Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (42)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falco in a Dark place
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...
Published on 12 Jun 2010 by Dr. S. Patel

versus
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family woes
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"...
Published on 1 May 2011 by E. A Solinas


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falco in a Dark place, 12 Jun 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark ... but good ..., 15 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darker Falco, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Lauren E. Mura "lemura" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
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!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars changing times, 25 July 2010
By 
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
This new book has a strong beginning with real surprises, whilst you're adjusting to these the plot races along, the ending leaves you thinking... did that really happen, should I just re-read those few pages? I thought it's by far the best one for many years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family woes, 1 May 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Paperback)
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.

And as you'd expect from a book named after the goddess of divine retribution, there's a dark edge to this story -- sudden deaths, inheritance, plague-swamps and a mysterious half-hidden family. While Davis still weaves in some funny moments ("If this is the same ox, he's a sex maniac. I'm not driving him!"), "Nemesis" is undoubtedly a darker, grimmer story than the ones before it.

The big problem is the characterization. For the first two-thirds of the book, Davis smoothly explores Falco and Helena's shared grief, gentle humor and their fierce mutual love for their family -- especially since Anacrites is sniffing around Albia, and Albia is having a meltdown because of her crush getting married.

Then, without warning, Falco tortures a man, and it puts a nasty strain on his marriage. It feels like Davis made a stab at making things "darker" -- but it doesn't feel consistent for a man who always had such principles, and he doesn't seem in any way bothered by it. Fortunately, that part ends soon and everything shifts back to normal.

Winged "Nemesis" attacks the people around Falco in Lindsey Davis' twentieth novel. It's well-written, nicely dark and witty, but the "torture" part temporarily derails both Falco and the story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one had me worried, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
Normally a Falco book will accompany me on summer holiday and that's why I bought "Nemesis"; but a few things - the blurb on the back, the title and the events of the first chapter or so - read on the train - made me speculate, was this the end of the line for Falco? As I've come to like the guy over the last 20 books I suspected that if it was a finit for Falco, I'd be a bit glum. So I read it without further delay(and bought "Wounds of Honour" to fill the gap...); well, one pounding good read and yes, a distinctly dark turn in the career of a previously wisecracking character. In fact, it was a welcome dark turn as I often found (like some other reviews)the foreign adventures a bit slow or at worst fanciful. I'd call this a reboot of Falco - just as Casino Royale rebooted Bond - grittier and with a fairly nasty undercurrent. Frankly, I expected a higher body count in the Falco Faction given the air of menace that lurks throughout.

A few comments have been made about the torture and Helena's attitude. One thing to remember, if I remember correctly that is -Falco's job in the army was a speculator - scouting and intelligence; so, it's a fair bet that this wasn't the first time he used "enhanced interogation". Bluntly, given what went down in Britain during his tour of duty, Falco's hands are probably very dirty already. As for Helena's attitude, well she may not have liked what was going on but may also have been putting strategic distance between her, the children and the actions of Falco and Petro. Falco, Petro, Maia, Helena, all of them (and Helena's brothers) seem by the end to be ready to go to war against, ah the bad guys. It's like the scene in "Godfather" when the Corleones are discussing "going to the mattresses". This is Rome - Helena's family dodged the knife under Nero so she knows the score.

To conclude my ramblings, I loved this book - it was grittier and uglier and yet showed Falco trying to keep to the light side of the street. As to the future, I thought this was the end but it wasnt, roll on more - set in Rome and just as edgy. And personally, if I were Falco I'd worry about Domitian, exile is the best to hope for from him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker Falco, 10 May 2011
By 
Iain S. Palin (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Paperback)
"Nemesis" opens with Marcus Didius Falco facing both family tragedy and a major change in his life. It proceeds through the hunt for a gang of sadistic serial killers, dangerous politics, further family and emotional bruises, and a climate of fear and suspicion, to an outcome from the younger Falco would have shrunk. In the course of this we see Marcus has not only matured as a man, father, and operative, but has hardened in a way we may not entirely approve of. This is understandable, perhaps even desirable: he is older, he has growing responsibilities, his career has developed, and it would be unconvincing and probably tedious were he to remain the talented but rather immature and sometimes obtuse character of his younger days. It was a brutal age and Rome was not a nice place. And it lends a certain frisson to our anticipation of what may happen in future novels.

The title is appropriate and sinister in what it promises. Of late people have tended to use the word "nemesis" as if it means "enemy" or even just "opponent", thus robbing it of its real threat. In classical times nemesis was the agent (whether as a person or something intangible) of a person's destruction. It was sent by the gods, but the victim brought it on himself through arrogance or other sins. It was unpleasant and terminal.

In this book we see, ultimately, who is the object of nemesis and who act as her agents. But we are not dealing with simple tale of goodies and baddies, and one suspects that what happens will have implications for the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falco 20: Murder in the Marshes, 9 July 2010
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
Number twenty in this series of excellent detective stories set in Vespasian's Roman Empire and apparently the last in which the informer Marcus Didius Falco is the main character. This story begins with a terrible family tragedy for Falco.

Nemesis was the Roman Goddess of retributive justice: one of the characters in this story says that "when a man receives more from Fortune than he should, Nemesis will come along and right the balance."

The book contains Lindsey Davis's usual mix of ironic humour about human relationships, nuggets of information about the society and politics of first century Rome, and an intriguing detective story. But although the style and content is fairly similar to the first nineteen books in the series, the tone of this latest volume is much darker.

The full Falco series, in chronological order, consists at the moment of:

1) The Silver Pigs
2) Shadows in Bronze
3) Venus in Copper
4) The Iron Hand of Mars
5) Poseidon's Gold
6) Last Act in Palmyra
7) Time to Depart
8) A Dying Light in Corduba
9) Three Hands in the Fountain
10) Two for the Lions
11) One Virgin Too Many
12) Ode to a Banker
13) A Body in the Bath house
14) The Jupiter Myth
15) The Accusers
16) Scandal taks a Holiday
17) See Delphi and Die
18) Saturnalia
19) Alexandria
20) Nemesis

And then the start of a "Next generation" follow on:

21) The Ides of April (Falco: The New Generation)

This book is set in Summer AD77, during the period when the Flavian dynasty, e.g. Emperor Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian, were building the huge stadium known to historians as the Flavian Amphitheatre and to most of the rest of us as the Coliseum.

Picking up the pieces after the double tragedy which strikes him on the first day of the story, Marcus Didius Falco learns that his father Geminus had won a contract from the Flavians to provide a large number of statues for the alcoves in the Coliseum. The supplier, Modestus, from whom Geminus had bought some of these could not be paid because he, his wife, and the slaves in his household have all disappeared. So Falco travels to Modestus's home at Antium, near the notoriously unhealthy Pontine Marshes, to investigate.

He learns Modestus had last been seen when heading into the Pontine Marshes to talk to an infamous local family called the Claudii about a boundary dispute. And his wife had last been seen when she went to find why Modestus had not returned. Local people, when persuaded with difficulty to talk, are convinced that the Claudii have murdered Modestus, his wife, and many other people, but that nothing will be done because the Claudii have friends at the imperial court.

Falco and his friend Petro start to investigate, and it soon becomes clear that there is indeed a serial killer or killers at work in the Pontine Marshes. Is it the Claudii, and if so what leverage do they have at the Imperial court? Will Falco and Petro have to take the law into their own hands - or could this case be their own nemesis?

As all the previous reviewers have agreed, this story is quite a bit darker in tone than any of the others. That isn't because the humour of the previous stories is missing: it isn't. Nor is it because innocent people get murdered, although they do: that was common to the earlier books. Partly it is because the book dwells a bit more on the consequences for the victims. One passage in the book was depressingly similar to some of the columns police doctor Theodore Dalrymple used to write in the Spectator, describing conversations with women who won't leave or bring charges against the abusive partners who keep putting them in hospital.

But the main reason this story is so dark lies the impact of the evil they are trying to eradicate on Falco and Petro themselves.

One bit of series trivia: most of the novels in this series read as if they were being told in a chatty style shortly after the events described. However, "Nemesis" is the second Falco book (the other being "Ode to a Banker") which contains a few oblique references to events after the conclusion of the book and which infers that the story of this book is being told or written quite a few years later.

I initially tried this series because I had enjoyed the "Cadfael" mediaeval detective stories by Ellis Peters. Where Cadfael is excellent, Falco is brilliant. Ellis Peters herself (or to use her real name, Edith Pargeter) said of the early books of the series, 'Lindsey Davis continues her exploration of Vespasian's Rome and Marcus Didius Falco's Italy with the same wit and gusto that made "The Silver Pigs" such a dazzling debut and her rueful, self-deprecating hero so irresistibly likeable.'

Funny, exciting, and based on a painstaking effort to re-create the world of the early Roman empire between 70 and 77 AD.

After this book Lyndsey Davis either felt that she had done enough with the original characters, or recognised that they would have to keep their heads down during the reign of mass murderer Domitian in case he remembered that they had once been his enemies (and knew things damaging to him.) So when she returned to this series in "The Ides of April" which is set a dozen years later in AD 89, she jumped to the next generation of the family for her narrator and protagonist.

It isn't absolutely essential to read these stories in sequence, as the mysteries Falco is trying to solve are all self-contained stories and each book can stand on its own. Having said that, there is some ongoing development of characters and relationships and I think reading them in the right order does improve the experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transition, 31 Dec 2010
This review is from: Nemesis: (Falco 20) (Hardcover)
I've previously observed that Falco doesn't seem to travel outside Italy too well. All those years ago after "The Silver Pigs", Davis pulled Marcus Didius Falco back to the slums of the Subara and, in the churning upheaval of post-Neronian Rome, he has thrived. Recent efforts like "Alexandria" have shown again that Davis seems to lack a little direction when Marcus is away from his beloved Rome in exotic lands and this return to home base - albeit with vital excursions to the Pontine Marshes and Pa's holiday villa - proves one of the finer Falco mysteries.
Marcus is well settled now and the novel opens with the death of Pa and a stillborn son - an unhappy event with a rather larger fiscal benefit. Sorting through the tangled web of Pa's posthumous business empire, Marcus finds a contract for a hundred or so ampitheatre statues. Trouble is he can't find the trader to pay the debt. They are missing, then proven dead, when dismembered bodies are found amongst the tombs on the Appian Way. With Petronius in tow Falco sets off to investigate and a shifty Anacrites is bent on trying to poke his nose into matters of the familia Claudii. As ever with Laeta and Ancrites involvement there is a careful line to tread and the threat of imperial displeasure looms. A mire of serial murders is uncovered, of rotten families and secret psychopaths. Unlike the lumbering ox, Spot, Marcus and Petronius are forced into unsavoury swiftness, revealing a harder edge that is more realistic yet squeezes us away from the comfort zone of Falco we have come to understand.
"Nemesis" is a novel of change for Davis. Marcus becomes rich, major characters are removed from any future penmanship and new characters rise to the fore. It all ends in a blind alley with a splash into the Cloaca Maxima with a sense Davis is preparing to move Falco into pastures new. The future of our sleuth looks promising so long as he remains at home.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Nemesis: (Falco 20)
Nemesis: (Falco 20) by Lindsey Davis (Paperback - 3 Feb 2011)
5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews