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Alexandria (Falco 19) Hardcover – 5 Feb 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Century; Second Editon edition (5 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846052874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846052873
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lindsey Davis has written nineteen novels, beginning with The Course of Honour, the love story of the Emperor Vespasian and Antonia Caenis. Her bestselling mystery series features laid-back First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy the Chief Spy. Her books are translated into many languages and serialised on BBC Radio 4. Past Chair of the Crimewriters' Association and a Vice President of the Classical Association, she has won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Dagger in the Library, and a Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective. She was born in Birmingham but now lives in London.

Product Description

Review

"A fantastic historical whodunnit" (Daily Express)

"Like visiting old friends in a familiar and endearing, if sometimes bizarre, environment. Jokes and skulduggery crowd the pages" (The Guardian)

"The story gallops along at a tremendous pace with humour and suspense dispensed in equal measure" (Daily Express)

"Another entertaining adventure" (Sunday Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

One of the Roman novels from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Hugo van Dantzig on 28 Mar 2009
Format: Hardcover
For many years I have enjoyed the adventures of Marcus Didius Falco, the streetwise Roman detective created by Lindsey Davis. From his rough origins as an informer in first century A.D. Rome to his slightly more staid middle-class status in the later novels, Falco never fails to entertain. The plots of these novels is always good, with plenty of interesting characters (as well as sinister ones) and no lack of action.
What lifts Miss Davis work above the mainstream of crime fiction is her sense of humor combined with her talent for creating memorable characters.
Falco comes complete with a huge family of complete misfits, most of them instantly recognizable to most readers because we all have an auntie or uncle who is just like that. This particular novel is set in ancient Egypt and is certainly up to the usual high standard. Warmly recommended to wile away a rainy day!
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is number nineteen in a series of excellent detective stories set in Vespasian's Roman Empire and featuring the informer Marcus Didius Falco. It has perhaps the best opening in the series so far:

"They say you can see the Lighthouse from thirty miles away. Not in the day, you can't."

Informers in ancient Rome were something between a private detective and a government spy: in the cast list at the start of the book Falco now describes himself as "fixer, traveller and playwright."

It is spring AD77. Falco's wife Helena Justina has always wanted to see all of the "Seven Wonders of the World". In a previous book, "See Delphi and Die" Falco and Helena have seen the Temple of Zeus at Olympus. Falco writes that they had also visited Athens on the same trip.

(Pedant alert: there was more than one ancient list of the seven wonders of the world, but neither the traditional list of seven wonders compiled by Philo of Byzantium in 225 BC, nor any of the other contemporary versions I can find, include the Parthenon or anything else at Athens. Never mind.)

When Helena gets an invitation to pay a family visit to Falco's uncle in Alexandria, she realises that accepting the invitation would give her the opportunity to see three more wonders. These are the Colossus of Rhodes (which they saw on the way to Alexandria before the start of this book), the Pharos or Great Lighthouse at Alexandria, and the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Gisa.

The visit will also take in the Great Library at Alexandria, and it turns out that Emperor Vespasian has a little job he wants done which requires a trip to the Great Library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Lumsden on 14 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All the ingredients of a good Falco story are here and I started it with enthusiasm but I soon decided that there was very little fresh in the characters and plot and the Alexandrian setting,even with information about the libraries and zoo, did not add enough so that I found myself skipping sections at a time.
Nothing wrong- it just didn't hold my interest like the early stories did.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE on 19 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's recognisable, comfortable and unthreatening enough and it's certainly better than its predecessor. But it is very much the same as before; enough action to last most people a lifetime crammed into a few days and surrounded by a potted precis of a guide book/history of Alexandria. One attraction of the Falco books always used to be the realisation of how sophisticated and, well, modern the first century Romans were. But I must confess that I've stopped believing in the setting. Did people of that era really travel as often as he does to all corners of the known world and continually bump into people they have already met before?

Anyway it's well-enough plotted (although it would be a welcome change for Falco to come up against a crime that wasn't a conspiracy)and moves along quickly enough. And whether it is indeed a groove or a rut it carries us forward to the next instalment, apparently back in Rome.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By donfoxtad on 8 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Sadly, as a fan of her earlier Falco novels, I gave up on this one. Her desire to parade her knowledge of matters Roman - and here also Roman era Egyptian - gets in the way of a good murder. The novel's pace is too slow and the style too discursive for Falco's hard-hitting, 'cut to the chase' methods and solutions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane Rayner on 18 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
I'd read reviews of the latest Falco - some good, some poor. Now, I love Falco and was really excited about having a new book in the series but I have to agree with those who say this is not up to Lindsey Davis' usual standard.So much of the early part of the book is packed with detail about the city - too much detail and not enough plot. I also felt that the wry, cynical humour that is so much part of these books, was a bit laboured. However, the story does get going and the second half of the book is a vast improvement. I don't think this is one I'll re-read very often. (I can happily read The Silver Pigs again and again.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Park on 22 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was personally very impressed by this latest in the series of Falco novels. Very few writers have been able to capture the heady atmosphere of the magnificent and now largely lost ancient city of Alexandria is such vivid and eloquent terms. It was also a great joy to hear more of Uncle Fulvius and his partner, Cassius. I think those two wily reprobates will make a great addition to the Falco series in the future. Finally, who could possibly resist a tale of shifty academics, escaped monsters, burning scrolls and gloriously ominous librarians? I'm all for a taste of the exotic, and this Alexandrian fruit cocktail surely packs quite a punch!
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