Top critical review
... first three Falco books in the series and thoroughly enjoyed them. This
on 8 August 2014
I have read the first three Falco books in the series and thoroughly enjoyed them. This, the fourth, seems to me to be a miscalculation by the author, Lindsey Davis. It takes Falco far away from Rome and his natural haunts. However, with the change of scene - not a bad idea in itself - the novel seems to lose focus. For long periods it takes on the characteristics of a boy's own adventure story rather than the type of narrative we have come to expect. Falco and most of his companions face numerous difficulties and life-threatening situations but always manage to come out alive [just]. However, I missed the atmosphere of Rome, which Davis conjures up so well, and Falco seems to be a slightly different character from the one we have grown used to. The worst part of the experience, however, was the massive tranche of Roman History that went with the plot. It was as if the author wanted to impart her undoubtedly detailed knowledge of the period without considering the effect it would have on the plot line. Too many names of obscure people who have little or no impact on the story are included. It was the first Falco which I have struggled to finish, though I did just manage to persist until the end. So a muted welcome to Falco 4, but will it stop me from buying and reading the next book in the series? Absolutely not!