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Saturnalia: (Falco 18) (Falco)


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One of the Roman novels from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series

About the Author

Lindsey Davis has written over twenty historical novels, beginning with The Course of Honour. Her bestselling mystery series features laid-back First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy the Chief Spy. After an English degree at Oxford University Lindsey joined the Civil Service, but became a professional author in 1989. Her books are translated into many languages and have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her many prizes include the Premio Colosseo, awarded by the Mayor of Rome 'for enhancing the image of Rome', the Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective and the Crimewriters' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. For more information, please visit


Marcus Didius Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, are back in Rome preparing for Saturnalia celebrations when their plans are upset by an imperial assignment. Celtic priestess Veleda, held captive in a senator's home, has escaped, and a member of the household appears to have been ritually murdered and decapitated, his head found in the atrium pool of the home. Veleda's disappearance is to be kept secret, and Marcus has only a week to find her. His old nemesis, Anacrites, competes in the same assignment but has the Praetorian Guard at his disposal. Marcus's investigation leads him to the fringes of Roman society as he begins to suspect that a serial killer has been adding to the burdens of hunger, disease, and cold that already plague these unfortunates. The complex intertwining of religion and politics complicate the investigation. With a nod to CSI, the medical practices described-a surprising blend of science and quackery-include an army surgeon using forbidden autopsy techniques to help solve the mysteries. Tightly plotted, this 18th series episode is one of Davis's best. Christian Rodska's performance of the cynical and wisecracking Marcus is flawless. Highly recommended for all collections.-Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

As the festive holiday of Saturnalia approaches in Davis's well-crafted 18th Roman historical (after 2006's See Delphi and Die), informer Marcus Didius Falco receives an imperial commission from Emperor Vespasian to solve the murder of nobleman Sextus Gratianus Scaeva. The victim's brother-in-law was holding a valued captive, Veleda, a female German rebel leader who had caused plenty of problems for the Roman Empire. She somehow escaped at the same time the crime occurred, becoming the prime suspect in the process. Unconvinced that the mystery can be wrapped up neatly with the capture of the fugitive, Falco, aided as always by his astute and independent wife, Helena Justina, pursues other leads even as he hopes to find Veleda and prevent further political turmoil. The occasional anachronistic colloquial phrase jars a bit, but overall Davis does her usual sound job of bringing first-century Rome to life. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Like visiting old friends in a familiar and endearing, if sometimes bizarre, environment. Jokes and skulduggery crowd the pages" * Guardian *
"Every book in this series is a delight... fans will snap it up. Highly recommended" * Library Journal *
"Falco wisecracks his way through the empire's sleazy underside...Davis' crimes are wickedly convoluted - real fun" * Time Magazine *
"One of the best in this series, a nice mix of wit and wisecracks" * Literary Review *
"Rome is vividly brought to life - alien yet curiously familiar. And the story gallops along at a tremendous pace with humour and suspense dispensed in equal measure. Saturnalia is another rollicking good yarn" * Daily Express *

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