Christian Rodska reads this complete, full-length Falco novel, by best-selling author Lindsey Davis.
In the high summer of AD 77, Marcus Didius Falco is beset by personal problems. Newly bereaved and facing unexpected upheavals, it is a relief for him to consider someone else's misfortunes. A middle-aged couple who supplied statues to his father, Geminus, have disappeared. They had a feud with a bunch of notorious freedmen, the Claudii, who live rough in the pestilential Pontine Marshes, terrorising the neighbourhood.
When a mutilated corpse turns up near Rome, Falco and his vigiles friend Petronius investigate, even though it means travelling in the dread marshes. But just as they are making progress, the Chief Spy, Anacrites, snatches their case away from them. Making further enquiries after they have been warned off can only be dangerous - but when did that stop Falco and Petronius?
Egged on by the slippery bureaucrats who hate Anacrites, the dogged friends dig deeper while a psychotic killer keeps taking more victims, and the shocking truth creeps closer and closer to home....
©2010 Lindsey Davis (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Fear not~ it is not Helena that needs the funeral pire! Beautifully read once again by Christian Rodska who brings out Falco's sarcasm and wit well.
The story is difficult to review without spoiling, but Marcus meets his darker side, the bond between MDF and HJ holds strong and old friends take up new positions.
All Lindsey Davis' books are brilliant - it's just that some are more brilliant than others - and this is one of them. Few women authors can write leading male characters well, but Lindsey Davis has to be up there with the very best. The story is gripping in itself, but it's more than simply a rattling good detective novel. The death and funeral pyre scenes had me in tears (and I too am pleased that the pyre is not for Helena).
Great stuff - and equally brilliantly read by Christian Rodska.
It's no longer enough to have a simple 'narrator' - we want our characters acted out the the full, and Christian Rodska's skill in portraying everyone from the young Albia and elegant Helena to the nastiest crook and roughest vigile is simply great.
This is a fantastic listen just like the others, although I was VERY disturbed by the ending.... I am forever amazed at how this narrator can sound so much like a woman with only a slight change to his voice.
Audible is my constant companion. When "books day" arrives, it tends to be the reviews of others which influence me in my choices.
As a long-standing fan of Davis's Falco novels, I went into this with slight trepidation due to the relatively low customer rating. I was not to be disappointed, however, quite the reverse; this is Davis back to her best.
The plot is darker than before, with death hanging over the plotline from first sentence to last. Back in Rome, Falco is called in to deal with a set of deathly circumstances reaching back over many years. Without spoiling neither plot nor the superb final twist, this novel reaches back to the depths of the very earliest days of Falco's memoirs.
My only potential criticism is that the characters become slightly too entangled. This may be due to my listening when overly sleepy, however, and I am currently half way through for a second time to make sure. I am far less confused, if confused is the right word; the criticim, therefore, should be aimed more at my listening habits than at Davis's complicated structuring.
This is a novel for all die hard Falco fans, none of whom will be disappointed. I would not recommend that a MDF virgin read this first as too many characters introduced over many books (and adventures!) are all drawn together in one dark plot and a certain knowledge of each is required to fully appreciate what occurs, and why!
I read the previews for this novel and along with the title; I was expecting a very dark book. I was glad to discover that this book has the same light touch, humour and pathos as Lindsey Davis's previous novels. However, we do discover, through some quite unexpected twist and turns, major revelations regarding some of the established characters.
As always Christian Rodska interprets the novel beautifully, his characterisations are just right!
Addicted to audiobooks
I have listened to this book several times already and would happily listen again. It is a well paced story with a lot of the familiar "Falco" characters and a few new ones.
Saturnalia. Another plot involving the Chief Spy and intrigue amongst the palace officials.
I found Falco's personal struggle with what he felt he had to do to get information from one of the hired thugs to be moving and complex.
Some of the chosen pronunciations of the characters' names grate a little. The stresses seem to be on the wrong syllables!
A good read, more concern with sticky moral issues in this one. Rights and wrongs are more ambiguously discussed.
I have read several books with Falco as the main character and this was a disappointment. Basically the plot was weak and the end was not a great surprise.
Any scepticism that I may have had has been suspended with this wonderful and very well researched
story. The narrator helps to achieve this too. I feel that I am getting a priviledged glimpse into a world
long passed, whose storyline themes continue to be relevant and haunt the minds of people far into the future.
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