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(Marcus Didius Falco #20)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,046 ratings  ·  212 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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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  2,046 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Julie Johnson
Jan 16, 2011 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 15, 2012 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 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.
Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman-detectives
The grand finale to the series, tying up loose ends

Expect a darker than usual Falco novel, as he deals with ancient Rome's version of rednecks and his constant arch-nemesis. This is the last Falco mystery, and Davis was aiming to bring a closure to the series. While most things have been dealt with in a way that can bring satisfaction to the reader, the ending can be a tad frustrating.

Be aware that while it's not necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps; Falco's family life has e
Aug 18, 2012 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 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 l ...more
Stan Morris
Mar 01, 2012 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 beco ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well this was it - the last book in the Falco series. A series that I read and loved, not so much for the mysteries, but for the characters, I'm going to miss Falco, Helena and their family and friends. Yes, I know I could read the Flavia Albia books but it's just not the same. ...more
Simon Binning
Well, here we are; the end of the series; the last book. I have followed Marcus Didius Falco through nineteen adventures, and this is the final one. Different authors choose different ways to end a long running series, and I wondered how Lindsey Davis would choose to end hers.
The story starts with a bit of a shock, which causes even more issues than normal in his rather dysfunctional family. So it comes as a bit of relief to be asked to investigate the disappearance of a couple who supplied stat
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 12, 2012 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,
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it
The last Falco novel, Nemesis, exists entirely to wrap up loose ends and set up for the spinoff series about Albia. Definitely not one to read as a stand alone it was much darker than the rest of the series and was missing a lot of the fun and intrigue that I enjoyed in the previous novels. Almost boring if it wasn't so grim, the entire plot centres around Anacrites, who has until now only been a Guest Appearance character.

If you haven't read the previous 19 you could probably survive not readin
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
Jun 06, 2011 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 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
Jun 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
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. ...more
Laura Spira
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The final Falco! His adventures have been my comfort reading on my Kindle when I wake in the night and I shall miss him very much. I'm now starting the Flavia Alba series, I hope she lives up to her adopted father... ...more
Apr 15, 2011 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. ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes

The final novel of Lindsey Davis’s superb Falco series begins with two tragedies which set a decidedly melancholy underlying tone to the poignant narrative which follows.

While having to deal with these two personal tragedies Roman gum-sandaled protagonist Marcus Didius Falco is asked by his best friend Lucius Petronius Longus, watch captain of the Vigiles (the local fire-fighting/police force) to assist him in finding the perpetrator of a bizarre ritualistic murder.
Sue Law
The finale to the Falco series, this entry suffers from the blatant tying up of loose ends combined with the setting up for the Albia series. This creates some uneven pacing.
Helena's pregnancy ends with the birth of a weak son who dies the same day. When Falco goes to tell his father he finds that he too has just died leaving Falco as his heir. Tidying up loose business ends takes Falco down the coast where he finds that his father's business partners in the area (a married couple) have disappea
The fun has gone from this series. Oh, sure, Falco is as insouciant as ever. And being an informer isn’t all togas & sunshine. Yet the level of suspense has dropped (if not the rate of crime in ancient Rome), and the slog through the Palatine swamps is not much fun. Do we care about the murder of a local by some brutish brothers living in a buggy, muddy marsh outside Rome? Not really. Much more interesting is the on-going rivalry of Falco with Anacrites, the chief spy for Titus Caesar. Unfortuna ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew this day would come and I dragged my feet getting here. The last Falco novel :-(. Still it was a good one to end on altho perhaps she’ll write another one (probably not, it’s been 9 years!). Falco and Helena Justina are back in Rome after their latest trip (to Egypt). Sadness has come to their family and as with all life there is some good to come out of even the saddest events. Falco and Petro are drawn into investigating a murder that the vigils have uncovered where the corpse was burie ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, mystery
Reader, Christian Rodska, is good. I don't always love his choice of voices for other characters, but it doesn't detract from the experience for more than a moment.
These are mysteries in ancient Rome. Lots of history and life & times make these educational in a painless way. There is humor, excitement, some danger, always humor. Sex is referred to but never described in
Monica Willyard Moen
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nls, kindle, mysteries
I find it difficult to enjoy the plot of novels where I can’t find characters to like or cheer for. In this case, the author is skilled at drawing characters, and that is part of the problem I have with this book. Most of the characters are selfish, mean-spirited, and/or brutal. I would not want to have lunch, let alone live with, most of these characters. Yes, I know that Roman society was often like this. I just can’t get into this style of book with these characters whose casual cruelty seems ...more
Kathleen (itpdx)
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is this the last Falco mystery? I have enjoyed most of this series of Lindsey Davis’s books set in Roman times. In this one she sets up Falco’s adopted daughter, Albia, to become an informer and I see there is a series that features her.
Like most of the Falco series we quietly learn a lot about Roman society of the time—how freed slaves are not fully accepted, how not being of Roman descent is a disadvantage. The story is told with Falco’s sarcastic humor and his ethical point of view even in a
Nick Ertz
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Falco soldiers on. After some personal losses of his own, Marcus gets back in the saddle one last time. He has to deal with a swamp of problems, literally and figuratively. But Marcus is as ever doggedly persistent. Anacrites, the chief spy and Falco's main nemesis is waiting at every turn. Who will win? The story is fun, despite the British accent on the narrator. Life in 1st century Rome wasn't all roses. ...more
Donna Brown
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Summer of AD 77 and all the details.

If you like historical mysteries with intrigue and a dose of Roman networking, this is the book to read.

Sleep alluded me so I got up in the middle of the night to read. The historical references, the manner of speech, the names and places kept me engaged until and hour ago when I officially got up for the day.

I don't know how long this book has been on the unread shelf but I am glad I finally dug in.
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Davis is as entertaining as ever and can dream up the most complicated plots. The story starts with tragedy and ends with . . .with well an interesting ending. The reason I return to this author is her characters. Falco, his wife Helena Justina, his friend Petro, and his adopted daughter, Albia. The mystery is complicated and kept me guessing. "Nemesis" is a dark tale, but family interactions lightened the load a bit. ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the final Falco book. However it's not the end of the story. Nemesis wraps up some lose ends and enables Falco to live life as in in-laws wish. He loses a natural son, only to gain another. His foster daughter finally leaves the nest to start her own journey. Looking forward to series on Albia, Falco and Helena's foster daughter from Britain. ...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)
  • 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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