Twenty years ago, a mysterious group called the Blue Demon committed a series of bizarre and ritualistic crimes evoking the legacy of the lost race of the Etruscans, and leaving in their wake a group of dead students, a murdered couple, a cryptic message and a kidnapped child.
Now, the leaders of the G8 are descending on Rome for a summit at the Quirinale Palace. But when a politician is found ritually murdered, seemingly by a strange young man dressed as an Etruscan god, detective Nic Costa suspects that the old case was never really solved. The Blue Demon appear to have returned - and planning, under the leadership of the fanatical Andrea Petrakis, to unleash a devastating sequence of attacks on the city. As Costa and his team start to dig deeper into the past, they find that there are still too many unanswered questions - and much more to the history of the Blue Demon than anyone wants to admit.
©2010 David Hewson (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
I have enjoyed David Hewson's previous books in his Rome Series, of which this is the eighth. His hall-mark style is to link a modern police investigation to some historical event, old document or work of art. In this story it's a mythological being, the Blue Demon, from the time of the Etruscans. All the familiar characters are in on the investigation: Nick Costa, Peroni, Theresa Lupo, Falconi, et al. I found this a complicated tale to keep track of as it involved so many threads: political intrigue and corruption, terrorist cells, sleeper operatives from the cold war era, the various mafia-type organizations and clues from the Estruscan era and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. There was more similarity to Frederick Forsyth's style of thriller than other books in the Rome series. By the end of the book I was beginning to think that the author had stretched credibility even further from reality than usual, however, he tacked on a short history of the shenanigans and corruption in the recent Italian political arena which reminded me that it wasn't so preposterous after all.
As usual Saul Reichlin does a magnificent job in bringing the characters to life.
A gathering of Heads of State for an international conference was always going to be a terrorist target but this had you guessing to the end. The additional post script by Hewson further fleshed out the basis for the plot and left you with even more to think about, especially given the current state of Italian politics.
The plot however was much darker than previous books, which have not flinched from strong subjects. I haven't read around the publication of this book so don't know what further plans Hewson has for this series. His books never follow a fixed formula although each character has developed along the line as they work through their strengths and try to avoid their weaknesses.
If you haven't read any of the Rome series, although each book stands on its own, they are best read in sequence especially ahead of this one. Narration was good and thoughtful, juggling the many characters clearly, including the women, so often the downfall of a male reader.
The text is nicely broken up so that you can easily find your place if like me, your MP3 player seems to lack a bookmark. I occasionally needed to go back as Hewson's spare writing style doesn't spell out every single thing, leaving facts to come together at the end. This series has been a class act. I just hope that this is not the end.
The action takes place in Rome and involves an ageing president's wish to uncover the truth behind a so-called terrorist group known as the Blue Demon. The Political world is corrupt and the enemy of the State is the enemy within but not clearly identifiable as there are factions and complications. Darius is near death and no longer has much to fear so he can repair years of political compromise by engaging a police inspector in whose integrity he has complete confidence. The author draws on the ancient authors as well as Robert Graves 'I, Claudius' to show how the lessons of history are there and that if history tends to repeat itself, it is because the nature of man does not change. Despite overwhelming odds morality does win a somewhat muted victory. The author's explanatory notes of Italian politics at the end is excellent and the true story of various assassinations and conspiracies that happened in real life are even more extravagant than the fictitious account of the Blue Demon. I found the narration to be compelling and very convincing as well as nail-biting in its intensity. It is also very complex so sometimes I felt it necessary to reread various passages. The atmosphere of Rome is wonderfully captured. The narrator does a splendid job.
I gave up on this book after about an hour! Long winded and very boring Italian history,politics, etc. Appeared to be more an exercise in the Authors Italian knowledge than a necessary part of the plot which I soon lost track of.
( I have been reading for about 50 years, and many thousand books, so this review is not given lightly!) Disappointing!
A decent and fairly enjoyable storyline even if it stretches credulity a bit far. Good characterisation and the plot moved along well, but I found the narrator's delivery rather wooden and plodding.
I did enjoy this book , it does pick up a pace but I still felt it was a bit laborious at parts. I always find this a bit with David Hewson's books but I keep coming back for more so he must be doing something right!
""Blue Demon" ="City of Fear""
I really wish they'd quit screwing with the titles on Hewson's books. I just got the audiobook, but there was some confusion until I read both descriptions & figured it out (I haven't seen anything to indicate that on the precis). I like Hewson's Nic Costa series, but keep thinking new ones have come out only to find they're old ones with different titles. (btw, "Dante's Numbers" = "Dante's Killings").
Will add a review after I actually listen to it (I gave it 4 stars because of his earlier books).
"Back to form"
After a bit of disappointment with Dantes Numbers, Hewson was back to form with this book. Maybe the stories are getting a little overly complicated, but it had plenty of meat, lots of interesting new characters and all of the regular characters.
I just wish I could listen to some of the earlier books, which are not available on Audible.
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