Rome, AD 77 AD, two years before the eruption of Vesuvius – best known for its eruption of AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Some say Nemesis is the Avenging Angel; the retribution of the Gods for the sin of hubris, arrogance, under heaven. Others say Nemesis is the Arch-enemy, an antagonist who stands out from the rogues gallery. Thus, Falco and Petro are faced with an undiscovered nemesis, patron of rather odd cultic murders, until the pieces fall into place.
Continue reading Nemesis
March 2009; I have found a copy of Alexandria, and just finished reading it. Delighted. A review will appear here soon.
Before publication, I was doing a search for new Falco websites (I found Microsoft’s Powerset, which appears to be a Wikipedia enhancement) (some enhancement…. ) when lo—and—behold, I found Alexandria in the search results. Random House had put up a taster and the blurb. Well, now that the proper book cover is available, I have refreshed it with the correct book cover. Continue reading Alexandria
It is the Season of Misrule in Rome, sheer misery for Falco. Uppity slaves give orders to their cringing masters, masters try to hide in their studies, women are goosed, statues wobble, a prince has a broken heart, Helena’s brother will not decide if his heart is broken or not, children are sick and even the dog can’t stand it any more.
Continue reading Saturnalia
Through his brother-in-law Aulus, Falco hears details of two young Roman women who have died in Greece while seeing the sights of the ancient world. Falco and his wife, Helena, travel to Greece to meet up with the tour party which included one of the women, seeking clues to her murder, passing through Olympia, Corinth, Delphi and the oracle of Trophonius at Lebadeia before finally arriving at Athens.
Continue reading See Delphi and Die
Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina travel to Ostia Antica, ostensibly on holiday. However, Falco is forced to confess to Petronius – present there on secondment – that he is in fact investigating the disappearance of Infamia, the pen name of the scribe who writes the gossip column for the Daily Gazette. He is at first believed to be merely a drunken truant, however investigations uncover some murky secrets.
All Rome reads this and eagerly awaits its publication. People love defamation.
Continue reading Scandal Takes a Holiday
Fresh from his trip to Britannia, Marcus Didius Falco needs to re-establish himself back in Rome. A minor role in the trial of a senator entangles him in the machinations of two lawyers: Silus Italicus and Paccius Africanus, both ex-consuls with notorious reputations.
Rome, Autumn AD 75. Falco reflects on informers in general:
I had been an informer for over a decade when I finally learned what the job entailed.
There were no surprises. I knew how society viewed us: lowborn hangers-on, upstarts too impatient for honest careers, or corrupt nobles. The lowest grade was proudly occupied by me, Marcus Didius Falco, son of the utterly plebeian rogue Didius Favonius, heir to nothing and possessing only nobodies for ancestors. My most famous colleagues worked in the Senate and were themselves senators. In popular thought we were all parasites, bent on destroying respectable men.
Continue reading The Accusers
Londinium, Britannia in August AD 75. Falco reflects on his role in the greater scheme of things:
Hilaris was the important one here. He was the procurator of finance in Britain. To put it in perspective, I was a procurator myself but my role—which involved theoretical oversight of the Sacred Geese of Juno—was one of a hundred thousand meaningless honours handed out by the Emperor when he owed someone a favour and was too mean to pay in cash. Vespasian reckoned my services had cost enough, so he settled up remaining debts with a joke. That was me: Marcus Didius Falco, The Imperial Clown.
Continue reading The Jupiter Myth
Rome. Novomagius, Britannia, AD75. Falco (the spy who came in from the cold) is in cold, cold, cold Old Britannia, with memories to boot. It was here that he first met Helena Justina.
Falco arrives at Fishbourne and starts by investigating corrupt practices. However events quickly take a turn for the worse when the Chief Architect is found murdered in the bath-house of the British King. Falco takes over the project and investigates the killings.
Continue reading A Body in the Bath House
Rome. July – August AD 74. Falco is to give a poetry recital with Rutilus Gallicus, and Caesar Domitain is expected. Aurelius Chrysippus, a wealthy Greek banker and vanity publisher, introduces the event and is found dead the next day. With Rubellus absent, and the vigiles busy, Petro hires Faco to resolve the murder.
Families and backgrounds, past history and present day relationships inform many parts of this narrative, both in Falco’s family and Chrysippus’s family; Chrysippus had divorced and remarried. His first wife still operated their bank with a freedman, one Lucrio.
Continue reading Ode to a Banker
Much of this book has been given over to descriptions of varia priesthoods, Deified Emperors, and the rites of the Arval Brothers and Vestal Virgins. What was their purpose and function within the state? Why have they been included as illustrations of the life of the state on the Palatine with Vespasian taking direct intervention, as described by Rutilius Gallicus?
AD 74, late May. Falco has just arrived home from Lepcis Magna in Tripoli with dire news to deliver to his sister. Vespasian and his Great Census interrupt. Next day, Falco crosses his bridge of the unknown and delivers the news. A little 6 year old girl, strong candidate for election as a Vestal Virgin, approaches Falco with her suspicions that someone is trying to kill her. Falco (recently raised to equestrian status by Vespasian, and appointed Procurator of the Sacred Geese and Poultry) has had enough for one day. He declines to take the girl as a client and sends her home. An act which was to cause him quite some work.
Continue reading One Virgin Too Many