55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Silver Pigs (Paperback)
This is the first of a series of detective stories set in Vespasian's Roman Empire and featuring the informer Marcus Didius Falco.
I tried this historical detective story because I had enjoyed Ellis Peter's "Brother Cadfael" detective stories. They were excellent but this is brilliant, as is the rest of the series.
Funny, exciting, and based on a painstaking effort to re-create the world of 70 AD.
By chance, Falco rescues a 16-year old girl called Sosia Camillina from a gang of thugs. She turns out to be the illegitimate niece of a senator, who suspects that an illegal trade is going on in silver pigs (ingots) from a godforsaken remote corner of the empire - Britain. To Falco's disgust he has to return to this barbaric spot where he had once served with the legions ...
The events of this story vary from the tragic to the hilarious, and are often completely unexpected. It includes a mystery and the start of a charming ongoing love story.
If you have met and enjoyed the Cadfael series, this is even better.
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 can stand on its own. Having said that, there is considerable ongoing development of characters and relationships and I think reading them in the right order does improve the experience.
The full Falco series, in chronological order, consists at the moment of:
This book, "The Silver Pigs"
Shadows In Bronze: (Falco 2)
Venus In Copper: (Falco 3)
The Iron Hand Of Mars: (Falco 4)
Poseidon's Gold: (Falco 5)
Last Act in Palmyra (Falco 06)
Time To Depart: (Falco 7)
A Dying Light in Corduba
Three Hands in the Fountain
Two for the Lions
One Virgin Too Many
Ode to a Banker
A Body in the Bath house
The Jupiter Myth
Scandal taks a Holiday
See Delphi and Die
After "Nemesis" Lyndsey Davis appears to have decided she had done enough with the main characters of the original series, so she started a "Next Generation" follow-on for Falco's family in which his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, picks up the torch. The first story in the successor series is
The Ides of April (Falco: The New Generation).
I have read and can warmly recommend all of these.
Lindsey Davis has also written a historical novel set in the same timeframe called "The Course of Honor" which is about the love affair between Vespasian and his mistress Caenis. The author has taken the two sentences from Suetonius which are all we know of Caenis, and from them she has conjured the vital image of a woman beautiful in both form and personality and a charming love story.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jan 2009 13:20:57 GMT
The BigE says:
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2009 18:48:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jan 2013 01:10:47 GMT
Marshall Lord says:
Don't think that is a reasonable criticism.
One of the things which inspired me to start posting reviews on Amazon is that I like to read books in the order they have been written. My enjoyment of the early books in Dorothy Dunnett's "Lymond" series was seriously impaired because I had previously made the mistake of starting with one of the later books in which several key characters in the first three books die horribly. So I knew what was going to happen to those people when I read the earlier books in the sequence.
Ever since I have tried to avoid repeating that mistake, so I always try to find out what books are in a series and in what order you are recommended to read them (usually, but not always, the chronological sequence.)
That information isn't always easily available, so having gone to the trouble of finding it out for myself, if I'm writing a review of a book which I know to be part of a series, I always include it. Obviously it doesn't vary between books in a series, and neither does much of the background information, so there are often, though not always, common sections within my reviews of the books within the same series, or set in a common universe or period.
That does not apply to reviews of unconnected books by the same author - for example, most of my reviews of books by Harry Harrison are four or five stars, but I gave his "stars and stripes" trilogy one star.
I also try to keep the information in my reviews up to date, so having just read the nineteenth Falco book, "Alexandria" I came back to my previous reviews to add it to the list. I was surprised, and then amused, to find this identical comment on two or three of them.
If it's a "bit of a cheat" to post reviews with some common information which applies equally accurately to several books, it must be an even bigger cheat to post identical comments.
Nothing better to do? The pot calls the kettle black, methinks.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2010 23:46:12 BDT
I think it's a really kind thing to do, Marshall. The inside covers of the books don't always post them in the right order, and I, for one, appreciate it - it must have taken you ages.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2010 13:06:42 BDT
Peter Symonds says:
I second Fiz's comments. Nothing worse than getting into a new series, finding the list on the inside cover is wrong and reading book 8 before 7 thereby ruining the ending of 7.
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2011 18:54:22 BDT
I agree completely and very much appreciate your putting them in order, Marshall. For example, I had started reading Nemesis, and while I was intrigued by the story, there was just something that felt "off" to me. Found out that it was the most recent one and realized that that was the problem. I couldn't even tell from the inside front cover where Nemesis fit in, as it wasn't listed in there. This was really nice of you to do.
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