The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco Series #4)

( 7 )

Overview

When Germanic troops in the service of the Empire begin to rebel, and a Roman general disappears, Emperor Vespasian turns to the one man he can trust: Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer whose rates are low enough that even the stingy Vespasian is willing to pay them.

 

To Falco, an undercover tour of Germania is an assignment from Hades. On a journey that only a stoic could survive, Falco meets with disarray, torture, and murder. His one hope: in the northern forest ...

See more details below
Paperback
$18.31
BN.com price
(Save 3%)$18.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $6.49   
  • New (4) from $10.88   
  • Used (6) from $6.49   
The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco Series #4)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

When Germanic troops in the service of the Empire begin to rebel, and a Roman general disappears, Emperor Vespasian turns to the one man he can trust: Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer whose rates are low enough that even the stingy Vespasian is willing to pay them.

 

To Falco, an undercover tour of Germania is an assignment from Hades. On a journey that only a stoic could survive, Falco meets with disarray, torture, and murder. His one hope: in the northern forest lives a powerful Druid priestess who perhaps can be persuaded to cease her anti-Rome activities and work for peace. Which Falco is eagerly hoping for as, back in Rome, the Titus Caesar is busy trying to make time with Helena Justina, a senator’s daughter and Falco’s girlfriend.

 

Lindsey Davis' historical mystery Iron Hand of Mars is a "Seamless blending of humor, history and adventure" (Publishers Weekly).

The fourth book in the bestselling mystery series set in ancient Rome offers "a seamless blending of humor, history, and adventure."--Publishers Weekly. When the emperor dispatches P.I. Marcus Didius Falco to find a possible traitor in the ranks of Rome, Falco find more--he finds murder!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Seamless blending of humor, history and adventure."

Publishers Weekly

 

"Falco's never-ending wise cracks, humorous self-abasement, and genuine niceness are more than enough to captivate readers; the rich historical details add a caloric layer of frosting."

School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In A.D. 71, the Emperor Vespasian sends his reluctant agent Marcus Didius Falco to Germany to bring a rebel chieftain into line and to find a missing legate whose battle-worn legion had surrendered him to a druidic sorceress. In his fourth appearance, after Venus in Copper , the worldly-wise, ever - entertaining Falco journeys up the river Rhenus, encountering hardships and danger, including murder, and resolving puzzles of politics and commerce. In Roman Germany, Falco's military experience in Gaul and his knowledge of historic Gallic battles will help him deal with fort intrigues and the mysterious ways of the forest tribes. His travails in Upper Germany are as much physical as cerebral; indeed, he saves his company from a wild aurochs in a last-ditch leap that recalls ancient Greek bull-dancing practices. Accompanied in part by his lover, the high-born Helena Justina (who has caught the eye of Vespasian's son Titus), and aided by her brother Camillus Justinus, an untried but courageous young officer, Falco stays alive, accomplishes the Emperor's mission and holds on to his girl--feats as accomplished as Davis's seamless blending of humor, history and adventure. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
YA-The adventures of Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman detective, continue in this fourth tale of sleuthing in A.D. 71. Still in love with the patrician Helen, Marcus is sent to the German wilderness to determine the loyalty of the Fourteenth legion to Rome by Titus Caesar, a would-be suitor of Helen's. Carrying a giant iron hand, a gift of the god Mars to the Fourteenth legion, Marcus must contend with barbarians, incompetent army recruits, and a potential scandal over a pottery contract. Falco's never-ending wise cracks, humorous self-abasement, and genuine niceness are more than enough to captivate readers; the rich historical details add a caloric layer of frosting.-Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312647292
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Series: Marcus Didius Falco Series , #4
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 357,627
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Lindsey Davis was born and raised in Birmingham, England. After taking an English degree at Oxford and working for the civil service for thirteen years, she “ran away to be a writer.” Her internationally bestselling novels featuring ancient Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco include Venus in Copper, Nemesis and Alexandria. She is also the author of Rebels and Traitors, set during the English Civil War. Davis is the recipient of the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, the highest accolade for crime writers, as well as the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and the Authors' Club Best First Novel award.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

I

 

“One thing is definite,” I told Helena Justina; “I am not going to Germany!”

Immediately I could see her planning what to pack for the trip.

*   *   *

We were in bed at my apartment, high up on the Aventine. A real sixth-floor bughole—only most bugs grew tired of walking upstairs before they ever got this far. I passed them sometimes, flaked out on halfway landings, with droopy antennae and tired little feet …

It was a place you could only laugh about, or the squalor would break your heart. Even the bed was rocky. And that was after I had pieced in a new leg and tightened the mattress webs.

I was trying out a new way of making love to Helena, which I had devised in the interests of not letting our relationship go stale. I had known her a year, let her seduce me after six months of thinking about it, and had finally managed to persuade her to live with me about two weeks ago. According to my previous experience of women, I must be right on target to be told I drank too much and slept too much, and that her mother needed her urgently back at home.

My athletic efforts at holding her interest had not gone unnoticed. “Didius Falco … wherever did you … learn this trick?”

“Invented it myself…”

Helena was a senator’s daughter. Expecting her to put up with my filthy lifestyle for more than a fortnight had to be pushing my luck. Only a fool would view her fling with me as anything more than a bit of local excitement before she married some pot-bellied pullet in patrician stripes who could offer her emerald pendants and a summer villa at Surrentum.

As for me, I worshipped her. But then I was the fool who kept hoping the fling could be made to last.

“You’re not enjoying yourself.” As a private informer, my powers of deduction were just about adequate.

“I don’t think…” Helena gasped, “this is going to work!”

“Why not?” I could see several reasons. I had cramp in my left calf, a sharp pain under one kidney, and my enthusiasm was flagging like a slave kept indoors on a festival holiday.

“One of us,” suggested Helena, “is bound to laugh.”

“It looked all right as a rough sketch on the back of an old rooftile.”

“Like pickling eggs. The recipe seems easy, but the results are disappointing…”

I replied that we were not in the kitchen, so Helena asked demurely whether I thought it would help if we were. Since my Aventine doss lacked that amenity altogether, I treated her question as rhetorical.

We both laughed, if it’s of interest.

Then I unwound us, and made love to Helena the way both of us liked best.

*   *   *

“Anyway, Marcus, how do you know the Emperor wants to send you to Germany?”

“Nasty rumour flitting round the Palatine.”

We were still in bed. After my last case had staggered to what passed for its conclusion, I had promised myself a week of domestic relaxation—due to a dearth of new commissions, there were plenty of gaps in the schedule of my working life. In fact, I had no cases at all. I could stay in bed all day if I wanted to. Most days I did.

“So…” Helena was a persistent type. “… You have been making enquiries then?”

“Enough to know some other mug can take on the Emperor’s mission.”

Since I did sometimes undertake shady activity for Vespasian, I had been up to the Palace to investigate my chances of earning a corrupt denarius from him. Before presenting myself in the throne room, I had taken the precaution of sniffing round the back corridors first. A wise move: a well-timed exchange with an old crony called Momus had sent me scurrying home.

“Much work on, Momus?” I had asked.

“Chicken-feed. I hear your name is down for the German trip?” was the reply (with a mocking laugh that told me it was something to dodge).

“What trip is that?”

“Just your sort of disaster,” Momus had grinned. “Something about investigating the Fourteenth Gemina…”

That was when I had pulled my cloak round my ears and scarpered—before anyone could inform me officially. I knew enough about the XIV Legion to put quite a lot of effort into avoiding closer contact, and without going into painful history, there was no reason why those swaggering braggarts should welcome a visit from me.

*   *   *

“Has the Emperor actually spoken to you?” insisted my beloved.

“Helena, I won’t let him. I’d hate to cause offence by turning down his wonderful offer…”

“Life would be much more straightforward if you just let him ask you, and then simply said no!”

I gave her a smirk that said women (even clever, well-educated daughters of senators) could never understand the subtleties of politics—to which she replied with a two-handed shove that sent me sprawling out of bed. “We need to eat, Marcus. Go and find some work!”

“What are you going to do?”

“Paint my face for a couple of hours, in case my lover calls.”

“Oh, right! I’ll go, and leave him a clear field…”

We were joking about the lover. Well, I hoped we were.

 

Copyright © 1992 by Lindsey Davis

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2013

    I find the plot twists interesting,as well as the day to day det

    I find the plot twists interesting,as well as the day to day detail of Roman life.  I wish to find books 6 through 10 for nook. Is there any release dates? Or have I missed  them?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have not read this particular book but have read many in the series. This series is a real hoot. I just love them. Start at first to fully appreciate the characters and follow the life of our hero.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)