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Nemesis: (Falco 20) [Kindle Edition]

Lindsey Davis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One of the Roman novels from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series. In the high summer of AD 77, laid-back detective Marcus Didius Falco is called upon to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a middle-aged couple who supplied statues to Falco's father, Geminus. The Claudii, nptorious freedmen who live rough in the pestilential Pontine Marshes, are the prime suspects. Falco, beset by personal problems, finds it a relief to consider someone else's misfortunes.

When a mutilated corpse turns up near Rome, Falco and his vigiles friend Petronius investigate, only for the Chief Spy, Anacrites, to snatch their case away from them just as they are making progress.As his rivalry with Falco escalates, it emerges that the violent Claudii have acquired corrupt protection at the highest level. Making further enquiries after they have been warned off can only be dangerous - but will this stop Falco and Petronius?

Egged on by the slippery bureaucrats who hate Anacrites, the dogged friends dig deeper while a psychotic killer keeps taking more victims, and the shocking truth creeps closer and closer to home...

Books In This Series (20 Books)
Complete Series

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    Amazon Review

    Think ‘Ancient Roman detective series’, and you have several choices. But despite the American Stephen Saylor’s always reliable Gordianus the Finder books, many readers would vote for the splendid Falco books by the British writer Lindsey Davis. With her various outings for her canny and tenacious Roman sleuth, Davis has created a sequence of books that have immense vitality to match their spot-on historical detail. Recently, Davis has written in different areas from that of her customary historical patch, but Falco aficionados will be pleased to see his creator once chronicling his prowlings around the Domus Aurea. In the latest book, Nemesis, it is the summer of 77AD, and Marcus Didius Falco is finding that his troubles are ganging up on him. To distract himself from his recent bereavement, he plunges into a new assignment – a couple who provided statues for his father have vanished under puzzling circumstances. A clue might be found in the couple’s dispute with a malign group of freedmen, the Claudii, thuggish types who threaten the neighbourhood from their Pontine Marshes lair. Then a gruesomely mutilated body is found near Rome, and this mystery is also on the agenda for Falco. As often before, he is to find (via his investigations) that the smell of corruption can be detected even in the highest echelons.

    Falco is characterised in Nemesis with all the usual gusto, and, as ever, Davis is adept at convincing us that her hero’s anachronistically modern sensibility sits persuasively in ancient Rome. And the experience of living in that world is captured with great imagination. --Barry Forshaw


    "Davis is a prolific and popular writer … Her research has been assiduous and detailed, her commitment to the subject is impressive, and the background detail is often eye-opening" (Hilary Mantel Observer)

    "One of the best of the current writers in this field" (Donna Leon The Times)

    "Surely the best historical detective in the business" (Mike Ripley Daily Telegraph)

    "The whole thing is splendid. It has everything: mystery, pace wit, fascinating scholarship … she brings imperial Rome to life" (Ellis Peters)

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    More About the Author

    Lindsey Davis has written nearly thirty novels, beginning with The Course of Honour, the love story of the Emperor Vespasian and Antonia Caenis. There are twenty books in 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. Following her major standalone, Master and God, a new series featuring Flavia Albia, Falco's adopted daughter, is now under way, complemented by a digital novella, The Spook Who Spoke Again. She has also written books set in the English Civil War, Rebels and Traitors and A Cruel Fate (a Quickread). Her books are translated into many languages and serialised on BBC Radio 4. Past Chair of the Crimewriters' Association and The Society of Authors, 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, plus international awards such as the Premio Colosseo 'For enhancing the image of Rome'. She lives in the Midlands where she grew up.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Falco in a Dark place 12 Jun. 2010
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Having read all of the "Falco" novels,i was wondering which new worlds MDF could conquer.Lindsey Davis has managed to find new places for her hero to go. The first chapter is absolutely devastating and serves as a real wake up call to longstanding readers who have become accustomed to a Falco who is wealthy and content. This novel takes Falco to some very dark places and we see a side to Falco that many will find unsettling. Gone are the farcical setpieces and easygoing humour which we had got used to. There is a lot of misery and fear in this book and this makes it absolutely compelling. Many of the darker aspects of MDF's character have been alluded to in earlier novels so real afficionados will not be totally surprised. The character lived in an era where it was really was "dog eat dog" so should we be surprised that when it really matters, MDF comes out fighting and can be utterly ruthless? This novel is one that should not be missed.
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    22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Dark ... but good ... 15 July 2010
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Opens with an unexpected shock - two in fact - and finishes with another which I hadn't anticipated. Understandable solution for MDF and Petronius, but nevertheless uncomfortable - perhaps because from a reader's point of view Lindsey Davis succeeded in creating a villain with a few redeeming sympathetic qualities.
    But a good read, lacking the predictability of previous books and you feel MDF has finally grown fully into his head of family role, rather than joking about it.
    As a newcomer to Falco I've been fortunate enough to be able to sit and read the whole lot in one go, and now as I return from ancient Rome to the modern day I feel a little lost. I really do hope there will be more Falco books in the future, but if they don't happen this would be as good a finale as any.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Spy vs spy in circa 75 AD Rome 12 Oct. 2011
    By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
    The estimable Roman PI, Marcus Didius Falco, returns to home ground in First Century Rome to face some personal tragedies and to confront, once again, his worst enemy--Emperor Vespasian's Chief Spy, Anacrites. Early in this new story (number 20 in the series) by Lindsay Davis, Falco loses two family members. One of these tragedies changes his financial fortunes radically for the better and suggests a rise in future social and professional status as well. The other is closer to home and combines with a second family setback that impacts his adopted daughter, Albia. Into this troubled context comes a welcome assignment from the office of the Emperor that sets Falco and long-time friend, Longus Petronius, on the trail of a gang of murderous thugs working out of the Pontine Marshes in the far suburbs of Rome. The criminals in question have imperial protection of some kind that keeps the resolution of the case out of reach until the last page of the book.

    This is one of author Davis' better episodes in the Falco series. As always, there is a good mix of family issues, interesting secondary characters and mystery plot. "Nemesis" also shares, with other books in the series, the engaging examination of every day life in ancient Rome, with its characters going about their lives in much the same way as do subjects in contemporary mystery stories. So, a good balance of characters and plot that rarely wanders far from credibility.

    Good read. Recommended.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    The perfect companion for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

    In Nemesis there are some nasty serial killers who have been operating for longer than our heroes had known. Someone must be protecting them. Catching the killers without being caught out by their protector is going to be extremely dangerous.

    Once again, Lindsey Davis brings to life ancient Rome. This marks a major transition for Falco. His legal status has changed, he has lost and gained (although not all his gains are remotely welcome ones), and he is forced to resort to questionable and sometimes brutal tactics in his efforts to keep his family safe and solve the murder mystery de jour. This is a darker Falco than we've seen before, but he's still perfectly recognizable as the M Didius fans have come to know and love (after all, this is a guy who participated in the murder of his C.O. after the Boudica rebellion).
    This is a terrific Ancient Rome whodunit with surprising twists.

    This is probably her best in the Falco series yet. Yes, it is one of her darkest novels and it does delve into the harder realities of Roman life unflinchingly. However, Lindsey writes with humanity and wisdom, so even while exploring the worst sides of human existence she gives us hope.
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    35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A darker Falco 10 Jun. 2010
    I disagree with the last 2 reviews, yes Falco has become darker - but not disappointing. I would have felt more disappointed if he had ignored the threats in his usual good natured way. Ancient Rome was dark and violent, not a happy, bumbling place. I feel this book is realistic in the way Falco and Petro react to the threat to their family. Another fantastic book Ms Davies, roll on Falco 21!!
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    12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Family woes 1 May 2011
    Family has always been a big problem in Lindsay Davis' books -- family will get you into trouble, but you help them even if they make your skin crawl. And in Davis' twentieth ancient Roman murder-mystery, family trouble catapults our favorite Roman informer into even more trouble in the less pleasant, healthy parts of Rome -- and the big problem is the sudden "dark" actions he takes. See below for spoileriffic details.

    Death has visited Falco's family: his son dies just after birth, and on the same day he learns that his father has just died. Unsurprisingly, his dad left Falco the bulk of his considerable estate and his sleazy business -- and an ex-lover, Thalia, who claims to be pregnant with his baby (which, if it's male, will halve his inheritance). To make matters worse, Helena's brother returns home, newly married to a grasping Athenian woman.

    It makes most families look positively peaceful, doesn't it? And that's before the MURDERS start.

    While dealing with dear dad's estate, Falco discovers that the Pontine Marshes are not just yucky, but deadly -- citizens are vanishing and being found dead in Rome. Apparently it's connected to the Claudii, a strange family said to have imperial protection. As more bodies pop up in Rome, Falco and Petronius must unearth a nasty collection of facts -- which may be connected to someone they know.

    Lindsey Davis has a rare writing knack -- she can write historical mysteries without spending the whole book constantly going, "Look at all my cool research! Check out all the uninteresting details I dug up to give the book an authentic feel!" as many such writers do. It's full of the flavour of ancient Rome -- the flies, the squalor, the sweat, and the faint scent of corruption when a great civilization goes downhill.
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