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Two for the Lions Two for the Lions (Marcus Didius Falco #10)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,822 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Caged in frustration by having to work alongside the reptilian Chief Spy Anacrites, Marcus Didius Falco devises the perfect escape; become a tax collector in the "Great Census of A.D. 73." If his services are accepted by Vespasian and Titus, he may even rise high enough in the middle ranks to marry his long-suffering companion, Helena Justina. But a toothier job roars his ...more
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Published November 22nd 2000 by Mysterious Press (first published 1998)
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aPriL does feral sometimes
'Two for the Lions' goes deep inside the gladiator entertainment machine of 74AD Rome! The book describes an industry which is a very familiar business to those of us who have set our devices to vibrate whenever any celebrity news floods into social media outlets. Two thousand years of technical progress and social process hasn't changed people a jot, based on Lindsey Davis' ancient Rome research supporting her #10 book in the Marcus Didius Falco's 'informer' detective series. All I can say it i ...more
This was kind of a rambling entry in the saga of Marcus Didius Falco, and although the mystery get solved, the interpersonal issues don't really. I thought there were some gutsy structural choices, and I liked the way Falco had to learn to work with Anacrites. (I mean, "learn" or whatever.) I did have to keep putting it down, which kind of made me lose track of things for a bit. But it was a nice time, anyway.

I sometimes wish Falco and Helena and Vimes and Sybil could meet. Falco is rather like
Barbara Hansen
Let me vent for a minute, I want the 4 books between this one and the last one I read. So not right not to have them available for my kindle. I read series. I have always read series. Starting with the bobsey twins, Nancy Drew, one I really liked but don't remember what it was Isis something or the other, can't or haven't found it again..I was about 11 I think..Mysteries of course. Anyway much has happened to the didii... I want to know exactly what.
Jamie Collins
The Falco books are always a good read, but this isn't one of my favorites. It begins slowly and gloomily, picks up in the middle, but then ends rather abruptly. Some plot threads are left dangling until the next book, when Falco and Helena return to Rome to find out, I suppose, why Vespasian is summoning Falco to discuss the Sacred Geese.

This book is concerned with gladiators and bestiarii, who fought wild beasts in the arena.
Jun 27, 2014 Argum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place half in Rome and half in Africa so we get the adventurous travels and the great family members. Somehow though it seems like a half a story even though it ostensibly resolves the central mystery of the story. I feel like the personal aspects were more a set up for the next book than a development in themselves. Still enjoyed it and the look into ancient gladiators and beast fighting.
Jun 22, 2009 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humerous, with a snappy pace, Two For The Lions makes an entertaining and fascinating read. Davis' depth of knowledge of Roman society and her witty, cynical commentary of it via Falco substantially enhances her plot. Her writing is easy to read, without the overload of Latin or blocks of factual information that sometimes makes historical fiction so hard to enjoy.
Jun 07, 2014 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And I once again remark that returning to this series is like visiting a good friend. Though if Falco keeps gaining partners at this rate, it won't be long before he as the largest informer agency in Rome.
Apr 12, 2010 Cynthiaj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Marcus and Anacrites partner up and bodies start appearing. A bit more of an involved plot but Davis ties it all up at the end. It should be interesting to see how Marcus explains it all back in Rome when book #11 picks up.

La historia familiar muy buena, el caso del circo me ha parecido un poco coñazo y el final un poco mal resuelto.
M.G. Mason
So here we are at book ten of Davis' popular Falco novels. Marcus Didius Falco, the hapless private detective is still playing nursemaid cum bodyguard cum business partner to his long-time enemy Anacrites when he is called to assist with Vespasian's 'Great Census'.

Ever the good citizen *snort* and loyal subject of the Flavians *double snort*, Falco willingly accepts sees the opportunity to fast track his social climb and soon stubmles into his most unusual case yet. While recording the assets of
Rosanne Lortz
May 23, 2011 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two for the Lions sees Marcus partnering up with his old nemesis Anacrites as Census fraud investigators. Anacrites (who had tried to arrange for our hero’s death in Last Act in Palmyra) attracted the sympathy of Falco’s ma when he received a severe knock on the head in A Dying Light in Corduba. Much to Falco’s chagrin, the Chief Spy now boards at his mother’s house and considers himself part of the Didius family. The money-grubbing Emperor Vespasian hires the two men to investigate the estates ...more
Feb 21, 2010 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the tenth novel in this series, and it’s a fun one. Our focus this time around is the social function of gladiator battles. Falco, now uneasily partnered with his nemesis Chief Spy Anacrites, is on a census fact checking mission to catch tax evaders for the Emperor, his motivation sweetened by the fact that profits from this enterprise could raise the funds required to buy his entitlement to a higher social rank and legally marry his beloved, that aristocratic but headstrong Helena, some ...more
Cindy Matthews
Sep 22, 2015 Cindy Matthews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I last read a Falco mystery, and Two for the Lions is a good one to pick up the general storyline and characters again. Marcus Didius Falco finds himself involved in a murder--albeit it's a dead lion found in a gladiator's menagerie--while doing another "dirty job" for the emperor, that of census auditor looking for lost tax revenue. He's partnered with his former nemesis, too, Anacrites the former chief spy. To make matters worse, Vespasian won't even pay him what he's o ...more
Simon Mcleish
Oct 10, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in January 2001.

It seems incredible that Davis' enjoyable Falco series could have already reached its tenth instalment, yet this is it. He has ended up working with one-time Empire Chief Spy Anacrites, whom he despises. The Emperor Vespasian is currently organising a tax census, and the two of them are given the job of investigating returns which seem too low, in return for a percentage of the extra they collect. They concentrate on a seedy but profitable ind
Oct 01, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
C1998. FWFTB: Census, man-eating, lion, gladiator, arena. Falco is definitely a guilty pleasure these days. I know what to expect and enjoying going along for the ride. This one was all about gladiatorial combat and the import of the wild beasts for the arena. Much more interesting than the one about the aquaducts although the murderer features a bit. In each book, I always seem to find a particularly funny paragraph or two and in this book it was Falco’s and Justinus’ reaction when they woke up ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, mystery
Imagine if Sam Spade had operated out of ancient Rome. Lindsey Davis has transplanted all the things that make up a good noir mystery novel to Rome in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian and shows us, people haven't changed much in a couple thousand years.

Her descriptions of rome are so casual that you start to wonder if she does research or just has a time machine and pops back to double check details.

Falco takes what he thinks will be easy money, check the accounts of several men that provide g
Simon Binning
Mar 06, 2016 Simon Binning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This volume of the Falco series has him gaining work on Vespasian's census with the chance of earning some serious money, hopefully enabling him to achieve the social elevation he so desperately wants. However, a dead lion, and a feud between two lanistae lead him into dangerous waters yet again. Alongside the various issues in both his own family, and that of Helena Justina, this book takes him from Rome to North Africa. As usual, Falco deals with all his problems with a sense of humour, ably s ...more
Another Falco caper set for the most part in Rome, with a side excursion to northern Africa to Carthage and Libya, in which Falco, while working for the Emperor as a sort of tax-evasion investigator, is drawn deeper and deeper into the Roman gladiatorial world. We get to see the owners, the fighters, their fans, the wild exotic animals, and the condemned criminals who die in the arena for the edification and entertainment of the audiences. It all starts with a corpse, in keeping with the genre, ...more
Aug 25, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, historical
This was my last M. Didius Falco mystery, set during the reign of Vespasian. I have liked the Falco books very much but this was not the best one of the bunch. Falco is doing some work for the emperor - checking how people are living vs what they have reported on their taxes. In this role, he gets mixed up in a feud among 3 men who provide gladiators and wild animals for games. all 3 are jockeying to be on top when the Flavian Amphitheatre (aka the Coliseum) is completed. He's also tracking down ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Surya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
I didn't like this book as much as some of the others I've read in the Falco series, and I think there were 2 reasons for this. Firstly, I've never been one for stories about animals, and the first part of this book was largely about the 'murder' of the man-eating lion Leonidas. I really couldn't work up much sympathy for the 'victim', or empathise with Falco's feelings about it, so the mystery fell a bit flat for me. The second problem I had with this book was it was largely set in the world of ...more
Sep 15, 2010 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-read
Another great installment in the Marcus Didius Falco series! Falco has a new partner - Anacrites! They actually have a legitimate, above-board job too. They are auditing the accounts and "lifestyles" of potential tax cheats for the imperial Censor (non other than Vespasian, himself). Of course, misadventure is never far from Falco, and this time it takes him into the world of the arena. A celebrity lion has been murdered, and Falco wonders why. And has Anacrites actually come to admire and emula ...more
I enjoyed this one. Some characters met a violent end. There was a lot of description of localities which I would have enjoyed more if I had visited those places. Ms Davis certainly does her research. The description of the ceremony surrounding the gladiatorial games was interesting. I find it hard to understand how the people of that time enjoyed the blood and gore of the actual games. Falco, as always, is an amusing lead character. Just when the reader thinks there will be no solution to the m ...more
Lizzie Robinson
Jan 24, 2013 Lizzie Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falco's Ma gets her way, at least at the beginning of the story, but I am sure that she will be surprised by her favourite's antics - nice twist. This novel certainly pulls together a lot of the tantalisingly unfinished sub-plots from the previous books whilst setting up even more for subsequent outings. Falco & Helena's wanderlust is evident yet again. The story is woven together with pathos and some lighter moments (the incident with those pesky goats and their insatiable appetite for anyt ...more
Brooke Banks
I give up. This series is added to my short list of books/series I just can't finish. I only stuck it out this long to see what happens with the relationship and characters. I don't even care anymore about the characters. They can all go die in a fire and I'd only sigh in relief. The mysteries often weren't engaging to me. It was just a very bland drag to find out if Marcus gets the girl and gets a better status.
Mar 13, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: I did
Shelves: mysteries, falco
This time we learn about the Emperorer's Tax Census and gladiator training and background in 70 CE Rome. Did you know there were different levels of gladiators? You will after you read this.

We also learn that Anacrites may be worth more than we thought, which pleases me no end because I like the sneaky little bastard.

Apr 15, 2012 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy, history
This series has been consistently entertaining. This story, though, needs a good deal of suspension of disbelief: the ending just really doesn't make any sense at all.

What I liked about the story is that it seems to wander in the middle, taking Falco and family on an African adventure, but eventually ties everything together in a reasonable way.
Jeff Dickison
Feb 13, 2015 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable entry in the Falco series. Falco becomes a tax collector in this tale, but he also investigates several murders, including that of a lion. This humorous series should be enjoyed by all mystery fans. Well done.
Aug 02, 2012 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fun and definitely kept me guessing about what exactly was going on with the rivalry between rival wild beast purveyors and also with the murder mystery. The characters were interesting.
Steve Clark
Falco investigates the murder of a man-eating lion in Vespasian's imperial Rome. He has to visit areas of Libya to solve the case. Good stuff about gladiators and the procurement of beasts for the arenas.
Aug 29, 2011 Marcus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of weaker installments in the series, mainly because the plot seems unnecessarily convoluted, but despite that isn't all that interesting. For those of us that have followed Falcos adventures from the start it's still a good read. On it's own it fails to make an impression.
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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)
  • 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)
  • One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco, #11)

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