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The Ides of April: A Flavia Albia Mystery (Flavia Albia Series) Hardcover – June 11, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Fans of Davis’ best-selling series featuring first-century Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco will welcome the arrival of this spin-off centered on Falco’s spirited adopted daughter, Flavia Albia. The lovely young woman, who has had a minor but memorable presence in the previous series entries, is known for her intellectual acumen and acid tongue. Now she puts those traits on display in a series debut that’s both suspenseful and sly. (Would we expect anything less of the talented Davis?) As the novel opens, Flavia Albia has taken over her father’s rundown digs at Fountain Court in the Surbura district of Rome, where she’s faced with a most unsavory client. (Alas, work is work, and, as a neophyte investigator, she can’t afford to be particular.) Flavia Albia’s windfall turns to woe when her charge is found dead. To make matters worse, she is suspected of having a hand in the crime. Like her father, Flavia Albia relies on levity and level-headedness to find her way out of trouble. Davis delights once again with her trademark blend of quirky characters and rich period detail. Given the author’s prolific nature (the Falco series has 20-plus installments), readers can anticipate Flavia Albia to be a compelling presence for years to come. --Allison Block


“Davis' best-selling historical mysteries brim with colorful characters and rich period detail, providing readers with a vivid portrait of ancient Rome.” ―Booklist on Master and God

“Lindsey Davis doesn't just bring Rome to life--she brings Rome to life better than anyone else ever has.” ―Detroit Free Press on The Silver Pigs

“An irresistible package of history, mystery, and fast-moving action, all punctuated by a sense of humor that few writers can match.” ―The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Venus in Copper


Product Details

  • Series: Flavia Albia Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First U. S. Edition edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250023696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250023698
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,143 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

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jillian on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I approached this novel with some trepidation as I so much enjoyed the Falco series, and wasn't at all sure whether I would warm to the next generation. I think the author has made a smooth transition, letting the reader know what has become of well-loved characters, who are not referred to by name, but as 'my father', etc. Thus, a new group of readers do not feel at a loss, but Falco followers learn something of what has happened in the family in the ten years since 'Nemesis'.
I found it interesting how Davis has established the independence and individuality of her heroine, and look forward to more of her adventures.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jack E. Holt, III on July 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot tell you how excited I was to begin this book. . . or how eager I was to read more when I finished it.

The mystery is fun. The killer seems obvious from the beginning, in some ways, but the fun is in seeing the cast all realize it. It's like a Colombo mystery from TV. You see the killer. The fun is in seeing how they catch him.

But what really sells these novels is the setting.

I love Roman history. Each novel has had a tidbit of real Roman history and a lot of background to support it. This one is no different.

But, whereas Ms. Davis' last Roman series was set in the relatively benign reign of Vespasian, this book is set in a more ambivalent world.

In those earlier books, Marcus Didius Falco was portrayed as a true son of Rome, a city boy, with city habits. He is also a throwback in some ways. Falco is a semi-serious Republican. He follows the old forms even though he know the "fix" is in. Falco is a character who is a pessimist because he is an optimist spoiled. He has to adapt to the Roman Empire he both loves and loathes while raising his family.

In many ways, Falco's life charted the course of Rome itself in that era -- from the despair and fear of Nero to the age of hope and success brought by Vespasian and, to some extent, is son Titus. Vespasian allegedly had little use for the official informers of Nero's era. So the "private informer" was a useful man to promote and support -- unofficially.

But this book is not about him. His generation is done. This book is set ten long years later. Vespasian's eldest son is dead. His younger son, Domitian now rules -- proud, noble, and dedicated to absolutism in government and law.
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57 of 72 people found the following review helpful By travelswithadiplomat on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I've looked at all the 5 star reviews of this with some incredulity, particularly from those who say they've read all Ms Davis' Falco novels; then had to go back and check I've not missed something because I am so polarized from those reviews I began to doubt I had read the same book. This may be "Next Generation", but it's nowhere near the quality of Marcus Didius Falco, to the degree I seriously began to wonder if Ms Davis was the sole author of the book, especially over the first 8 or so chapters. Tone, style, characterization, descriptive narrative... all fall well well short of the standard I have lazily taken for granted in any Falco novel from this wonderful author (and I've read every novel she's published). The humour is missing as well, replaced by an acerbic narration from Falco's daughter that is, at time, so male-prejudiced it's incredible. I found myself skipping beyond passages that endlessly seemed to portray men as either sexual predators, or incompetent, unintelligent boors, or career-ladder-climbing halfwits, or rich old lechers. Even Albia's "love flirtation", Andronicus, comes across as a man so unctuous he could squeeze through a drain pipe with ease.
I read the novel with a growing incredulity. I can't quite believe Ms Davis (who produced some of the finest Roman novels out there) has written some of this. Throw in the rabid anti-fox hunting sideline with the Ceres festival and the actual murder mystery fades into the background. Which is a shame, because it's actually pretty good and should be the core of the novel.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By P. L. Smith on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Looked forward to this with great trepidation. Simply adore Falco and think that Davis' Falco series is the best historical detective fiction out there.

Falco, this isn't. Falco Lite, not even. A different voice, a different atmosphere, a different style. Disappointed? Yes.

As we approached the late 70's AD in Davis' chronology, I was looking forward to a Great Ripping Yarn involved the Entire Mad, Bad Didii Clan and a mad escape from Pompeii.


However, I gave this book three stars simply because it IS Ms. Davis and the stars were more for a body of work of which this book is NOT remotely representative. Maybe her style and humor and special "Roman" outlook does not work for a female protagonist -- I don't know. Was even disappointed in the ending which reminded me of every other historical/non-historical female detective series out there. So now the stereotypical romantic sub-plot is set -- and it couldn't be more predictable or trite.

I agree with the reviewer who even questioned if Ms. Davis wrote this book! IF it were NOT Ms. Davis name on it -- and the disappointment implied -- it would be a darn good story -- but it IS Ms. Davis' name on the front. And my disappointment is real.
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