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Enjoyable diversion in an excellent series
on 19 January 2016
This entry in Lindsey Davis' Falco series sees the main protagonist once again far from Rome in the borders of the empire and beyond. Sent by his old sparring partner Anacrites to do a bit of spying on the Nabataeans (at least, that is what he is told) he also picks up a side case to search for a missing water organist by another old acquaintance. He is joined on the journey by Helena, and together they come across a murder or two, a travelling theatre company, a reticent priest, and a snake (or two).
Falco's personality is now well established, and Helena has become more rounded as well. Their relationship is an interesting part of this tale, as here they are 'alone together' (so to speak) and reliant on one another in a way they would not be in Rome. This story seemed a bit weak to begin with, but it builds slowly, and becomes quite gripping. The self-contained group in which the couple find themselves for most of the book allow the author to play with the dynamics of such a company, allowing the loves, lies, stories and petty jealousies to slowly appear. This is all written really well, with a pace and style that are perfect for me. I'm looking forward to reading the next volume.