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Shadows in Bronze (Marcus Didius Falco #2)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,927 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
It’s the first century A.D. and Marcus Didius Falco, Ancient Rome’s favorite son and sometime palace spy, has just been dealt a lousy blow from the gods: The beautiful, high-born Helena Justina has left him in the dust. So when the Emperor Vespasian calls upon him to investigate an act of treason, Falco is more than ready for a distraction. Disguised as an idle vacationer ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published 1991 by Pan Books Ltd (first published 1990)
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aPriL does feral sometimes
' Shadows in Bronze' is both number two in the Marcus Didius Falco Roman detective series as well as part two in the story begun in The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco, #1) by Lindsey Davis. I think the writing is better in this novel than in the first, but half of the jokes are still Greek to me. I don't get them, although the characters do. A lot of the dialogue tone is off to me. Falco, and the author, are on a different plane of thought, somehow, from me and there is a peculiar lack of conversational class barriers between lower class Falco and t ...more
Mar 09, 2017 Peat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those mysteries where for most of the book no one's getting any closer to Why Dunnit until all of a sudden it all falls into place. Falco, like any well brought up boy, obligingly gets there a few pages after the average reader (if the average reader is moi) and crucially, does so in entertaining fashion. This book is all about the characters and Falco's enjoyably jaded narrations of them, and on that score it delivers.

I wish the plot had been stronger; arguably, the romance subp
Aug 27, 2012 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction & mysteries
The second book in Davis's series about Marcus Didius Falco, an informer in the Rome of the Flavian emperors, picks up immediately after the events of the first novel, The Silver Pigs. Falco is helping to track down the remnants of the conspiracy he uncovered and confounded and finds himself tracked by and tracking Barnabas - the freedman of Atius Pertinax, now deceased conspirator and ex-husband of Helena, Falco's socially unobtainable lover.

There are a few plot twists - nothing is quite what i
Melissa McShane
This sequel to The Silver Pigs picks up only days after the first ended; I like the continuity, though I think if you go a long time between reading them, it might be harder to pick up the thread of the story. You can look at this volume as sort of wrapping up the first, as the conspirators who were exiled start getting bumped off by a mysterious man who's always a couple of steps ahead of Falco. His task (a thankless one, so of course Vespasian picked him for the job) to find and warn the remai ...more
Apr 20, 2017 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
The second book in the series. Continue to follow the exploits of Marcus Didius Falco, an informer for the emperor, through the complications of first century Roman love and murder. Interesting and humorous modern day similarities are to be found. Enjoyed the occasional humorous banter between the characters amongst the intrigue of Roman politics.

Listened to the dramatization of the book on BBC's iPlayer Radio app.
Have you ever been to a movie that had one or two twists too many? Have you ever thought, “This chase scene was placed here either to extend the running length of the film or to provide something recognizable for the video game?” That’s the way I feel about Shadows in Bronze. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t intend to stop reading Lindsey Davis’ delightful stories about Marcus Didius Falco, “informer” for the Emperor Vespasian. Most of them that I’ve read have been delightfully paced while juggling t ...more
Rosanne Lortz
Mar 08, 2011 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Shadows in Bronze, the second book of the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis, Marcus goes undercover to find out more about the conspirators whom he thwarted in the previous novel. As they explore the towns of the Italian countryside, Marcus and his nephew Larius become door-to-door salesmen, offering lead pipes at a cheap deal and tax free.

"Every householder knows the hazard; a man and a boy at the door selling something you don’t want. Unless you feel strong, these whey-faced inade
May 28, 2015 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
See Naples and die they say. M. Didius Falco almost managed it before actually seeing Neapolis. This book follows the Silver Pigs in that the plotters have to be swept up and settled or disposed of. It seems that the plot is still alive but relocating to the Bay of Naples where the ships bringing grain from Egypt to Rome will appear and where the Roman fleet is based.
So why not go on holiday to the beach? Marcus and Petronius gather up Marcus' 14 year old nephew and Petronius' wife and daughter
Jamie Collins
Very enjoyable, if not quite as good as the first one. I'm looking forward to the next book. I liked Petro's family, and overall the characterizations are very good.

I like the short chapters, but the paragraph breaks are still a little odd. They tend to disrupt the flow of Falco and Helena's conversations.
Jeff Dickison
Aug 20, 2015 Jeff Dickison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. I liked this better than The Silver Pigs because it was funnier and more intricately plotted. Falco is an amazing, if not always competent, informer who generally manages to muddle through his cases. Highly recommended.
John Frankham
Jan 15, 2017 John Frankham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
The second in this 20 book series about Falco, a gopher for the Emperor Vespasian.

This, again, is a solid story, combining whodunnit elements with the author's love of showing the life of the Romans in the first century of the emperors. A continuation and conclusion of the story in book 1 concerning the theft and smuggling of silver ingots from Britain, the unmasking of the conspirators, and Falco's involvement with a senator's daughter.

Good - still 18 more to go.
I enjoyed this second installment of the Marcus Didius Falco series just as much as the first one. The plot was well-thought through and offered suspense again and again, despite some slow sections. The best parts, however, were again the dry humour of Falco's internal monologue and the likeable characters of his family and friends. " Shadows in Bronze" made me laugh out loud frequently and made me sympathize with Falco and the other characters. Definitely another series I've become addicted to!
Did not enjoy this as much as the first one (which was excellent). Took a while for the story to get going and the "twists" were predictable Still it was enjoyable enough to want to read the next book
Jul 29, 2014 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falco gets the girl

Falco gets the girl

Actually, Falco gets the guy too. it just takes a while. In the meantime, there is a lot of travelling around Italy. A rousing romp, as usual. I cannot wait to start the next chapter in the series.
There are some books that are ruined by a forced inclusion of a romantic subplot. It is called "Strangled by the Red String".

This book is the opposite.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. The author is great when it comes to light, entertaining, amusing reading. The metaphor about women's breasts... was... well, epic. Marco is charming, witty and unlucky as always. The secondary cast is very nice.


The plot lacked direction. It seemed to follow multiple threads, without really making us feel w
May 04, 2017 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed this book very much but was glad that I had read The Silver Pigs first. Even though it turned out well, I was a bit confused at first about who was who and where the plot was going. The descriptions of the Roman period and the varied locations around the Italian peninsula are excellent and the plot eventually added up to an exciting read. We read this for book club and we all enjoyed it to a greater or lesser extent and I would recommend it to fans of historical detective stories.
Mary Beth
The drama of Shadows is well wrought, knitting together Falco's methodical investigation, his tumultuous relationship with Helena, and the plotting against him for a very satisfying close. Davis's painting of ancient Rome is always rich in detail, and here a visit to Herculaneum is particularly fascinating.
May 21, 2017 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library, 1992
The further adventures of M. Didius Falco and Helena Justina. Takes up where Silver Pigs left off. Witty and intelligent as expected...good descriptions of vacationing in Campania, banqueting with the nobility, naval engagements, and Roman horse racing.
Mar 18, 2017 Maarvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me a long time to get into the Falco "universe" but now I'm there I'm hooked. On to the next!
Jul 07, 2016 Marfita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: period-mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-fiction
'Shadows in Bronze' is the second of the Falco novels from Lindsey Davis, and in some respects it is only natural that after the sparkling inventiveness of her first book in the series, 'The Silver Pigs', the gloss is slightly less shiny on this sophomore entry. However this doesn't mean that it is a bad book or a dull read. There are plot twists, adventures in the high and low streets of Rome, in the towns of Magna Graecia and near Neapolis, murders, bucolic farces and palace intrigues. A sizab ...more
Alison C
Mar 04, 2015 Alison C rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In Shadows In Bronze, by Lindsey Davis, private detective Didius Falco is given the task of completing the round-up of conspirators who plotted to kill and replace Roman Emperor Vespasian; he finds himself hunting down several Senators, and being hunted himself in turn. His job takes him to the Bay of Naples, and the marvelous sea-side towns located there; to provide himself with a cover, he travels with his friend Petronius Longus and his young family, along with Falco's adolescent nephew, and ...more
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 26, 2016 Elaine Tomasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am almost new to this series - I bought the first 10 in the deals a month ago so I have now read the first two and another one I can't identify about 20 years ago when I was too immature to appreciate it. Shadows In Bronze takes up where The Silver Pigs finishes with Falco charged by the emperor Vespasian with cleaning up after the failed plot against him. However we are in Ancient Rome where politics is king (or should that be emperor?) so while cleaning up involves disposing of a dead body a ...more
I previously read The Silver Pigs and enjoyed it. Now I finished Shadows in Bronze and enjoyed it very much. It has been quite a while since I read the first book and while it might be a good idea to read both books together, because the second picks up right where the first left off, I didn't have any difficulties in getting back into the story. It all comes back whenever something specific of the previous novel is mentioned.

After he had previously discovered and put a stop to a conspiracy agai
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Plonka
Feb 14, 2017 Andy Plonka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: src
ok but not my favorite time period.
Alexander Case
Nov 17, 2012 Alexander Case rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of mystery novels.
Recommended to Alexander by: Gwyn Case
Shelves: mystery
The Marcus Didus Falco series really should be an HBO TV series. It's a highly engrossing mystery series, with incredibly interesting characters, and Lindsey Davis makes the Roman Empire really come alive. This book, the second in the series, is really no exception. Davis makes Pompeii and Herculanium (where the majority of the action takes place) feel like living, breathing cities.

If I had one complaint about the book, it has to do with (view spoiler)
May 22, 2013 Dyana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed #2 in the Marcus Didius Falco series, but it was slow reading - hence the three stars. And why can't two people in love just talk to each other instead of always misunderstanding and storming off... The story is a continuation of #1 (Silver Pigs) and begins only days later. Falco, an ancient Roman gumshoe, is still working for Emperor Vespasian, receives low pay, and does the "dirty" jobs like disposing of an inconvenient corpse. After the failed plot against the emperor, Marcus and hi ...more
Mar 24, 2009 Scot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second in this rambunctious and riveting series about Falco, a detective (well, the correct term then was "private informer") for Emperor Vespasian in first century Rome. At 452 pages, it might take a while to get through this, but Davis delivers the best type of escapism one can find in historical detective fiction: it is well researched, offering a wide range of adventures and settings, characters you'll come to know and care for, and an overarching excellent sense of wit on the part of our na ...more
M.G. Mason
This is the second in the “Falco” series.

Following the revelation of the silver pigs, Falco is once again roped into working for Emperor Vespasian to dispose of the body of a man who was quietly executed on imperial orders. Following this, Falco is sent to investigate a fire at a nearby temple. There he discovers that a man en route to meet the Emperor has been killed in the fire. Meanwhile, his friend Anacrites reports that he has been unable to locate Barnabas, a mysterious man who has apparen
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Lindsey Davis, historical novelist, was born in Birmingham, England in 1949. Having taken a degree in English literature at Oxford University (Lady Margaret Hall), she became a civil servant. She left the civil service after 13 years, and when a romantic novel she had written was runner up for the 1985 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize, she decided to become a writer, writing at first romanti ...more
More about Lindsey Davis...

Other Books in the Series

Marcus Didius Falco (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco, #1)
  • Venus in Copper (Marcus Didius Falco, #3)
  • The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco, #4)
  • Poseidon's Gold (Marcus Didius Falco, #5)
  • Last Act in Palmyra (Marcus Didius Falco, #6)
  • Time to Depart (Marcus Didius Falco, #7)
  • A Dying Light in Corduba (Marcus Didius Falco, #8)
  • Three Hands in the Fountain (Marcus Didius Falco, #9)
  • Two for the Lions (Marcus Didius Falco, #10)
  • One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco, #11)

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