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Davis' concept of a wise-cracking, Raymond Chandleresque equivalent in ancient Rome, Didius Falco, was, at the time he first appeared, a new approach to the mystery novel and much praised. But Davis herself has never been an outstanding author, and there are now better authors in the genre [such as Ruth Downie]. Indeed, her later Falco novels weren't particularly good. But this novel is definitely more mediocre than her previous efforts. It is rather a "Everyday Life in Imperial Rome" with large dollops of history, social and political, and an awkward love story inserted at intervals.<br/><br/>Falco succeeded in large part by being in the first person; this book is in the third, and that makes the narrative sections somewhat slow going, not helped by Robin Sachs' attempt at being laconic -- which comes across as monotonous and soporific. <br/><br/>In short, this is overwritten, and not particularly interesting, and read rather than performed. I'd recommend Downie's "Medicus" series instead.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I think this would have been better received by me if the reader didn't drone on so. Good subject matter, but it doesn't hold my attention.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful