Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco, #18)” as Want to Read:
Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco, #18)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Saturnalia (Marcus Didius Falco #18)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,295 ratings  ·  81 reviews
It’s 76 A.D. during the reign of Vespasianand theRoman festival of Saturnalia is getting underway. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties. But not for “informer” Marcus Didius Falco. His job is to uncover unwelcome truths and deal with sensitive situations, frequently at the behest of the imperial government.So when a general’s famous female conquest escapes f...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Saturnalia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Saturnalia

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,972)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The Library Lady
How can you go wrong with a book that features a guy dressed up as a 5 foot high carrot at the Roman equivalent of a police precinct's Christmas party?
This is the 18th of the Falco books. But if you picked this one up and had never read any of the previous books, my guess is after reading it you'd want to go back and read the previous 17. And for those of us who have been Falcophiles for years, this is pure delight.
Christian Rodska does a good narration, but like most male narrators, he doesn't...more
Another fun Falco mystery. This is set in Rome and was particularly fun for me to read, as I am just back from Rome. It is fun to try to visualize the forum including the various temples mentioned in the book as it must have been in AD76. And to know how far it is across the forum and up Aventine Hill. I really enjoy how Lindsey Davis includes information on the Saturnalia celebrations, slavery, homelessness, the various practices of medicine, and other aspects 1st century Rome as part of the st...more
This series by Lindsey Davis is one of the benign guilty pleasures in my library. I have read all of her books that follow her protagonist Marcus Didius Falco as he solves crimes in ancient Rome. These fun romps are in an interesting setting with just a smattering of historical gloss to keep me grounded in the time period. Written in a style that is closest to the TV sribblers who created Dragnet the plot moves along rapidly with enough twists and turns to remain interesting. A line like, "the...more
This is almost the 20th book in the Falco series, and it seems to be getting a little long in the tooth. All our old friends are back, and it is set in Rome, as the best of the Lindsey Davis books seem to be. A fun, light read, but I feel like I'm going through the usual motions when reading this one.
Rosanne Lortz
Saturnalia sees the Falco family back in Rome in time for the holidays. Marcus is called in by the emperor’s minions to solve a political debacle wherein the Germanic priestess Veleda has escaped from custody (after allegedly beheading a man) and is hiding somewhere in the city of Rome. This is the same Veleda that Helena’s brother Justinus took a shine too back in The Iron Hand of Mars when he ascended her tower and convinced her to free Falco and the other Roman soldiers. Marcus must not only...more
Joyce Lagow
Saturnalia is the 18th in Davis' series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman private investigator during the reign of Vespasian.[return][return]The story takes place during the Roman festival of Saturnalia, originally a feast to celebrate the dedication of the Temple of Saturn on December 17 but later expanded to an entire week. It was a pretty riotous affair, with slaves exchanging places with masters (within carefully presribed limits), the giving of presents, public and private feasts, wild...more
This is the 18th installment in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery series but the first I ever read. The narrator/detective hero is an investigator who often works for the Emperor or other important figures in imperial Rome. The time is 76 A.D., so the emperor is Vespasian, and their December holiday of Saturnalia is just beginning. The plot involves a German warrior priestess fleeing from house arrest immediately after a Roman nobleman's head is found, minus his body, floating ominously in the atr...more
I really enjoyed listening to this. A strange combination of hard boiled detective/historical novel, set in Imperial Rome, it is part of a long running series. I have no idea how accurate the Roman part was, but it felt believable to me, with a lot of detail and research.

I often find the readers of audio books grating and intrusive, but this one did a great job giving us the character of Marcus Didius Falco. He also did respectable female voices - I'm giving this audio book an extra star just fo...more
Aug 05, 2007 George rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Mystery Readers
Another in the Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in December A.D. 76 Rome. This story brings back a character, German priestess who is an enemy of Rome, encounter by Falco in an earlier novel set some 10 years earlier. She has been brought to Rome and disappears and he is assigned the job of finding her along with the emperor's chief spy Anacrities. The rivalry and bad blood continues between the two as they race against each other to find the missing priestess. The case directly involves his in...more
Written at the time of the ancient Roman feast of Saturnalia, this book provided plenty of cultural explanations which I enjoy--sadly that was about it. Really enjoyed the couple of other books in this series with Marcus Didius Falco our Roman equivalent to government agent. He was a rogue with a bit of charm. This time out, our character seemed to be way too cynical and hard to like. Story was weak but inventive. The opening of with the passages about the Hippocratic Oath gave the game away but...more
I dip into this series every couple of years and always enjoy them without ever adding them to my ever growing "must read" list. This one was slightly disappointing; all the usual well researched background is there, this time dealing with Saturnalia (obviously) but also the competing forms of Roman medicine; the humour in the protagonist's usual cynicism and the strong supporting cast. But I felt the plot was abut thin for the length of the book.
As you'd expect with Falco this rolls along nicely. It features the return of the German Priestess / femme fatale Veleda who appeared in one of the early books. Falco is nicely unfond of Saturnalia & had I known I might have saved this for a comforting Christmas read. As ever with these books its not the destination its the journey and this one proceeds nicely through some rather gruesome murders misbehaving slaves and the demands of Falco's assorted family members
Donna Callea
Deck the halls with Falco

Lindsey Davis is in top form here. Her take on Saturnalia, the Roman celebration that may remind readers of another December holiday, couldn't be more enjoyable. Tis the season for Falco to demonstrate why he's our favorite ancient history crime solver.
audiobook - What a guy read! Set in 79AD Rome, during Saturnalia (which later became "the Christmas season". Tough guy cynical informer Marcus Didius Falco has to track down the germanic priestess who led a rebellion, and has been captured and brought to Rome, but escaped while also competing w/ a master spy, solving the gory beheading of a Senator's son, and rescuing his hapless (married) brother-in-law who as a lad on a mission fell in love w/ the missing priestess. He is helped by his smart a...more
This is the 17th or 18th book in the series, I believe. I've been reading it since elementary school, I think. The main character, Marcus Didius Falco, is an "informer" in ancient Rome, which is more or less a private detective, who sometimes works for the emperor. When the series started, he was quite a young punk with a brash attitude and in pursuit of a senator's daughter, Helena Justina, who completely outclassed him. Their interaction was fantastic to read. Now, the two are settled into mar...more
Marco and Helena have returned from Greece in time for the Roman holiday of Saturnalia.
They get involved in the marital problems of her brother Justinus as his first love - Velda - is brought to Rome as a hostage, and escapes, while leaving a corpse behind .
This is a fun Falco mystery. Saturnalia is approaching, and it looks like Falco will have to delay his holiday preparations to solve another case for Vespasian. Veleda, who provided plenty of trouble for Falco in Germany several years ago, is now in Rome as a prisoner. The problem is that she has escaped; that's where Falco enters the picture. There are plenty of twists and turns, resulting in a fun Falco mystery. There are some dark elements to this book, but they fit in with the Saturnalia set...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Latest in this run of detective novels set during the reign of the emperor Vespasian. After a couple of less impressive efforts in recent years, Davis seems to be firmly back on form: this is an entertaining tale of family dynamics interacting mildly with high politics - Falco is called in to track an escaped German political prisoner, who coincidentally is the former lover of his brother-in-law. Oddly enough the actual murders are the least...more
Nov 12, 2009 Denise rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone days of parties, feasts, drinking and fun in the ancient Roman empire. It's 76 A.D. and our Roman private eye, Marcus Didius Falco, is given an imperial commission to find an escaped German priestess, Veleda, who has been captured and brought to Rome for punishment. Family squabbles, holiday pressures, and unexpected guests all add up to a very busy holiday for our hero. Read it to the very end because the climax will surprise you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forwar...more
Mark Wilson
Pretty good entry in the series, this was #18 of 20. It resolves some old plot points, in satisfying ways, without being too "pat". Actually, that seems to be a hallmark of this series; things do not always work out as we'd like, even though they _do_ work out as desired often enough to please the reader. But many times the resolutions are just different from what I had expected, but more realistic and eventually satisfying because of that. Which is a long-winded way of saying this author is ver...more
Julie Davis
#16 - 2010.

This is where I left off with the series; picking it up again I discovered that I actually had read the book but had such vague memories that I couldn't remember who the murderer was. I, therefore, read with much enjoyment. As anyone reading this series knows, much of the pleasure is from the development of the regular characters in Marcus Didius Falco's immediate family and author Lindsey Davis's way of making ancient customs and ways accessible to the modern reader. Highly enjoyable...more
Barbara Hansen
I do love these books.
Aug 23, 2008 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery Lovers
Shelves: fiction, mysteries
It's been several years since I have read a Marcus Didus Falco mystery, and I still love it. One thing I noted as well, if you have not read any of the earlier books you will still enjoy this one, it is a stand alone and well done. I actually listed to a Sound Library recording narrated by Christian Rodska who had a superb voice for the role. Don't want to give anything away, but if you want a light read and enjoy old literary friends, then consider this book, especially towards Christmas.
I sped through this one, although it was more predictable in some ways than others in the Falco series. Still, Davis seems to have had a lot of fun writing this installment and I enjoyed seeing more of her style and personality emerge with this book. Nonetheless, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a mystery (although this one was much less dark and seedy than some might like, I think it was perfect for the person who wants a good read for their vacation). Well done!
Not the best nor the worst Falco to date. A little heavy handed in the parallels between modern day & Roman commercialization of the winter holidays and response to terrorism threat vs personal/societal rights. She also brings in medical quackery & plight of the homeless. Sheesh...pick a cause. Some good humor & color but this one never fully came alive for me. Enjoyed the author's afterword where she explains her choice of language for these books.
Frances Brody
This is the first of Lindsey Davis's books I've read and I enjoyed it hugely. She is this year's recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award - richly deserved. Her detective Marcus Didius Flaco is pitted against Chief Spy Anacrites, and ably abetted by his wife Helena. Helena's brother Justinus has vanished and so has the German warrior leader Veleda who has escaped from captivity. There are twists and turns and the story moves at a cracking pace.
I think this is one of her better books. Maybe because I did not care that much about the last one. I think I have read all of the series up to this book. I usually read them on the way home on the bus. This one I just finished off after getting home from a grueling day at work. You learn a little more about Roman history as you read the books and it seems to be more or less accurate from what I have read from official histories.
I found this book tedious at best. In fact, I got just half way through it before skipping ahead, and eventually abandoning it totally. It just seemed to be contrived and without much suspense or even interesting characters or plot. I suspect that the descriptions of Roman life are not all that accurate, but I'm no expert. That just seemed off to me. I have not read any of her other books and now doubt whether I will.
It's A.D. 76 during the reign of Vespasian and the Roman holiday of Saturnalia has begun. But not for Marcus Didius Falco. Falco is an informer by trade, his job is to uncover unwelcome truths and deal with them at the behest of the government. The plot and denouncement at the end was very well thought out, but half way through it became a chore for me to get through all the twists and turns till the end.
Sue Ahlburg
This is one of a series of books about Marcus Didius Falco, a private investigator in Rome at the time of Emporer Vespasian. Might sound odd but they are good, quirky, unpredictable mysteries with a clutch of well rounded characters. They need to be read in order to really follow the personal stories. I read this one in Rome and, spookily, found myself in a museum looking at items I'd read about the day before.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 65 66 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion (SPQR, #6)
  • Last Seen in Massilia (Roma Sub Rosa, #8)
  • Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2)
  • Ovid (Marcus Corvinus, #1)
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...
The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco, #1) Shadows in Bronze (Marcus Didius Falco, #2) Venus in Copper (Marcus Didius Falco, #3) The Iron Hand of Mars (Marcus Didius Falco, #4) Poseidon's Gold (Marcus Didius Falco, #5)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »