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Nemesis: (Falco 20) Hardcover – 3 Jun 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First edition (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846056128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846056123
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

Review

"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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: 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!!
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 May 2011
Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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)
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