Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on 5 June 2012
I've tried to read Lindsey Davies books before, and having ploughed my way through one of Ruth Downie's Ruso books, I'd thought I'd try again, after all it couldn't be worse. It was actually quite decent, an engaging story, the historical accuracy is hard to fault, and the unique use of the Vigiles was interesting [something Manda Scott made a complete hash of. My only [historical] grump here, is that yet another writer making a complete balls-up about Roman espionage. Why do writers insist on portraying Roman spies in a very Elizabethan way, mixed with a little MI5 intelligence unit. There was silly me, wondering why Titus wasn't making use of the cohort of Praetorian Speculatores on the other side of the city. Which leads me to another bugbear, just like Scott's Pantera, we are told that he is this great spy, but we never see it. All I saw was a private detective in the mould of Morse, Poirot and Rebus.
But I could have lived with that. What killed it for me was the modern colloquialism, and especially the Americanisms such as 'she looked cute.' Yuck. Now you don't have to tell me about Latin slang, I'm studying Ancient History and learning Latin, Roman slang and expletives are my favourite subject. The Romans where very colourful and fun with their slang, so why turn it into something so banal? It left me yearning for the Anglo-Saxon expletives of Simon Scarrow.
I do intend to read Davies' new book 'Master and God,' as I am interested in the subject, but apart from that I don't expect to read another.