the quality. Unfortnately on the Itunes version the end of the book was missing from the file. Apple was completely unhelpful and refused to replace the file. I've moved to Audible and am extremely pleased with their service and support and more reasonable costs. If you are going to purchase use Audible!
"Modern style - Historical setting - Great!"
I enjoyed reading the Didius Falco series of Lindsey Davis so much that I hoped to be able to have them all as audio books to listen to whilst doing craft work. I managed to find The Silver Pigs on Audible and have enjoyed listening to this recording. The narrator does a great job of bringing the character to life. My one regret - the whole series is not available on Audible. I look forward to being able to listen to the whole series.
"Very enjoyable reading, good story"
Very lively reading, enjoyed it immensely. Sagged a bit towards the end, then picked up. Will try more in this series
Intriguing, authentic, well-narrated
Really, I'd say Books l and ll were both excellent, Perfectly paced and beautifully plotted to set up the conclusion in Book lll which, due to the constraints of the narrative, packed too much in.
Rodska turned this audio version from just a good story to a masterpiece of listening pleasure. His interpretation of Marcus Didiys Falco as the gruff, cynical, mysogenistic former soldier-cum imperial informer, who is generally content with his station in life, is flawless. As an actor, his talent is boundless, able to flit vocally from the working class south london accent he bestiows on Falco to the softer tones given to female leads Sosnia Camilina, upper class haughtiness of Helena Justina, the Imperial clip of Tiberius Caesar and the faded nobility of Senator Decius Camilliys Verus - all seemingly effortlessly. I have read many authors of Roman fiction, from Scarrow and Iggullden to Sutcliffe and Mario Valerie Manfredi. Somehiow, I missed out Davis. Rodska has turned me into her biggest fan, Am most disappointed to see that his voice doesn't carry through the whole series. Book 2, a BBC production, is narrated by Anton Lesser. He more well-known than Rodska, of course; - talented and respected actor . But he gives Falco a middle class, almost effete accent that betrays his humble origins. With Rodska the smells of old cabbage, rust and linseed oil fill your nostrils. Lesser's performance is altogether more sterile. Such a pity. Listen to this audiobook if only just to hear Rodska, a master in action.
Left me truly invested in the characters, their flaws, failures and the hand dealt to them by fate. No other audiobook has really ever done this for me before.
"great story and fantastic reading"
Lovely writing, good story and the narrator brings it to life in a rally enjoyable way.
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