Nemesis: (Falco 20) Hardcover – 3 Jun 2010
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Think ‘Ancient Roman detective series’, and you have several choices. But despite the American Stephen Saylor’s always reliable Gordianus the Finder books, many readers would vote for the splendid Falco books by the British writer Lindsey Davis. With her various outings for her canny and tenacious Roman sleuth, Davis has created a sequence of books that have immense vitality to match their spot-on historical detail. Recently, Davis has written in different areas from that of her customary historical patch, but Falco aficionados will be pleased to see his creator once chronicling his prowlings around the Domus Aurea. In the latest book, Nemesis, it is the summer of 77AD, and Marcus Didius Falco is finding that his troubles are ganging up on him. To distract himself from his recent bereavement, he plunges into a new assignment – a couple who provided statues for his father have vanished under puzzling circumstances. A clue might be found in the couple’s dispute with a malign group of freedmen, the Claudii, thuggish types who threaten the neighbourhood from their Pontine Marshes lair. Then a gruesomely mutilated body is found near Rome, and this mystery is also on the agenda for Falco. As often before, he is to find (via his investigations) that the smell of corruption can be detected even in the highest echelons.
Falco is characterised in Nemesis with all the usual gusto, and, as ever, Davis is adept at convincing us that her hero’s anachronistically modern sensibility sits persuasively in ancient Rome. And the experience of living in that world is captured with great imagination. --Barry Forshaw
"Davis is a prolific and popular writer … Her research has been assiduous and detailed, her commitment to the subject is impressive, and the background detail is often eye-opening" (Hilary Mantel Observer)
"One of the best of the current writers in this field" (Donna Leon The Times)
"Surely the best historical detective in the business" (Mike Ripley Daily Telegraph)
"The whole thing is splendid. It has everything: mystery, pace wit, fascinating scholarship … she brings imperial Rome to life" (Ellis Peters)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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
And then the start of a "Next generation" follow on:
21) ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hard to believe this is the twentieth book, there's palpable tension and a sense of foreboding in this, a moral course embarked on which has echoes in today's politics and which... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dom S
Marcus Didius Falco novels are always worth reading. Lindsey Davis is a very good story teller.Published 5 months ago by Fireside reader