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Shadows in Bronze

(Marcus Didius Falco #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,094 ratings  ·  234 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
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published 1990)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  5,094 ratings  ·  234 reviews

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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 an ...more
Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-detectives
Shadows in Bronze picks up where The Silver Pigs left off. This is one thing I like about this series - the continuity of life.

In this second novel, Falco continues his investigations in the aftermath of the stolen silver ingots. Expect more noir detective story-style, with an increasing romantic angle.
Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps. Davis' love for the period and the personas (or dislike of some) shines through the writing, even if one some
Mar 09, 2017 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
Blaine DeSantis
Aug 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Try, try, try as I might, I just could not get into this book. I already have read the first book of this series and so I was anxious to dive into this book.
Unfortunately, I appear to be one of the few who found this book hard to read, disjointed and totally uninteresting. I started and restarted the book 3 different times in the hope that I had missed something or would glean something that I had missed previously. Nope.
Sorry Marcus Didius Falco fans this one just was of no interest to me. And
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
Aug 27, 2012 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
Julie Davis
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading ... and I remember a lot more (like the solution) than I did when I previously read this - see below. Very enjoyable still watching Falco go on a working vacation in the ancient Roman world to solve the mystery.


I read a lot of this series when they were coming out, to the point that I'd order new volumes from England rather than wait for them to be published in America (ah, the old rich days before paying for kids' college educations...).

Some of the books I have reread numerous tim
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
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.
Falco calls himself an informer, but actually works as an investigator for the Emperor Vespasian. Plots against the Emperor are thick on the ground. Falco is a bit of a bumbler, and misses one obvious clue after another. People often try to tell him things, but he interrupts them. Nowhere is this more true than in his relationship with Helena Justina, who clearly cares for him (although the reader is hard pressed to know why). Something is revealed in their relationship after about a hundred obv ...more
Apr 20, 2017 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.
Rosanne Lortz
Mar 08, 2011 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 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
Jeff Dickison
Aug 20, 2015 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.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Depressing. Very different from the first book. The first book had a definite plot and followed a chain of events like a mystery. This book started with, let us keep Falco in the dark and give him all the dirty work then send him on a fool's errand that goes nowhere and oh, also talk about him in his presence like he is not there. What happened to the ending of the last book where he did honorably and was recognized?

I get that he is treated badly—comes with the territory the era etc., but even
Laura Blodgett
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoying this series! The detective (or "informer" as they are apparently called in ancient Rome) in this setting is a nice change. I am listening to the audiobooks and not only is the narrator excellent, but the descriptions of everything are vivid and captivating. I am usually impatient with those types of passages in books, but this author's use of words is very engaging.

The stories are a fun mix of adventure, mystery, and some romance. While the baudy Roman morals are evident, th
Sana Zameer
3.5 Stars

Shadows in Bronze starts from where the first book, The Silver Pigs ended. Told from the cynical point of view of one Marcus Didius Falco a private informer working for Emperor Vespasian. The senators that were involved in the conspiracy against the Caesar are turning up dead. Falco is sent to track down the plotters and bring them back to Rome. While on his mission Falco discovers another plot against Vespasian.

I thought the author had a better grip on this book than the first one. Th
This is the continuation of the series of Marco Didius Falco. This completes the story which began in The Silver Pigs where stolen lead ingots reveals a conspiracy against the Emperor Vespasian. Marcus is a private informer who is sent in this novel to speak with certain senators who seemed involved but there was no proof. As usual there are complications.

The writing in this one better balances plot and characterization. Marcus is less chauvinistic in this one even if he misses certain clues. G
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not as good as the first novel, we had the two main characters acting like dim witted teenagers in love and not talking to each other but at least the romance was more interesting to read then the main mystery which I found a bit boring at least until Falco got back to Rome where things picked up. I do Love the character of Falco and I enjoy reading about his family and friends the characters are very charismatic and I would especially like to see more of his mum and nephew in the future. Hopefu ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Loved it. Intrigue and romance in ancient Rome.
Sadie Slater
The second of Lindsey Davis's Falco novels picks up where The Silver Pigs left off and sees Falco engaged in trying to tie up the loose ends of the previous case, an undertaking which is complicated when one of the three surviving conspirators is murdered. His quest to warn the other two and find the murderer takes him away from Rome, first to Calabria and then to the Bay of Naples where he takes a working holiday in the shadow of Vesuvius in the company of his friend Petronius Longus and family ...more
John Frankham
Jan 15, 2017 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.
May 22, 2013 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
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The of my two favorite genres: historical-fiction and mystery! Not historical personage but the place, ancient Rome under Vespasian. Lindsey Davis brings that era and place alive as we follow Falco unraveling a treasonous situation from Rome to Southern Italy's coast. There is also a personal vendetta and danger to his love interest, Helena Justustina, the daughter of a Roman Senator who seems to be out of Falco's reach.
The dialogue is witty, often satirical. It is told in the first person by F
This closes the conspiracy case Falco was assigned by Vespasian in the first book. The mystery is obvious and not really the strength of the book. It's the characters that make you happy. Falco's and Helena's dance around each other and their almost modern way of dealing with the problems and tragedy. I especially liked Falco's nephew in this. His family is as important as the mystery and in this book even more. The case is closed but Falco makes himself a dangerous enemy that will haunt the nex ...more
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 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.
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rome
This is a longer and more involved book than her first book. I could wish that her protagonist was not so very dense and insecure about relationship issues. Still, well worth a read.
Nathan Albright
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2019
This book, quite interestingly, picks up immediately where the previous volume finished, with a murder mystery that follows from the previous political plot that Didius Falco had solved, reminding the reader that mysteries are not always tidy matters that can be resolved in a single volume but are sometimes matters with implications and ramifications that go beyond what is initially understood.  Here we find the novel moving forward, showing Falco as he demonstrates himself to be able of handlin ...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 romanti ...more

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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