©2001 Lindsey Davis; (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
This might be the best of the series. It has the expected combination of fascinating historical detail, fall-down-laughing comedy, and the delivery of cliff-hanging action. The life painted here reaches up through the millenia and touches us as if there's no space between -- we'll all recognize the bickering architects and builders, the pub closers, the extraneous relatives, the salesmen. The narrator bothered me at first -- he sounds almost Australian, which seemed an anachronism -- but I got over it when I discovered how skillful he is. He truly understands Falco and his irreverance, his strutting, his loyalty, his irony, his common sense and his courage. Not good bedtime reading, though, because you'll be laughing instead of sleeping.
If you like far off locations, exotic alluring assassins, everyone and their brother out to kill you, two fisted drinking and barroom brawls, then this book is for you. Many things are recognizable like trying to get reimbursed for your expensed, having shoddy fly by night contractors working on your house, working with family members and avoiding offending people with political pull. It is just too familiar and then suddenly remembering that this all takes place 2000 years ago.
I am a historical type of guy and I really liked reading/hearing the historical facts interwoven with the every day life of adventurous people. Go get um Falco.
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.
First, I recommend you read the Falco books in order. This was the first Falco book for me and while it was enjoyable on its own, I do think it would have been nicer to know more of the characters. There is a fair amt of dry humor scattered throughout the book which was good. In addition, it was fun to see how universal life problems are handled in ancient Rome (shoddy workmanship, private investigations). It was a bit repetitious occasionally but overall a good book for the bus commute.
The narrator did a good job and somehow even though he was using a gravelly English, 1940s private-eye type voice, it seemed to fit just fine.
Again Lindsey Davis pulls it off! If you like historical novels - not just those ones about the wealthy, than this series is for you. The author not only gets the authentic feel of classical Rome but fills it with real characters who have both strength and weakness (both male and female). I feel the real strength of this series however is the humor. Yes, it has all the tension and who-done-it, that all first rate mysteries have; but the interaction of the primary characters is priceless. The story's are both easy to listen too and follow. I some time have my time broken-up and can only listen to the book in small chunks - but I have no problem picking up and enjoying the storyline. I would recommend trying out any one of the Falco mysteries.
I truly enjoy historical mysteries, and Lindsey Davis knows how to pull it off. The narrator does a fine job with creating the character voices. I truly think this series can only get better, especially with character development. Defiantly worth the credit;
I usually enjoy Ms. Davis's Falco books, but I couldn't even finish this one - even on audio! At first I thought it had to do with the setting of Roman Britain. But two of Ruth Downie's excellent Ruso novels have a similar setting. I decided it was the abundance of new characters - you really can't tell the players without a scorecard. Also, readers who have enjoyed the interaction between Falco and Helena Justina will be disappointed by her relative absence in this chapter. By the end of the book, I just didn't care what happened to anyone.
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