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Everyday Roman Life,
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This review is from: Shadows In Bronze: (Falco 2) (Kindle Edition)
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'