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Summary

The next book in the thrilling Flavia Albia series, by acclaimed author Lindsey Davis.

Saturnalia, the Romans' mid-December feast, nominally to celebrate the sun's rebirth but invariably a drunken riot. Flavia Albia needs a case to investigate, but all work is paused. 

The Aventine is full of fracturing families. Wives plot to leave their husbands; husbands plot to spend more time with their mistresses. Masters must endure slaves taking obscene liberties, while aggressive slaves are learning to ape dangerous masters. But no one wants to hire an investigator during the holiday. 

Albia is lumped with her own domestic stress: overexcited children and bilious guests, too many practical jokes and her magistrate husband Tiberius preoccupied with local strife. He fears a Nut War. Nuts are both the snack and missile of choice of tipsy celebrants, so there is a fortune to be made. This year a hustling gang from the past is horning in on the action.

As the deadly menace strikes even close to home, and with law and order paused for partying, Albia and Tiberius must go it alone. The emperor has promised the people a spectacular entertainment - but Domitian himself is a target for the old criminals' new schemes. Can the Undying Sun survive the winter solstice, or will criminal darkness descend upon Rome?

©2021 Lindsey Davis (P)2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

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    2 out of 5 stars
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that's it I'm done...

this series is not getting any better, jolly hickey sticks narration reads like a famous five story and just as annoying, stories are dull and don't carry any thrill or mystery just plod along throwing in the occasional historical reference

2 people found this helpful

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Rather Disappointing

I’m a huge Lindsey Davis fan - both of the Falco and Albia novels.

However, I found this one confusing because of the large cast of characters. Also, I usually learn interesting facts about Roman society from the books but felt that there was a lot of repetition in this one and no clear theme.

Albia is beginning to seem smug and annoying rather than confident. I admit that I’m sad to hear Falco and Petro sounding posh: I miss Christian Rodska and Anton Lesser.

I’ll continue to buy the books. Maybe it’s lockdown blues affecting my appreciation.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Violence in ancient Rome

Oh dear, so many violent deaths, mostly by fire. Decapitated sheep, poisonous nuts, whole families burnt alive, incest. Not the humour I have come to expect from Lindsay Davis.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Love this series

I have read or listened to all the Falco and Flavia Alba books and enjoyed all
of them. I love the attention to detail of the history of the times, and that the people in them have the attitudes of the time and not the 21st century, which is a huge mistake too many historical authors make. The narration is excellent as always and brings the whole thing to life.

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up to usual standard

another exciting story about Flavia alba and her growing family. as ever, clever plots to keep you guessing

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Love this series

I started the Falco series many years ago but lost interest. This series is really well narrated and good fun if sometimes a bit gruesome.