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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Course Of Honour
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 September 2006
For those readers who are Falco fanatics let me establish from the start that this is not a Falco novel but nonetheless it is a terrific read. Still using the setting of Ancient Rome (I think that Lindsey Davis has just about made the city her own).the author weaves her magical spell for lovers of all things ancient and Roman.

Lindsey Davis herself admits that the Roman setting deterred publishers for ten years. I cannot for the life of me wonder why. There are many novels (thank goodness) set in the Roman period and nobody does it better than Davis. She also admits that the time she spent researching this novel gave her the idea for the Falco series.

The Course of Honour is set in one of the most troublesome times in Rome's history. The death of Vespasian's wife, Flavia Domitilla has allowed him to reform a relationship with his former mistress Antonia Caenis, a former slave and now a freedwoman who had been secretary to Antonia, Marc Anthony's daughter. She remained his wife in all but name even after he became Emperor and was instrumental in many of the decisions that he made. The old saying that behind every great man there is a woman was never truer than with this pair of lovers.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2000
You know, Lindsay Davies has an awful lot to answer for: indeed she has got me into reading ancient history. I have gone from ancient Rome and her very entertaining and informative Falco series, to Greece and latterly, Egypt.
Responsible in no small part for all for all of this is this book - a little different from the Falco series but it complements and develops an historical aspect of Falco's times. (If you haven't yet met Marcus Didius Falco, it's high time you did - highly recommended).
However don't be put off; this is no dry history of Emperor Vespasian and his life-long mistress (and love) Caenis, but a living, lively and at times a moving account of very real people.
Buy it - read it - love it.
Thank you, Lindsay, you've done it again!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2007
I've had this book ever since it was published, and I reread it once a year at least. It is well written and a touching love story. Caenis comes over as a feisty woman, an earthier version of Helena from the Falco series perhaps; and I really enjoy reading the history behind the distant figure of Vespasian mentioned in the Falco series.

I am glad that there are authors out there like Lindsey Davis who keep me entertained and enlightened.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2012
As an avid fan of Lindsey Davis' work, I bought this book expecting her usual detailed work, although, with this being a more factual tale, I didn't expect that same depth of character that is her usual style, where detail is all-important, such as she writes in all of her Marco Didius Falco books.

But, to my utter delight, I discovered in the true story of an enduring love between a slave who had no rights to her own body, and a down-to earth Roman soldier who became one of the best Caesar's of his time, something worth reading, and learning from.

Lindsey Davis has a magic touch when writing about Roman history and, if you are like me, and love to read all about the ordinary people who are so often ignored when we are told about history, as well as the great and mighty, then this will be the book for you.

From the first page, I was gripped by this story, and I laughed, and cried, along with the characters.

I can't wait for her next book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A credible and entertaining view of Valentinian's progress to the throne and life at the lowest end of Roman society. I found myself both convinced and questioning. "Yes, this is the way it was" on one hand, and yet wanting to know more of the seamy side of Roman life for those at the bottom layers, on the other.
Well worth the time and energy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2013
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Lovely book by Lindsey Davis, whose magnum opus is the Falco series of Roman whodunnits. This stand-alone novel is not a mystery, but a fictionalized life of Caenis, the mistress of the Emperor Vespasian. There really was a Caenis; according to the Roman historian Suetonius, she became Vespasian's wife in all but name after the death of his wife Flavia. Around the slender frame of the known facts, Davis winds a believable and touching story of the relationship between a girl who started out as a slave, and an emperor who started out as the son of a minor provincial official. Full of historical information, but none of it in the least impedes the flow of the novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2009
I am doing a degree in Theology and Vocation and was recommended to read The Course of Honour by Lindsey Davis as a 'fun' activity. It is an excellent read. Lindsey Davis is a tremendous author who interweaves genuine historical fact with a fast paced story set in early Rome and based on the lives of Vespasian (later Emperor of Rome) and Caenis, an unknown slave girl. With a touch a humour, a cast of characters like those in a Charles Dickens novel, a gripping story, and an exciting and positive conclusion, this is an excellent book thoroughly recommended to those who want to begin a journey of discovering the exciting literature of Lindsey Davis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2013
The Falco books have given me much pleasure over the last few years and it was whilst searching for something new that I stumbled across this book. I've read other stories about Vespasian and Caenis so knew roughly what to expect. What sets this book apart is how strongly you feel about both of the main characters throughout the story. Whatever obstacles Rome chooses to put in their way they overcome in a powerful love story which spans decades.

It's a compelling read and, Falco fan or not. you won't be disappointed. Thank you Lindsey for an amazing book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best introduction to Davis' works, "The course of honour" skips lightly over some of the most tumultous and gory of Roman times, using this chaos as a frame for an all too human romance which twinkles with wit and steers clear of cloying sentimentality. The narrative moves at a refreshingly brisk pace whilst preserving many details of Roman life that fascinate and bristle with genuine humour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2013
A wonderful touching tale imagined around real historical people and events. After reading this wonderful touching story I gained a much better understanding of the turbulent history of Rome in the 1st century AD.

This book while not a Marcus Didius Falco novel it fills in historical background against which the fictional detective operates.

Read it and enjoy!
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