In the high summer of A.D. 77, Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco is beset by personal problems. Newly bereaved and facing unexpected upheavals in his life, it is a relief for him to consider someone else's misfortunes. A middle-aged couple who supplied statues to his father, Geminus, have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. They had an old feud with a bunch of notorious freedmen, the Claudii, who live rough in the pestilential Pontine Marshes, terrorizing the neighborhood.
When a mutilated corpse turns up near Rome, Falco and his vigiles friend Petronius investigate, even though it means traveling in the dread marshes. But just as they are making progress, the Chief Spy, Anacrites, snatches their case away from them. As his rivalry with Falco escalates, he makes false overtures of friendship, but fails to cover up the fact that the violent Claudii have acquired corrupt protection at the highest level. Making further enquiries after they have been warned off can only be dangerous - but when did that stop Falco and Petronius?
Egged on by the slippery bureaucrats who hate Anacrites, the dogged friends dig deeper while a psychotic killer keeps taking more victims, and the shocking truth creeps closer and closer to home.
After Alexandria, the first book in this long-running series to hit the New York Times Bestseller list, Lindsey Davis brings her beloved characters and series back to Rome in a book that brings together a number of long-running plot threads to surprising and compelling conclusions.
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"With its tricky, suspenseful plot, this entry deserves to join its immediate predecessor on bestseller lists, though some modern-sounding prose ... won't please every historical fan." - Publishers Weekly
"Another well-plotted Falco mystery, more emotionally complex than others, but it may unsettle some fans; yes, it's darker, and our boys push the envelope in their search for justice. Still important for lovers of historical mystery." - Library Journal
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Lindsey Davis was born and raised in Birmingham, read English at Oxford, then joined the civil service. After thirteen years, her first novel (which she'd written for herself) was runner-up for the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize, which encouraged her to leave her job and try to become a writer.
She had romantic serials commissioned for Woman's Realm, then changed to writing about the Romans with The Course of Honour, the remarkable true love story of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Antonia Caenis. Her research into imperial Rome then inspired The Silver Pigs, the first in the Falco series about a Roman informer in the AD70s, which has now attracted a devoted readership.
The Silver Pigs won the Authors' Club Best First Novel for 1989, and Davis was awarded the CWA ...
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