March-April, AD72, our man Falco is back in Rome, complete from his mission for the Emperor Vespasian in Germania. It is evening in Rome, cold and wet, and the sixth-floor flat on the Aventine has been broken into and occupied by squatters. Pigeons have taken advantage of the hole in the roofing, and of course, the rain is dripping through … Falco, Helena Justina and the six year old ward, Augustinilla, cannot bed down for the night. Off to Ma’s where Falco finds the centurion Censorinus (of his late brother’s Legion) in residence, awaiting his arrival. Censorinus is given the order of the boot into the pouring rain; Falco suggests he may obtain lodging at Flora’s, the local caupona, an inn where wine and ready dressed provisions are sold. There might be rooms available upstairs, suggests Falco.
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