×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco Series #18)
     

Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco Series #18)

4.8 7
by Lindsey Davis
 

See All Formats & Editions

One of the stories from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series.

It is the Roman holiday of Saturnalia. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties. A general has captured a famous enemy of Rome, and brings her home to adorn his Triumph as a ritual sacrifice. The logistics go wrong; she acquires a mystery illness - then a young man is

Overview

One of the stories from the bestselling historical fiction Falco series.

It is the Roman holiday of Saturnalia. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties. A general has captured a famous enemy of Rome, and brings her home to adorn his Triumph as a ritual sacrifice. The logistics go wrong; she acquires a mystery illness - then a young man is horrendously murdered and she escapes from house arrest.

Marcus Didius Falco is pitted against his old rival, the Chief Spy Anacrites, in a race to find the fugitive before her presence angers the public and makes the government look stupid. Falco has other priorities, for Helena's brother Justinus has also vanished, perhaps fatefully involved once more with the great lost love of his youth.

Against the riotous backdrop of the season of misrule, the search seems impossible and only Falco seems to notice that some dark agency is bringing death to the city streets...


Editorial Reviews

EBOOK COMMENTARY

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

Publishers Weekly

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
Library Journal

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

Kirkus Reviews
The festival of Saturnalia, a December holiday of license and merriment for all classes, proves a ticklish time to hunt down a killer. It's 76 A.D. when undercover agent Marcus Didius Falco gets the dangerous and politically sensitive job of finding an enemy of the state who has escaped house arrest, leaving behind the decapitated body of Scaeva, the owner's brother-in-law. The escapee is Veleda, a German warrior princess Falco previously met on a mission to stamp out a revolt she was fomenting. Back then Veleda had a brief fling with Justinus, Falco's brother-in-law, and helped them both escape from Germany. Justinus, now a married man, is still a little in love with her. Falco's opposed by Anacrites and his Praetorian Guards, who are also tasked with finding Veleda. Having often outwitted the Praetorians' inept chief spy, he hopes to find Veleda and prevent her death, prove she didn't commit murder and save his brother-in-law's marriage. As Falco travels the streets of Rome, awash with drunken revelers, he realizes that destitute people are turning up dead in unusually high numbers. With help from his friends and his clever, aristocratic wife Helena, Falco finds the answers to many questions, including who killed Scaeva and whether there really is a serial killer in Rome. The latest entry in Davis's long-running series (See Delphi and Die, 2006, etc.) boasts a straightforward mystery along with her usual double helping of historical detail.
From the Publisher
“Like visiting old friends in a familiar and endearing, if sometimes bizarre, environment. Jokes and skullduggery crowd the pages.”
Guardian

“Falco wisecracks his way through the empire’s sleazy underside . . . Davis’s crimes are wickedly convoluted — real fun.”
Time

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781446455210
Publisher:
RANDOM HOUSE
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Series:
Marcus Didius Falco Series , #18
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
172,151
File size:
713 KB

Related Subjects

Meet 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 lindseydavis.co.uk.


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Saturnalia 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 76 C.E. Roman Emperor Vespasian orders informer Marcus Didius Falco to investigate the murder of nobleman Sextus Gratianus Scaeva. The Emperor is concerned that the homicide is an act of terrorism related to Scaeva's brother-in-law, who has incarcerated Veleda, a Germanic rebel chieftain who was leading an insurgency against the Roman Empire. This she-wolf escaped her captivity while the killing occurred.------------- Though everyone else including the Emperor assumes Veleda killed Scaeva, Falco and his astute wife Helena Justina have some doubts as the timing of her escape is too convenient and had to be helped by an insider. He and Helena investigate how the woman obtained her freedom because they feel that is the path to the culprit at the same time they want to recapture Veleda before someone else who wants her silenced.---------------- As always in this long running Ancient Rome mystery series, Falco and Helena are astute, witty, and fun to observe as they work the homicide in which the ¿media¿ frenzy, the politicians, and the public have already convicted Veleda. Everyone seems to demand that the married sleuths do likewise with one person willing to kill them to emphasize that point. Fans will enjoy the latest whodunit that takes a modern day concept of hanging the most likely suspect before the evidence is fully found and effortlessly brings it into the first century Common Era due mostly to the strong cast especially the lead couple.-------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical mysteries that have been well researched, but my favorites will always be those that include a good deal of comic relief, as all the Falco mysteries do. Once you read any of them, you are tempted to read them all, and reading them from first to last published is a particular treat. I highly recommend them.
Crime-reader More than 1 year ago
For those who love historical crime thrillers, do not hesitate starting those series about greatest detective in Roman times: Marcus Didius Falco and his troupe of investigators (some unwilling!). For those who already know the series this installment not only does show a great plot and a historical context, but also a great opportunity to know the most famous festivity of Romans at the time! Not to mention is another great reunion with all those beloved characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this wonderful 18th century mystery story and think you will too, especially, if you are a mystery lover like I am! The characters are great and the plot will keep you happily reading along!