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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading it was a Rare Pleasure
This is the second novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be...
Published on 24 Sep 2006 by J. Chippindale

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading it was a Rare Pleasure, 24 Sep 2006
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shadows in Bronze (Paperback)
This is the second novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in Rome in AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop.

In this novel the hero Marcus Didius Falco has returned from the remote island of Britannia, a god forsaken place whose people are morose and surly and the weather, well the weather is best left to its own devices. Marcus has lost his heart to senator's daughter Helena but is not sure that the passion he feels is reciprocated. Why is that women he is not interested in, fall over themselves to get to him, but the one that he has lost his heart to, treats him with a cool disdain?

He has not long returned to the welcoming arms of Rome before a series of fatal accidents and things that go bump in the night convince Falco and the Emperor that there are traitors still conspiring and they must be brought to book. Falco is not happy, it seems he must leave his beloved Rome yet again, but the conspirators are serious about their plans and will not let anyone stand in their way. Will Falco ever return . . .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Radio Drama at its best, 20 Sep 2007
By 
LJM "LJM" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
Anton Lesser makes a perfect Falco! Who else could play him? Anna Maddely is not yet 'quite' my idea of Helena - her voice seems too young and actually reminds me of the actress who played Sosia in The Silver Pigs - but then Fritha Goodey ia a hard act to follow. I like the way that the plot details are not quite the same as in the book - Falco's conversations with Larius about his burgeoning sexuality are hilarious. Camillus' revelation to Falco about Helena and Falco's reaction are just right. Buy this recording and the book itself; you'll achieve two equally enjoyable experiences.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it - only not for the mystery, 9 Mar 2006
This review is from: Shadows in Bronze (Paperback)
I can understand those that are looking for a brain-teasing mystery being disappointed by this book, but that is missing the point. Although the idea of a gumshoe (long) before his time is amusing, and is handled with panache, Davis is not especially good at the mystery side of things -I'm generally there way before Falco.
What makes this book - and the whole series - worth reading are two things. The first is the believable and wonderfully detailed picture of everyday life in the Roman Empire from the point of view of the ordinary folk.
The second is the characterisation. Both Falco and Helena Justina, the woman he (hopelessly?) loves, are interesting and engaging people. In this book in particular, the development of their relationship, beset as it is with issues of background and class, is managed with great skill. Amongst the jokes, Davis has a lot to say about human behaviour. I don't want to give any plot spoilers, but towards the end they face a personal crisis that is handled with a sensitivity that few "serious" novelists could match.
So read and enjoy, but don't expect to be too baffled.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reading It Was a Rare Pleasure, 13 Feb 2008
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is the second novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in Rome in AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop.

In this novel the hero Marcus Didius Falco has returned from the remote island of Britannia, a god forsaken place whose people are morose and surly and the weather, well the weather is best left to its own devices. Marcus has lost his heart to senator's daughter Helena but is not sure that the passion he feels is reciprocated. Why is that women he is not interested in, fall over themselves to get to him, but the one that he has lost his heart to, treats him with a cool disdain?

He has not long returned to the welcoming arms of Rome before a series of fatal accidents and things that go bump in the night convince Falco and the Emperor that there are traitors still conspiring and they must be brought to book. Falco is not happy, it seems he must leave his beloved Rome yet again, but the conspirators are serious about their plans and will not let anyone stand in their way. Will Falco ever return . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Audio Heaven For Falco Fanatics., 8 Jan 2013
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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NOTE THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE BBC FULL CAST AUDIO DRAMATISATION OF THE BOOK.

This is the second in Linsey Davis' `Falco' series.
I have read them all and have listened to the Silver Pigs, the first in the series , and others. I read the book years ago so, for me, this is a revisit to a well enjoyed book.

You do not have to have heard the first in the series to get the full benefit of listening to this dramatization but I really would urge you to. The Silver Pigs is an excellent story and is where we get to meet Falco for the first time as well as understand his relationship with Helena which is a major running saga throughout all the books.

To the story. Davis has a brilliant character- well two really if we count Helena.
Fabulous settings- Rome after the year of the four Ceasers and in the relative calm of the sound and sane Vespasian.

Falco works for Vespasian and all is not settled with the Empire.
Falco is sent to do Vespasian's `dirty' dealings to persuade useful but ambitious senators that he is the best choice for the purple.

Falco being Falco takes along his old `oppo' from his army days Petronius along with Petronius' wife and daughters. His Mum `fosters' his nephew Laruis upon him because `she is worried about his strange ideas'.
This is the genius of Davis- excellent and believable characters who not only have to survive attacks and danger but to solve all life's little problems like a hormone run riot nephew and a mate's wife who won't stand for any nonsense.
Add to the brew a green cloaked assassin and trip to the seaside at Napoli with a Randy Oxen called Nero, `because he will mount anything!' and you have the recipe for an entertaining listen.

This is not simply a Roman `Whodunit' more a writer that knows the Roman way of life and revels in weaving a tale with the `murders' as a side line.

A really entertaining listen.
Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday Roman Life, 26 Jun 2011
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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Marcus Didius Falco has persuaded his friend Petronius to go with him to Pompeii and Herculaneum under cover of a family holiday. It is a mixed party which sets out in a cart drawn by Nero the ox who is part owned by Petronius. The purpose of the `holiday' is to track down the remaining conspirators who were involved in the theft of the silver pigs in the first volume in the series.

In the course of their travels they meet Helena Justina, Falco's estranged girl friend who is staying at the nearby villa belonging to her ex-husband's adopted father. There are some marvellous episodes involving the mis-behaviour of the ox as well as some episodes at sea which are not good for Falco's perennial sea sickness. But Falco is prepared to go to extreme lengths to earn the bonus the Emperor Vespasian has promised him if he manages to bring the remainder of the conspirators back to Rome.

I enjoyed the way the characters are developing in this series and the subtle and understated way the relationship between Helena and Falco is progressing. There os not much to the mystery element of the novel but the characters and the dialogue more than make up for it.

The details of everyday life in the Roman Empire are also very well done to the extent that the reader can almost feel as though they are there in the hot sun near the Bay of Naples. The novels in this series can be read out of order as each will stand alone but it helps to see how the relationships and the characters build up if they are read in sequence. This is the second book in the series the first being 'The Silver Pigs'
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4.0 out of 5 stars a satisfying read, 30 July 2009
By 
Teal Fox (Hampshire England) - See all my reviews
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I found this a little hard to get into, compared with The Silver Pigs which has an early 'hook'. However this proved to be more satisfying and enjoyable, mainly because of the historic backdrop and vivid painting of the Bay of Naples area. As a result I want to visit the area again.
This book also fleshes out more of Falco's friends and family to good effect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
excellent a great story and a really engaging reader , a voice that really suits the main character
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4.0 out of 5 stars Roman detective story, 21 Jun 2014
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This book is really part 2 of the first book as they were written in reverse order. It has been well researched and is a good light read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Yarn, 26 May 2014
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I am new to the Falco series and have enjoyed both volume 1 and 2. But you do need to read in order.
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Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis (Paperback - 7 Sep 2000)
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