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Nemesis (Marcus Didius Falco #20)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,389 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
In the high summer of 77AD, Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco is beset by personal problems. Newly bereaved and facing unexpected upheavals in his life, it is a relief for him to consider someone else's misfortunes. A middle-aged couple who supplied statues to his father, Geminus, have disappeared in mysterious circumstances. They had an old feud with a bunch of notorious ...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by Century (first published January 1st 2010)
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Julie Johnson
Jun 08, 2011 Julie Johnson rated it it was amazing
You know a book is good when it finishes and you wish it wasn't done. When you feel sad that is over. When you need time when it done and can't read a new book right away because you are still too emotionally attached to it.

I've read the Falco series since the beginning, so I've been with these characters through many, many books. I love how she develops both great mystery plots and great character plots. To see where the characters have come until now...there's a deep connection. I found this b
May 21, 2012 Dee rated it liked it
I like the Falco books. I like his anti-noir and his realistic grit. I like the pithy style and the sense of humour. I like Helena, and all the ways in which Marcus is extremely human. I like the darkness that comes along with the seedy underside and being this close to it. In all of this I am well-served once again by this book, the twentieth (and last?) in the series.

I have a problem, though, and that's that I have never quite bought into Anacrites as the villain of the piece. I don't like it
Feb 02, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is one of Davis' darkest books, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The strong investment Davis convinces us to place in her characters - in particular the marriage of Helena Justina and Falco - comes in part because they don't have fantasy or fairytale lives. The tragedies that mix in with their triumphs are part of the reason we root for them, and makes their attempts to build a loving, ethical family core more valuable. The ethics as well as the love at that core are sorely tested in ...more
Apr 01, 2012 George rated it it was amazing
A Marcus Didius Falco historical mystery novel set in first century AD Rome. It opens in AD 77 Rome with Falco dealing with he and his wife Helena dealing with the deaths of their new born son and Falco's father. He has to deal with both while assuming control of his father's business and various homes, etc. which significantly increases his financial status. As an informer, Roman private investigator, he becomes involved in a series of deaths seemingly connected to a family known for violence ...more
Stan Morris
Jun 26, 2016 Stan Morris rated it it was amazing
This is one of the better books in this series. Marcus Didius Falco is an informer (detective) in Rome of 77AD. These Lindsey Davis books are meticulously researched and her tone is so readable that it is dangerous to pick one up late at night if you need to get up early the next day. I would not say that it is easy to begin this series in the middle. I would recommend reading "Silver Pigs" first, and there are many others before this book. The series begins in 69AD just after Vespasian has ...more
Barb in Maryland
Oh wow and how! Davis really packs it into this book. The teaser blurbs make the book seem more depressing that it really is. Not quite a spoiler--but for those who were worried, as I was--Helena is okay. Nope-Davis does not kill off Helena. But several other people bite the dust during this one and that doesn't include the numerous crime victims.

This book actually reads like the end of the series. A goodly number of long-running story arcs are wrapped up. If it all ends with this one, I will be
Kasia James
Jun 20, 2012 Kasia James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
This is the twentieth novel of this series, and somehow Lindsey Davis manages to keep producing engrossing books! The Roman world is brought to life so vibrantly, and yet with a light hand, so the reader doesn't feel like they are being lectured. The plot is complex, and the characters,as ever, are eminently beleivable.
There are some quite dark part of this book, which gives a new slant on the lead character, Falco. My only real criticism is that the death of his son, which starts off the story,
Jun 16, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it
Although I'm generally restricted to audiobooks and readalouds for Dad these days because of my commitment to Kirkus, I managed to get a whole month ahead on my Kirkus books, so I carved out some time to read one of my books. It has been more than a year and a half since my last foray into ancient Rome with Marcus Didius Falco, so naturally, this was the first on my list.

This is certainly the darkest Falco book since Two for the Lions, in fact, the darkest in the series. It begins with a double
Emmanuel Gustin
Mar 05, 2011 Emmanuel Gustin rated it really liked it
In recent years it felt as if this entertaining series of historical detectives was tapering off slowly, as Falco's travels to various historical spots in the Empire were insufficient compensation for plot patterns that became a bit stale. Happily, Nemesis breaks that trend. Again set in Rome, this regains the gripping quality of earlier works. It is also one of the darkest books in the series, as Davis engages Falco in activities that might cost him the sympathy and understanding of the reader, ...more
Prima Seadiva
Jul 01, 2015 Prima Seadiva rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I have read two other of this series quite some time ago. They were okay enough to make me try this. I listened to it as an audiobook. It was still so directionless and boring by midway that I gave it up. Listening before bed, sometimes you do have to say "where did I fall asleep?" and pick up from there. This was so dull I could never remember at what point I fell into the arms of Morpheus which is perhaps better than Nemesis anyway.
Carey Combe
Would have been a two as I reckon she is running out of decent story lines, but they are such fun books with well-loved characters who I have got to know so well and the writing isn't bad I moved it up. But I wish she would stop saying things along the lines of " if we had known what we were getting into ...." all the time to try and build suspense, lazy and formulaic.
Apr 15, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
The anachronisms bothered me- like saying that the insects carried diseases. They didn't know that in Roman times. Made me wonder what else is historically inaccurate. Otherwise good book.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 15, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in July 2010.

After the (to me) unreadable Rebels and Traitors, Davis returns to the Roman crime series which made her name, with the nineteenth Falco novel, Nemesis. But this addition to the series is much darker than most of them: this is not quite the wise-cracking Falco of old.

The darkness starts right at the beginning of the novel, which opens with the deaths of Falco's infant son and his father. The death of new born children has been a part of life thro
Jul 14, 2016 Marfita rated it liked it
Shelves: period-mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2011 sabisteb rated it it was amazing
Marcus Didius Falco und Helena sind zurück aus Alexandria. Ihr drittes Kind, ein Sohn, wird geboren und stirbt noch am gleichen Tag, genau wie Marcus Vater Geminus. Enkel und Großvater werden gemeinsam eingeäschert. Marcus ist plötzlich und unerwartet der pater familias und reich, vorausgesetzt Thalias ungeborenes Kind, Marcus neuestes Halbgeschwister wird ein Mädchen, sonst muss er die Hälfte seines neuen Vermögens mit seinem Halbbruder teilen.
Dies alles ist Marcus jedoch vorerst egal, gebeugt
Oct 05, 2014 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to the Marcus Didius Falco series by my great-uncle who praised it like the second coming, and after reading "Nemesis" I have to agree: It is set in ancient Rome, but it isn't a history lesson; there are references to the buildings we know nowadays as ruins (e.g. Falco's father is mentioned as having sold hundreds of statues to the builders of the Colosseum) and to the social circumstances, so really start to feel at home in this old times. Especially with regard to the ...more
I love fiction set in ancient Rome and when it is a mystery, my favorite genre, so much the better. The Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis is one of my favorites of the type. I've read them all and now I've read this latest one.

I have to say it was not my favorite of the lot, but it was very good, very entertaining and kept me guessing, although I did have a glimmer of the solution about two-thirds of the way through.

The book starts with a double tragedy. Falco loses two family members
Jul 03, 2010 Roger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are about 20 books in this series now and they are all good. This is just the latest. Marcus Didius Falco is an 'informer' living in ancient Rome. That pretty much means he's a detective, but sometimes it means he gets to work for the Emperor (Vespasian) and then he's something more like a secret agent. Most of the time he is trying to solve a murder or two, or more, which is the case in this book.

In the early books Falco is pretty low life, struggling to make ends meet. But by the time th
Pauline Montagna
Aug 09, 2012 Pauline Montagna rated it liked it
The historical mystery has become a very popular sub-genre over the last few years, and no one does it better than Lindsey Davis with her Falco series. But as the title implies, this may very well be Falco's last case.

Only half domesticated by his beloved patrician wife Helena, Falco inherits a fortune and all the responsibilities that go with it when his father dies. But he is resistant to settling down and takes on a new case when he cannot find a couple to whom his father owed money. Apparen
Mar 30, 2012 Loralee rated it it was ok
I've loved these books for a long time, and have often forgiven the lack of a cohesive plot. But it really bothered me in this book. Why are all these Romans so all-fired-up to pin a set of murders on a certain family who doesn't live in Rome? Why do the main characters associate with Anacrites, who in various books has been a cruel boss, a conspiring opponent, a work associate, a travel companion, a patient to be nursed back to health, a stalker, and now a wanna-be-friend? Luckily for the ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Teri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Probably the last Marcus Didius Falco novel I'll ever read. I thought through the entire book, haven't I read this before? There were aspects of it that clearly were new to me though, and it was published in 2010, so I do not think I have actually read it in the past. I didn't flag them, but there were at least three anachronisms that were jarring. Phrases or statements that were so not of Rome in these times as to be really off-putting. I almost stopped reading it for these lapses. However, ...more
Leonieke Aalders
Jul 27, 2016 Leonieke Aalders rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-2016
It took most of 2015 and part of 2016 to finish the entire Falco series. After reading the latest Lindsey Davis book featuring Falco's daughter Flavia Albia (first in the series: The Ides of April), I yearned to reread Falco's story again.

(view spoiler)
Debbie J
Nemesis is a deftly written buddy cop tale of ancient Roman serial killing, blackmail, dogged investigation, and family bonding.

As the events progress, author Lindsey Davis creates impressively dramatic atmospheres. During tense dinner scenes or chases through dank marshes and caves, her vivid descriptions make you feel as if you were there.

Unfortunately, the plot is unduly convoluted given the mystery’s barely surprising resolution. In fact, the novel’s ending seemed tacked on (perhaps to meet
Oct 18, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm both happy and sad: happy because Nemesis is a fantastic book that lives up to Lindsey Davis' talent and her characters in the wonderful world of Marcus Didius Falco that she's created over the years. Sad in that this is the end of the series. However, not all is lost since there will be a new series featuring Falco's adopted daughter Albia in 2013. I can hardly wait.

I deeply admire writers of multi-book series who draw up characters, setting, and motivations suitable for books written over
A lot happens in this installment, both fortuitous and fateful, that changes the landscape in terms of Falco and Helena’s family’s fortunes and the list of dramatis personae we’ve come to expect from book to book. Davis shakes things up, and it is a more somber, darker book than others in the series, though the banquet that Falco’s nemesis Anacrites throws and forces Falco and family to attend is a fine example of Davis’s comic talents. I always like a Falco mystery that takes place in Rome and ...more
Kathleen Molyneaux
I'm happy my library carried this, but I think I may need to back up and read a few of the earlier books about the 'informer' (a.k.a detective) Didius Falco. Readers that are familiar with the series will probably slip right into the dynamics of Falco's family and friends. For me, I felt a bit like an outsider at a family reunion. That didn't prevent me from enjoying this book so far. The death of Falco's son right in the first chapter captured my sympathy and I have come to really love the main ...more
Verity Brown
Apr 25, 2014 Verity Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

As much as I enjoyed this book--more so than the last few in the series--I can't give it a wholehearted 5 stars because it left me feeling too disturbed (and not in a good way). Falco's arch-enemy, Anacrites, has always been an interesting and rather baffling character, although Falco's supreme dislike of him always seemed a tad extreme (until the incident with Maia, anyway). This novel certainly explains everything about Anacrites. But in the end, I was left with the feeling that our hero had c
Nov 01, 2010 Dale rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, italy
This is the 20th in the Marcus Didius Falco series of mystery novels set in post-Augustan Rome (1st century A.D.). This installment begins with the death of Falco's father and of his newborn son and ends with ... well, I shouldn't tell you that.

Falco takes on the case of the murder of a merchant from Antium, a bug infested swampland south of Rome, and the disappearance of the merchant's wife. Suspicion soon falls on the Claudii, an extended family of freedmen who terrorize their neighbors and tr
Kate  K. F.
Jul 03, 2012 Kate K. F. rated it really liked it
All of the Falco books are at heart about family, his complex family, the Senatorial family that he married into and the families of those that he is constantly trying to help. Nemesis takes this looking at family to another level by bringing into play Anacrites, Falco's rival and colleague for Imperial jobs. The plot begins with two deaths in Falco's family and spins out into the Pontine swamps with the bodies of strangers and the complex web of what family duty truly means. This is one of my ...more
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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 ...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)
  • 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)

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