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The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – October 3, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Witty and always enjoyable mysteries."
--Washington Post Book World
"Davis makes Rome live."
--Washington Post Book World
"Davis is both a deft storyteller and a scholar…a top drawer series."
"The Rome of Davis' imagination is licentious and entertaining."
--San Jose Mercury News
 "An excellent series."-Library Journal
"Excellent… a cross between I, CLAUDIUS and MYSTERY!"
--Rocky Mountain News
"A pure delight… brilliantly [immerses] us in the marvels of ancient Roman life."
--Good Book Guide on The Accusers
 "An irresistible package of history, mystery, and fast-moving action, all punctuated by a sense of humor that few writers can match."--Cleveland Plain Dealer on Venus in Copper
"Roman history and culture are nice accessories for the more durable tool that Davis employs--hilariously good writing."--Washington Post Book World on Last Act in Palmyra
"Davis's vision of everyday life in the Roman Empire is superb. I haven't read historical fiction this good since I, Claudius by Robert Graves and The Persian Boy by Mary Renault."--Detroit Free Press on Shadows in Bronze
"Lindsey Davis doesn't just bring Rome to life--she brings life to Rome better than anyone else ever has."--Detroit Free Press on The Iron Hand of Mars

From the Back Cover

Readers and critics alike have fallen in love with Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in Ancient Rome. The Silver Pigs is the first book in this popular series…
When Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer" who has a nose for trouble that's sharper than most, encounters Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately all is not right with the pretty girl. She confesses to him that she is fleeing for her life, and Falco makes the rash decision to rescue her--a decision he will come to regret. For Sosia bears a heavy burden: as heavy as a pile of stolen Imperial ingots, in fact. Matters just get more complicated when Falco meets Helena Justina, a Senator's daughter who is connected to the very same traitors he has sworn to expose. Soon Falco finds himself swept from the perilous back alleys of Ancient Rome to the silver mines of distant Britain--and up against a cabal of traitors with blood on their hands and no compunction whatsoever to do away with a snooping plebe like Falco…. 
"Davis makes Rome live."
--Washington Post Book World
"Davis is both a deft storyteller and a scholar…a top drawer series."

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031235777X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312357771
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #994,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marshall Lord TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 22, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of a series of detective stories set in Vespasian's Roman Empire and featuring the informer Marcus Didius Falco.

I tried this historical detective story because I had enjoyed Ellis Peter's "Brother Cadfael" detective stories. They were excellent but this is brilliant, as is the rest of the series.

Funny, exciting, and based on a painstaking effort to re-create the world of 70AD.

By chance, Falco rescues a 16-year old girl called Sosia Camillina from a gang of thugs. She turns out to be the illegitimate niece of a senator, who suspects that an illegal trade is going on in silver pigs (ingots) from a godforsaken remote corner of the empire - Britain. To Falco's disgust he has to return to this barbaric spot where he had once served with the legions ...

If you have met and enjoyed either the Cadfael or Thraxas series, this is even better.

It isn't absolutely essential to read these stories in sequence, as the mysteries Falco is trying to solve are usually-self contained stories. Having said that there is some ongoing development of characters and relationships and I think reading them in chronologial order does marginally improve the experience.
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I'm a guy who loves series books. But I also love historical fiction - fiction that is as close to the real thing as I can get. I've read all of the Master and Commander series, Hornblower, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches to name a few. I like it exciting but drenched in details - details that don't bore me or slow me down. The words have to flow well. With those kinds of requirements, it's a bit hard to find series books that I can take serious and enjoy. Somehow or another, I stumbled across the Falco series on my Kindle app and I'll finish them all (even thought I'm on the third book).

The series takes place in classical antiquity in the time of Vespasian/Titus's rule in Rome (time of the Caesars). Lindsey Davis does a fantastic job of bringing history to life in a very realistic and down to earth manner. While it takes the form of mystery with Falco as a detective ("informer" by Roman standards) who pursues various criminals and intrigues for citizens as well as the Emperor.

In the opening books of the series, we are taken on a guided tour of Rome via the eyes of Falco as takes on a job for a beautiful young woman who ends of dying before he can complete his mission. Slowly the tapestry of lies and deceit begins to unfold as Falco has to travel all the way to savage Britain to solve his case and avenge the girls death.

Overall, a solid opener that takes several chapters to set it's hooks into you but once they are set, they are set for good.

I found it hard to locate an exact reading order of the books - they are meant to be read in order. The books themselves, especially the Kindle versions, don't really list the order or it's a bit skewed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marcus Didius Falco is a former soldier and now a private informer in ancient Rome. After the brutal death of a young girl named Sosia, he is driven to find her killer even if it means putting his own life in danger.

Helena Justina is the daughter of a senator and Sosia's cousin. She is not afraid to prove her independence and joins up with Falco to try to find Sosia's killer.

In his search to find Sosia's killer, Marcus Didius Falco stumbles upon thievery from the silver mines in Britain. Among the suspects is the young son of Vespasian, the new Emperor of Rome. This puts Falco in more danger then he imagined. There are more suspects and one of them is not only a thief, but also a murderer. This is the one suspect that Falco will go to great lengths to find. From Rome to the dark hills of Britain, Falco and Helena hunt for a killer.

The chemistry between Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina was brought to life on these pages with witty dialog that I found refreshing. I had no trouble imagining these two butting heads while longing to kiss one another. The author did a wonderful job of bringing ancient Rome to life and showing the dark side of this ancient society. I would recommend this for readers who enjoy mysteries or historical novels.
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Format: Paperback
Marcus Didius Falco rescues a girl who is being chased by some armed men. Her name is Sosia and she was kidnapped from her home and was being taken to a bank deposit box which only she can open. But things are much more complicated than at first seems and the ensuing adventure will lead to Falco spending three months working in a silver mine to try and find out how the silver pigs - bars containing silver - are being side tracked away from the Emperor's treasury.

For some reason I have always avoided reading this series but having made an effort and listened to Falco: See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) in audio book format I am hooked on it. I love the way the characters come to life - Falco himself and his friends and family; the Emperor Vespasian and his sons; the senator Decimus - uncle of Sosia and father of Helena Justina whom Falco escorts across Europe to Rome after she has been visiting her aunt and uncle in that outpost of the Roman Empire - Britain.

I loved the way Falco's relationships were portrayed, not always straightforward not always obvious but some unexpected friendships and some subtle interactions which need to be read more than once to appreciate all the nuances. Above all what appeals to me is the humour which arises from the way people behave and the fact that Falco is always able to laugh at his own mistakes while still striving to achieve his objectives. He isn't afraid of talking to the Emperor as an equal and doesn't suffer fools gladly. But he loves his family especially his small niece, Marcia and he values his friendships.

I found the historical background interesting too as it shows how Roman life was quite sophisticated and the political intrigue worthy of Machiavelli.
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