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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco) Hardcover – May 15, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

From 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A rebellious German priestess and a murdered nobleman keep informer-investigator Marcus Didius Falco busy in Davis' eighteenth historical whodunit set in Rome in 76 CE. Falco fights crime in the morally depraved city at the pleasure of the emperor, a duty that becomes even more daunting during the season of debauchery known as Saturnalia. As the novel opens, German beauty Veleda (whom Falco first encountered in 1993's The Iron Hand of Mars) has escaped house arrest around the same time young Gratianus Scaeva is found dead, his decapitated head floating in the atrium pool at his family's villa. Adding to Falco's woes is news that his married brother-in-law (who happens to be one of Veleda's former lovers) has gone missing. As always, the shrewd and outspoken Falco is helped by his headstrong wife, Helena Justina, and hindered by nefarious Anacrites, Rome's Chief Spy. Davis serves up a huge cast of characters and colorful descriptions of daily life in first-century Rome, details sure to please readers with an affinity for ancient history. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Marcus Didius Falco (Book 18)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312361297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312361297
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #817,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Saturnalia is the eighteenth Falco novel, and one of the best.

Marcus Didius Falco is an informer for hire, a spy, in Rome. This novel takes place in A.D. 76 under Vespasian, during Saturnalia, the wildly popular seven-day celebration on the winter solstice. Saturnalia involves the giving of gifts, family banquets, the transposing of master/slave roles, civic celebrations at the temple of Saturn, including a banquet for the people, and silly drunken behavior including the wearing of humorous costumes.

This festival is the setting for a very difficult and sensitive case, where Falco and his chief spy rival, Anacrites, are given the same assignment--find the missing German freedom fighter, Veleda. She had been captured and was kept in pampered captivity in the house of a Senator, but then a man is murdered and decapitated, and she and her servant Ganna both disappear. Veleda had overheard that her fate was to be part of a "triumph" for the general that captured her, a triumph involving her very public death.

This is the same Veleda who had five years before saved the lives of Marcus and his brother-in-law Justinus, who had fallen in love with her. Falco and his wife Helena, her family, and Petronius of the vigiles (sort of a cross between firemen and police) help with the search, along with some of the Legion who had been in Germany and might recognize her. Worse, the public cannot know of the missing woman (it might make the government look bad); and Justinus, now a married man with a child and a very jealous wife, disappears as well. Several odd doctors are in this tale with a wide variety of unusual medical practices.

Davis' ability to bring these fascinating characters, locales, cultures, and celebrations to life is nothing short of magical.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lindsey Davis is in very good form with this new Marcus Didius Falco story. Our hero is back in Rome and working on an imperial commission that involves a missing foreign priestess destined for sacrificial murder, problems with his patrician in-laws and an ongoing rivalry with another spy. The plot(s) is fairly intricate and satisfying, but the heart of the book is Falco's ramblings around ancient Rome, complete with detailed descriptions of life, social customs and politics of the time. The author's never-ending wit and geniality are imposed on the Falco character and others in the story, making the tale the more enjoyable. This an excellent installment in the Falco series, well-worth the money and time.
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Format: Hardcover
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
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lindsey Davis's Falco books are among my favorites. I love the way she characterizes his crazy and amusing family and friends, and in this one she features them throughout, so it was a special treat. The Vigiles' Saturnalia party is hilarious. I also prefer when her stories take place in the city of Rome, as this one does, rather than around the empire.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Against the background of Saturnalia, the biggest holiday of the year in ancient Rome and later co-opted to become Christmas, private informer Marcus Didius Falco is hired to find Veleda, a beautiful, blond, German, female leader who escapes after being secretly brought to Rome. Lindsey Davis again delivers the goods as Falco describes what happens in his wry, humorous way, under pressure from his arch enemy, the barely competent imperial spy Anacrites. Great book as always in this long-running series. Great, believable presentation of street-level life in the ancient Roman capital. Good mystery too. Highly recommended
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not going to do a detailed review because there is as much as you may want to know about the plot already on site. But having followed this series for many years and always pleased with Davis' research, character development, dialog, plotting, etc., I have to say that this particular episode exceeded my expectations. Just when I thought she had explored Rome to the limit, she came up with this wonderful book! I listened this time and loved Christian Rodska as the voice of Falco.
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