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Summary

"I’ve always wanted to see something of the Empire outside Rome."

AD 71. Germania Libera: dark, dripping forests inhabited by bloodthirsty barbarians and legendary wild beasts, a furious prophetess who terrorises Rome, and the ghostly spirits of slaughtered Roman legionaries.

Enter Falco, an Imperial agent on a special mission: to find the absconding commander of a legion whose loyalty is suspect. Easier said than done, thinks Falco as he makes his uneasy way down the Rhenus, trying to forget that back in sunny Rome his girlfriend, Helena Justina, is being hotly pursued by Titus Caesar. His mood is not improved when he discovers his only allies are a woefully inadequate bunch of recruits, their embittered centurion, a rogue dog, and its innocent young master - just the right kind of support for an agent unwillingly trying to tame the Celtic hordes.

©1992 Lindsey Davis (P)2015 Audible, Ltd.

What listeners say about The Iron Hand of Mars

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shame about the narrator!

Love the books...Bring back Christian Rodska! Please! He has a much more sympathetic voice for the character and he shifts back into pompous mode after every break in the narration. If I didn't love Falco so much I would not have bought the books and I don't enjoy listening with gritted teeth.

4 people found this helpful

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Cold, wet and dull

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Christian Rodska narrating, and a some sun, warmth and joviality. Too full of long historical tracts about various legions of the Roman Army. Set n Germany inthe weather is always wet, cold, raining, drizzly, dank and depressing.

What will your next listen be?

A Falco set back in Rome.

What didn’t you like about Gordon Griffin’s performance?

He does not sound lke Falco, as he is not a cheeky chap who uses his charm and wit to get results.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Iron Hand of Mars?

I would cut down the length of the historical descriptions from the start

Any additional comments?

I miss Christian Rodska!

2 people found this helpful

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The usual quality recording

I've listened to all the Falco novels several times and love the plots, the characters and the wit. This one is of the usual quality - excellent.

I find I enjoy Gordon Griffin just as much as Christian Rodska. I don't know what the criticism is about. They are both brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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Definitely worth getting if you are a Falco fan

Any additional comments?

It may not be read by Christian Rodska but is really well read and I will be getting the others read by Gordan Griffin.

1 person found this helpful

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Poor narration

The story is another great work by Davis, with excellent historical detail.

The performance really lets it down. The narrator sounds as though he is reading the text for the first time, and as such gets the emphasis all wrong. The text loses a lot of humour this way. It's frustrating and I think I will have to read the rest as the audiobooks are not very enjoyable.

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Excellent

This is my fourth listen/read within a short space of time to the Falco series, and this is my favourite to date. There is more geography covered and more that might make you think you need to know about Roman military ranks which might suggest knowing these are key, BUT in listening/reading terms they do not really matter and you pick up most all almost atmospherically. The novel is better classed as an adventure than a detective, and there is really good focus on character. The relationships between Falco and Helena also figures strongly and this grounds these novels in terms of 'what will happen to them next'. The narrator is very good, though I still wish for a younger sounding voice and in the billing-and-cooing scenes he sounds somewhat unconvincing. (Oh, what these novels would be like performer by Anton Lesser.) I sometimes wish that more was made available to listeners/readers such as good sized maps and quick reference sections appropriate to each book. (That is a publisher thing rather than author.) That said the list of characters and their humour-laden descriptions in the novels I have read/listened to so far are really excellent. This is a novel to enjoy; do.

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Falco at his best

Loved it Lindsey Davis brings the Roman Empire to live . I love Falco his wit is well matched by Helena. Can't wait to hear the next one

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Another enjoyable read.

Really enjoyed this book. I have read some of the others too,and liked those too.

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Lindsey Davis makes Falco more endearing

Another adventure for Marcus Didius Falco this time travelling to the outskirts of the Roman empire and befriending Helena Justina's younger brother whilst solving another murder, absolutely fascinating !!!!

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Enjoyable episode in the series

I think the narrator is perfect for the role of falco and enjoy these books.

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  • DFK
  • 09-06-19

These are growing on me more and more

I don’t know if this episode - which I rated 5 stars for everything - is better than the earlier ones that did not get 5 starts from me across the board is really better, but I am definitely totally hooked and enjoyed every minute. I do speed up the narration to 1.25, as I find it a bit slow at the regular speed. The slightly sped up gives everything Falco says a certain urgency, and I think it fits the narrative totally. Why is there no TV series for these stories? It would be fun!

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  • Son of Thor's whimper
  • 05-03-19

The female eye

This is an early Falco novell which I missed reading when it arrived. As as novell it is well written, well researched and as a story well crafted, but this novell has two major drawbacks:
The story is not a detective story in Roman clothing. Interesting at it was to read, the story did not deliver what I have come to expect and appreciate from Lindsey Davis.
The second drawback is the odd perspective, which I seen in many of Davis' books but which has vanished with the Alba subseries. Davis is writing in first person with Didius Falco doing all the interaction. But it is a modern, female, middle aged English woman doing the writting and it does not really work here. Didius Falco is some idealized contemporary man without any believable inner machinery. Had he been a true Roman he would have been the unchallanged and unrivalled master of his houselhold. His woman could hope for a respecful treatment, but the sexual mores was completely differentat during that time. Marcus can sexually use and abuse all his householders, slaves, freemen as well as animals. Without any missgivings about this from anyone. He legally could kill his own offspring or slaves (no need to hide a dead slave under the bedroom floor there, as it happens in the story. Nor would his teenage girls behave in such a modern manner) In this book, the distance to the Rome of antiquity is too large and the story suffers. In later books these things have become less obvious, but the sickening smell of a Roman man whipped by his woman remains all over the series in a blatantly gendered and ahistoric missconception of what a man is. A female Eye so to say has written this.