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Time to Depart (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – Large Print, January 1, 1998

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fresh from Last Act in Palmyra, Marcus Didius Falco, that most modern of ancient Romans, takes on organized crime in this latest installment of Davis's impeccably executed series. Falco has a job everyone loves to hate: he's the Emperor Vespasian's informer, or private detective?and he does his work well. This time, he's up against Balbinus Pius, perhaps the original John Gotti. Balbinus has finally been convicted of a capital crime, but, in traditional Roman style, he's been given a chance to flee before his scheduled execution. The power vacuum created by his departure seems to have sucked up every miscreant in Rome: markets are plundered, children are kidnapped, centurions are murdered. While Falco sets out to determine whether the crime wave is the work of a new kingpin or a herd of small-time operators, his private life is also in a bit of a spin. Companion Helena, a senator's daughter whom Falco is forbidden by law to marry because of their differing rank, is pregnant. And he's also pitted against his old army buddy and best friend, Petronius, captain of the fourth cohort of the Aventine Watch, in a corruption investigation. The tale gets a bit bumpy, as Davis, compensating for a slightly subpar mystery plot, tosses in lots of action scenes and personal turmoil. But Falco remains as delightfully irreverent and insightful as ever; and Davis, as usual, brings the time to life while handling the eternals?worry, danger, love and in-laws?just as deftly.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Davis (Last Act in Palmyra, LJ 2/1/96) turns her prodigious talents once again to ancient Rome. Marcus Didius Falco, series "secret agent," tracks an infamous criminal supposedly in exile who is exacting murderous revenge on his enemies. Dependable entertainment.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446605913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446605915
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lindsey Davis' Roman novels begin chronologically with The Course of Honour, the love story of the Emperor Vespasian and Antonia Caenis. 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; there is a reader handboook, 'Falco: the Official Companion'. A new series, featuring Flavia Albia, will begin in 2013. 'Master and God' set in the time of the Emperor Domitian, was published in 2012. She has also written an epic novel of the English Civil War and Commonwelath, 'Rebels and Traitors'. Her books are translated into many languages and serialised on BBC Radio 4. Past Chair of the Crimewriters' Association and a Vice President of the Classical Association, she was Chair of the UK SOciety of Authors (2012) She has won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Dagger in the Library, and a Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective. She has also been awarded the Premio Colosseo for enhancing the image of Rome, and the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement as a mystery writer.
She was born in Birmingham but now lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Balbinus Pius, the notorious Roman crime lord, has just been sent into exile so things should be quiet in Vespasian's city, right? Wrong. First, an organized band of thieves pulls off a major heist. Then the dead bodies start showing up. Falco and his good friend, Petronius Longus, will soon be joining the ranks of the dead if they aren't able to solve this mystery soon.
Unlike many private detectives who seem to have no family ties, Falco is cursed with a rogues gallery of relatives all of whom have problems that he is called upon to solve. This time his niece, Tertulla, has disappeared and his father's load of Syrian glass has been hijacked.
To complicate matters further, Falco is on the outs with his best friend, Petronius, he has to find a home for an abandoned baby, he's been deputed to act as augurer at his landlord's wedding, and his girlfriend, Helena, is pregnant. Things can't get much worse for our hero, can they? Of course, they can.
One of the aspects of this book that I really enjoyed is the focus on the day to day activities of the vigiles or local police force. If you're looking for a good read, I highly recommend Time to Depart and suggest checking out Davis's other Falco mysteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Author Bill Peschel on May 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Rome of the Vespasian's time may be ancient to us, but it's home to Marcus Didius Falco, the emperor's informer and hero of "Time to Depart," the seventh book in this series by Lindsey Davis.
The departure in the title is that of Balbinus Pius, the godfather of Rome's underworld. Convicted of a capital crime, he is given "time to depart" under law to escape execution. Return to the city would mean death.
Shortly thereafter, the city is hit with a number of grandiose crimes: a market is emptied of valuable goods, the goldsellers are robbed in daylight, and, worst of all, men connected with Balbinus' trial are found tortured and killed. Falco finds himself in the center of these troubles in a number of ways. The goods he bought overseas on behalf of his father were among the stolen goods, and his best friend, Petronius Longus, was the officer who put away Balbinus. On behalf of the emperor, he must help his Petro determine who is seeking to replace Balbinus, as well as secretly determine who in the empire's version of a police force, may be on the take.
Falco is also troubled by domestic matters when he finds that his lover, the daughter of a Senator who cannot marry him under law, is pregnant. Apart from the legal troubles (which, irritatingly, are neither resolved, nor did it turn out as threatening as Falco thought), he also needs to find a home, both for his expanding family and a mongrel dog determined to join them.
One of the pleasures of visiting a historical world is in seeing just how different it is from our day. The world of ancient Rome did not have autos or phones, windows or locks on doors. A high-rise meant a five-story building.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the seventh Falco book Davis rebounds from the lackluster Last Act in Palmyra to give a wonderfully entertaining pot-boiler set almost completely in Rome. The story picks up with Marcus and Helena just returning from their adventures in Syria while at the same time, a criminal mastermind of Rome is being exiled due to the efforts of Marcus' best friend. Petronius Lucius. Davis takes the domino effect of what happens when an underworld figure is brought down and recreates it in Rome to great success. Sub-plots of police corruption, sex scandals, power plays, and other such matters are lifted from yesterday's headlines and used to great effect in this entry in the series. Of course, there are all manner of other complications thrown in the path of Marcus, just to keep things interesting. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this entry is the exploration of Marcus and Petronius' friendship, which is laid out to greater scrutiny than ever before. A definite winner.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the seventh novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth in Rome at the time of Vespasian. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in the Roman world of circa AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop. In this the seventh novel Falco and Helena Justina almost seem like long lost relations to the reader.

Time to Depart the title of this latest offering from Lindsey Davis is quite a poignant phrase. If a Roman citizen committed a crime they were not confined to prison but in the true sense of the words they were given time to depart from the Roman Empire and very few were ever allowed to return. Exile was considered to be the worst punishment possible for a Roman. Falco is on the quay at Ostia. "It is Time to Depart" for one of Rome's most famous criminals and Falco and his friend, Petronius are there to see that it actually happens.

In this book Lindsey Davis has allowed Falco to remain within the confines of his beloved Rome. Working with his oldest friend Petronius Longinus, Captain of the Aventine Watch. There has been an outbreak of robberies and murder in the city and Falco and Petro pool their resources to try to get to the bottom of them. At the same time Falco is looking for a new place to live for himself and Helena. He believes that in a few months time their old apartment will not be big enough for them
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