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Time to Depart (Marcus Didius Falco #7)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  2,140 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Balbinus Pius, the dirtiest underworld organizer in Emperor Vespasian's Rome, has been convicted of a capital crime at last. A quirk of Roman law, however, allows every citizen comdemned to death time to depart and find exile outside the empire. Marcus Didius Falco breathes a sigh of relief as he watches Balbinus sail away--until the corpses of those who helped convict Bal ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jamie Collins
The title is taken from the fact that in AD 72, a Roman citizen who received a death sentence was by law permitted "time to depart" - to accept exile from the empire, a fate worse than death, of course.

When Falco's old friend Petronius, a member of the Vigiles who patrol the streets of Rome, runs a crime boss out of town, he's not prepared to deal with the sudden increase in outrageous crime that immediately follows. Falco is called to use his informer's skills to help discover who's running the
Aug 24, 2013 Marilag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I keep telling myself I should probably sleep now, but I figure this needed a review beforehand (plus, I blame the second cup of coffee I had this evening for my lack of sleepiness).

Time to Depart is Number Seven of the Marcus Didius Falco series, so by this point, you're either a dedicated reader and love the series in general or you're starting in media res and don't care about previous volumes (to be honest, even if you don't read the previous volumes, there's enough information in each book
Jul 25, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical and crime fiction fans.
This series reminds me of Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series in that Marcus Didius Falco is such a wise guy like Spenser and his best friend, Petronius,is the strong silent type like Hawk.

In this entry, Falco and his live-in Girl friend Helena have just returned to Rome in time for Falco to witness the exile of criminal mastermind Balbinus Pius. Petronius after years of trying finally was able to get Balbinus convicted of murder after which Balbinus was given the choice of death or exile. He ch
3 1/2 stars rounded out to 4 stars.

This one is almost a closed room mystery (if you can call a district of Rome a closed room) set in a very define area of Rome. It's the first tale where we learn and see what Petronius does and why he and Marcus are best friend, partners in crime and justice. The plot is intricate and there are a lot of strings tangling but ultimately Marcus, Petro and Helena put it all together.

There are also a very good plot B that involves Marcus' and Helena's families rea
Dec 05, 2015 Dyana rated it really liked it
Another witty, entertaining read from the Marcus Didius Falco series. It was fast-paced with many twists and turns and a whole lot of subplots! This, along with the previous book, are my favorites so far in the series.

Falco's best friend, Petronius Longus, is Captain of the Vigiles or Roman police. He has arrested a notorious crime boss who is about to be executed; but, by law, is permitted "time to depart" from Rome. If he ever returns, he will be executed. Since this is a "fate worse than deat
Birgitte Bach
Mar 08, 2014 Birgitte Bach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Utrolig vellykket krimi, der foregår i det antikke Rom. Bogen er nummer 7 i serien om den Marcus Didius Falco, desværre den eneste, der er oversat til dansk. Roms største forbryder , bliver dømt og må forlade Rom. Sammen med en gammel ven, bliver Falco, der er freelance meddeler, inddraget i opklaringen af, hvem det er der nu forsøger, at overtage Balbinus Pius plads i forbryderverdenen. Falco er gavflab og er kvik i replikken, han har en underskøn og stærk samleverske, som rent socialt står ove ...more
M.G. Mason
Aug 18, 2012 M.G. Mason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After several books travelling the empire, Falco has returned to eternal city. Book seven in the series sees his friend Petronius Longus catch one of Rome’s most notorious criminals. Convicted criminals who are Roman citizens and facing the death sentence are permitted “time to depart” a period of grace in which they might choose to leave the empire in exile, considered a fate worse than death.

After packing Balbinus off onto a ship at Ostia, Petronius Longus and Falco get the impression quickly
Cindy Matthews
Dec 07, 2013 Cindy Matthews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time to Depart brings Roman sleuth Marcus Didius Falco alive once again for me after a rather slow ride in the last book in the series. Returned to his home town of the seven hills, political corruption, crime, theft, murder, and old friends and family members abound in this story. Falco is hired on to help solve the mystery of who is behind the robbery of an entire marketplace worth of goods after his friend in the vigils, Petro, sends a noted gangster up the river (or rather, gets the crime bo ...more
Kasia James
Dec 16, 2013 Kasia James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I've been working my way back through the Falco series, and this is the latest in my collection! I think there are about 20 now, and to develop 20 intriguing novels about mysteries in Ancient Rome is no mean feat.
This is one of the earlier ones, and the seedy underbelly of that respectable city is exposed and vulnerable in this story, without too many gory details which might put some readers off. Let your imagination fill you in on the tales of the prostitute slaves, the robbed citizens, and t
Aug 13, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
C1995. FWFTB: criminal, exile, outbreak, territory, underworld.This was the next one in the series so had to be read! I know that some of the books have been adapted for radio drama but someone is missing a trick here by not producing a TV series based on these books. Falco remained put in Rome for this one but sadly still having problems with his accommodation. There is another really funny scene that involves a baby being thrown around. As I type this, I realise that this sounds awful...but it ...more
Simon Binning
Feb 27, 2016 Simon Binning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series progresses well. Falco and Helena are back from their sojourn in the East; along with a nice collection of objects that Helena has brought back for Falco's father. Falco wants to get back at the man who sent him to his death, and try and work out what to do to ensure that he and Helena have a slightly better future. He also helps put a banished gang leader on a boat out of Rome. What could go wrong?
The relationship between Falco and Helena continues to develop nicely (with a storylin
Rosanne Lortz
Apr 11, 2011 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Time to Depart, Marcus must assist his longtime friend Petronius in ridding the city of Rome of some of its organized crime. Balbinus Pius, the Al Capone of the A. D. 70′s has just been sentenced to death, and in accordance with the old Roman custom, given time to depart the empire if he wishes to avoid his execution (since living outside the empire was, in the opinion of the old Roman statesmen, an even worse fate than death). With Balbinus Pius gone, a new wave of crime riddles the city, an ...more
Dec 21, 2009 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventh in the series. This one finds our intrepid informer Marcus Didius Falco not off on the outskirts of the empire, as has sometimes been the case in the past; it deals, rather, with the banishment of a crime world mastermind, offering a tale located completely in Rome itself, October A.D. 72. True to the genre's conventions, as Falco explores the first death in the struggle for power that ensues, he discovers the webs of corruption reach far and wide throughout and across the levels of Roma ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once you receive a death sentence you are given 'Time to Depart' the Roman Empire. So Balbinus Pius a notorious gangster is escorted from Rome. Then the crime wave starts. More adventures with Marcus Didius Falco.
I am in the process of re-reading the whole series and as I am still enjoying them I have given them 5 stars so far.
Jun 17, 2014 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
My favorite of the Falco series so far, knocking Poseidon's Gold down to # 2. Falco has a lot going on in this one: a massive heist to solve, a missing niece to find, a foundling baby to place, a dog who won't go away, a wedding to officiate, and more. The result is a masterfully paced page-turner.
Jun 20, 2010 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-read
Lindsey Davis does it again! This time Marcus stays in Rome as he investigates a major robbery, but has been asked by Vespasian and Titus to find out whether his best friend's cohort (and by extension, Petronius himself) are on the take. Tensions run high, as the investigation causes a major rift between Marcus and Petro, Marcus's niece is kidnapped, and Helena's pregnancy becomes family knowledge! A friend who is also reading this series and I were talking and we agree that we both really like ...more
Very enjoyable read. I skipped over Last Act in Palmyra before reading this because it is taking too long to get here. There is a fair bit of revealing the ending of that book in this one and not just in the obvious early chapter that serves as a bit off a catch up where we left off.

This caper revolves around a first century mob boss and a power vacuum. Petro and Falco work together or at least try to figure out who is pulling off some serious crimes after the mob boss has been put on his boat
Sep 13, 2013 M.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unusual tale that is one of those that really gives you some insight as to how things worked back in ancient Rome, and why. Their system was no worse than ours, though not always better -- just different, for different times. Watching Falco navigate through the legalities to find evidence is fascinating, however, as he solves the complications presented. Enjoyable and thought provoking in unexpected ways. With every volume of this series, I feel like I know a lot more about what living in Rom ...more
Pam Bales
Jan 22, 2016 Pam Bales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Marcus Didio Falco Roman private detective, historical fiction from Ancient Rome. A good read for fans of Roman times.
Jul 01, 2011 Bonnie rated it really liked it
In this book Marcus Didius Falco and his friend Petronius Longo send the Balbinus, the leader of a crime syndicate, into exile after Balbinus is convicted and sentenced to death. A rather peculiar feature of Roman law was the option of "time to depart" for some under sentence of death. This meant that the one convicted could leave the Roman Empire. He could not come back and would be executed if he did. Just after Balbinus departs, a crime wave breaks out.

As always, Falco's adventures are entert
Aug 29, 2011 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is with some relief that I am able to report that "Last Act in Palmyra" was only a temporary low watermark for Lindsey Davis. "Time To Depart" takes place shortly after Marcus' return to Rome. It doesn't take long before he's mixed up into the events caused by a sudden vaccum in Rome's organized crime, a vaccum that was created by no other that Marcus' best friend Petronius. Story develops in very clever and logical manner and introduces some rather memorable characters along the way. What's ...more
Andrea Pappas
Apr 21, 2014 Andrea Pappas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Spade in a toga. If you know anything about ancient Rome at all, you will like this.
Ruth Gilbert
Jul 06, 2016 Ruth Gilbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Funny, clever, silly. It's a great read.
Ivor Armistead
Another fun Falco. Ms Davis' plots may not be the most intricate, but her characters have more than enough charm to compensate.
Dec 29, 2013 Rebeka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful book! The settings are so vivid, and I adore the characters so much! I love this series!
My one complaint was that in the book jacket, the author built up the illegal nature of Helena's pregnancy and how it would put Marcus in danger... Well, I have to say... I'm not seeing it. Not at all. Some lip service was paid to the idea, but then... it's just being ignored. I don't like being misled by authors about the central conflict. The books are great on their own without trying to
Apr 16, 2016 Nrr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read.
Diana Sandberg
Still fun. I have come to recognize that Davis's characters are well chosen to go with her period - the Chandleresque ironic idealism suits Imperial Rome very well. She is a master, too, at revealing interesting tidbits about the time without sounding pedagogic. If I ever get back to Italy and see again those ancient fast-food joints preserved from Pompeii and elsewhere, I'll see them with Falco and his cronies haunting their counters, playing draughts and complaining about the food and wine.
Feb 21, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably the best of the Roman Mysteries that I have read. It was a pretty good mystery with a set of interesting and funny sub plots mixed in. The story was well balanced between mystery, adventure and humor, kept the sub plots juggled without losing the focus of the story and was generally a good read. My only problem was that the final resolution was more or less by accident rather that the result of any action of the hero.
Oct 24, 2012 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book might be bumped up to a 5 on a re-read. Very good, I just feel reluctant to give a 5 because it means I should give that to a couple other Falco books I've read at this point.

The plot in this one was tight, though leavened well with humor. Ambition in the city of Rome! Drama between tight friends! A wedding! Great stuff. Everyone was in character and in fine form, and Davis added a lot of character to her Rome.

Jun 18, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
This is another Falco mystery set in 70+ CE Rome. It deals with a big time crime boss and his cronies and also with corruption within the public safety agencies - so much like a modern city today. The characters - though so many I had to return to the 'cast list"in the front of the book - were well-described and believable. The polt was complex but interesting. The ending managed to be funny, tense and satisfying.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Last Act in Palmyra (Marcus Didius Falco, #6)
  • 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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