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Publisher's Summary

It's 76 A.D. during the reign of Vespasian and the Roman festival of Saturnalia is getting underway. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties. But not for "informer" Marcus Didius Falco. His job is to uncover unwelcome truths and deal with sensitive situations, frequently at the behest of the imperial government.

So when a general's famous female conquest escapes from house arrest - leaving a horrendous murder in her wake - Falco is on the case. If finding a fugitive isn't enough of a Zeus-like headache, Falco's wife Helena Justina's brother has also gone missing.

Against the riotous backdrop of the season of misrule and merriment, the search seems impossible. And Falco seems to be the only one who notices that some dark agency is bringing death to the city streets...

©2007 Lindsey Davis; ©2008 BBC Audio

What members say

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  • Story
  • Abigail
  • arlington, VA, United States
  • 09-22-11

Historic Rome Adds Nice Twist to Standard Mysterie

I like the Didius Falco books and will continue to buy them but I prefer Ruth Downie's Roman mysteries to these. You cant really miss that the Falco books are written by a woman (do not read this as a lack of action or violence) but Falco has all the traits of a romance novel hero. The characters have the predictability of sitcom stereotypes, but this can be a positive attribute when you want to curl up with a solid mystery peopled with familiar old friends. It can be nice not to have to sit through 1000 pages of an author torturing his main character, to whom the reader is quite attached as well. Plus, without too much gore and sex these books can be heard around mature children (pg13 ish).
Saturnalia is one of the better Falco books but I've yet to read one I've had any real complaints about. Falco is a good mix of gruff and sensitive and the holidays add the right amount of choas. You cant get better than Christian Rodska as a narrator, he definitely adds excitement and character.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love this series!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Richmond, VA
  • 03-25-09

This author rarely lets me down

I'm always excited when I see a new release from Lindsey Davis. She makes ancient Rome seem like the next town over. I can expect a story that makes always makes me laugh, can usually summon a few tears and makes me sad when it ends. The reader is fantastic as well. Built around the festival of Saturnalia, it brings back some great characters from a previous novel. As I listened I realized everyone has had a Christmas like Falco's Saturnalia. I can't wait for the next book. The BBC dramatizations are also great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Gets old after awhile ...

I started off really liking this story and the writer. Found myself pausing to look up various things about Roman life up online, and enjoyed the learning experience along with the story. But, it did seem to go on a bit. And then the ending ... well, let's just say it was a disappointment. The story goes on and on, and then all of a sudden the various plot issues get "resolved" in the last chapter. It felt contrived, unsatisfying. And the whole business of the wife as co-detective also seemed trite ... too much like an ancient Rome takeoff on The Thin Man - yeah, it didn't work well. I started off wanted to read the whole series, but now I don't think so.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • d
  • 11-30-17

Love this series

The narrator may not be Simon Prebble but this one is very good as well. I waited in hopes of a new copy narrated by the usual voice actor, but i am glad I gave up.

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  • Story
  • Bonnie
  • Bellmore, NY, United States
  • 10-29-11

Another winner by Davis and Rodska

Again Falco has to get his brother-in-law out of trouble. There is always humor and suspense. I have not been disappointed by and of the books in this series. If you enjoy mystery and historical novels. This may be the series for you.

  • Overall
  • Wadie
  • Santa Ana, CA, United States
  • 10-03-10

Only Falco

can find a reason not to have a good time during Saturnalia. Of course he has a job to do. One of his relations is missing and has some involvement with the job, a search for a woman Falco might not want to find. As usual, Falco doesn't disappoint the listener or Helena (she who WILL be answered to:) The plot and narration is great. This is an excellent entry in the series.