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La plata de Britania

(Marcus Didius Falco #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  13,997 ratings  ·  984 reviews
When Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer" who has a nose for trouble that's sharper than most, encounters Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately all is not right with the pretty girl. She confesses to him that she is fleeing for her life, and Falco makes the rash decision to rescue her—a decision he will come to regret. For Sosia bears a heavy burden: as he ...more
Published December 31st 1999 by Edhasa (first published 1989)
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Ian Cooper Book one is a bit tough to get through. Book 2 is better, book 3 is even better, and by book 4, Lindsey Davis's writing is fully mature. Writers new t…moreBook one is a bit tough to get through. Book 2 is better, book 3 is even better, and by book 4, Lindsey Davis's writing is fully mature. Writers new to her books may want to start with her (much later) Flavia Albia books and come back to Falco when they're sure they like her writing style.(less)
Ian Cooper In my opinion, if you want to get a good start with Falco, start with book 4 in the series: The Iron Hand of Mars. Lindsey Davis's writing is much mor…moreIn my opinion, if you want to get a good start with Falco, start with book 4 in the series: The Iron Hand of Mars. Lindsey Davis's writing is much more mature by this book. Books 1 and 2, although good, are a bit of a grind. Book 3 is better, but in my opinion still not up to the standard of her later works.(less)
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Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Way back in early 2015, I read Lindsey Davis' The Ides of April. I liked it, and since it featured the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, I thought I would eventually get around to the original character. The Silver Pigs is the first of many Falco novels that Davis wrote over a period of more than 20 years.

I rarely think that an entertaining mystery merits five stars, but this one does. For many of us who would rather read historical mysteries than current true crime, the attraction is what an au
Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

I liked this novel, but given many of my GR friends love this book/series, I was expecting to enjoy it just a little bit more.

Silver pigs had me thinking;

but they were actually really heavy lead ingots that had been filled with silver & stolen from Roman Britain. Marcus Didius Falco, a wisecracking Roman imperial agent is on the case after (view spoiler) I will say the spoilered plot development took me com
Reading two detective/mystery books at the same time, this is unheard of for me! As it happens this is for one of this year’s challenges, reading a book written by a woman for each year of the 1980s.
This is the first of a series which runs for twenty or so books and this one is set around 70 in the first year of the Emperor Vespasian and moves between Britain and Rome. Marcus Didius Falco is thirty years old and an ex-soldier. He is a sort of Imperial agent who does odd jobs. This books sets up
The Silver Pigs is fun to read. And if you're looking to read to relax, there's no better praise.

As I mentioned in my comment, the voice and tone reminded me of Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series sans the fantasy element. Even more strongly, I'm reminded of a Roman Rockford Files, which may be brilliantly illuminative to those of a certain age or who have a taste for '70s detective shows. For the rest, you can wiki it and then hunt down copies of the episodes (which stream on Netflix).

But I'm digr
Nov 28, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

'Now don't be worried!' I reassured her. 'Tell me, how old are you?'
She was sixteen. O Jupiter!

'Do I look like a person who is married?'

She looked like a person who soon should be!

Nope. Not for me.
Jamie Collins
Wow, I really liked this! It's very accessible; you can enjoy it even if you don't know a thing about the history of Ancient Rome. The author supplies historical details smoothly without lecturing the reader.

The mystery itself wasn't especially gripping, but the story was fast-paced, with truly likeable characters and great dialogue. I started snickering at the dramatis personae and continued to be amused all the way through the book.

There are frequent, oddly placed paragraph breaks, which make
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Silver Pigs' begins at a run and it really doesn't let up. Marcus Didius Falco, a 70 AD Roman private informer whose usual jobs involve following young philandering wives for rich old husbands, finds himself in the middle of a mystery of murder and mayhem involving important senators of high rank and even the Emperor Vespasian himself.

Thirty-year-old Falco has a large family and a mother, but they all are grieving for Falco's brother, Didius Festus, who was a heroic soldier in the Roman army an
Deborah Ideiosepius
This is the highly entertaining and enjoyable first novel in the series. Marcus Didius Falco is a first-century detective in Rome, or as they are known there and then, an informer.

This story starts in a hot day at the Rome Forum, where Falco sights and then takes in hand a fleeing young woman from the senator class. Sosia Camillina is sixteen, radiantly innocent and someone has tried to kidnap her from the very sanctum of her home. Sosia has no idea why and discovering that is the long, often o
Karen Witzler
Enjoyed the reread. I always find new plot points or historical references that I've missed. This time it was Vitellius and mushy peas. ...more
Karin Slaughter
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Davis I read and I loved it. My pal (and fellow author) Fidelis Morgan suggested I give it a try because I couldn't think of a book that wrote about a successful relationship in an interesting way. I have to say that Fidelis was right. Falco and Helene are very solid in their love for one another, but they disagree and argue and do all the usual things couples do without cutting too deep when they disagree. I think that's the key to a relationship (haha, and a sign that it migh ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“When the girl came rushing up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes.”

Sam Spade? Phillip Marlowe? Mike Hammer? Nope, none other than Marcus Didius Falco the private investigator who is the creation of English author Lindsey Davis. And “The Silver Pigs” is the first of 20 books she has written about the adventures of Falco set in 70 A.D. during the the beginning of the reign of Roman Emperor Vespacian.
I always marvel at how well British authors can work with the Roman Empire a
I like the MC in this series. He is like your uncle who lives next door. He is normal, trying to do the best he can....and he can be suckered into things. I liked that I got to see more detail about him.

I've read a few of these novels in this series, and they all share some commonalities. The author writes with a contemporary flair.....even though this is Ancient Rome historical fiction. That usually isn't something I like, but she makes it work in her books. I also like the way she constructs
Susan in NC
4/2022 - Listened to audiobook, very entertaining narrator, to refresh my memory for upcoming read with Reading the Detectives group. Still 3.5-4 stars for adventure, humor, characters, promising start to a long series. I’d definitely like to read on, see how characters develop. The plot made more sense this time, but I still found it hard to grasp what Falco and Helena were trying to say in several scenes as their romance developed - I think it’s just Davis’s writing style. The next book will b ...more
Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-detectives
The series that tarted it all (for me). I always loved ancient Rome (since I first read Asterix), and detective stories. This was the perfect combination.

In Silver Pigs, we are introduced to Marcus Didius Falco, a hard-boiled detective set in ancient Rome under Vespasian's rule. Falco is taken on a journey from what starts with an upper-class young lady in trouble with some ruffians, to the highest echelons of society and money counterfeiting.

Expect a noir feel to the story, with gruff men and
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh - where do I start? A private eye series set in ancient Rome. This is the first one - I won't add all the books individually, there are (I think) 18 by now, but it's set in Rome in 70AD, the hero is Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman 'informer'.... and his friends, and his over the top family, and his lady, Helena Justina, the senator's daughter, way out of his league but that doesn't stop them, lol, and HER family... They are my favourite ancient Roman couple Evah. There is adventure all over the ...more
Clemens Schoonderwoert
Read this book in 2011, and its the 1st episode of the tremendous "Marcus Didius Falco" series, from the author, Lindsey Davis.

Set in the year Ad 70, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, we follow the investigations of low-life informer Marcus Didius Falco.

At first Falco rescues a girl by the name of, Sosia Camillina, who fears for her life, but that turns out to be decision as heavy as a pile of stolen Imperial ingots.

At the same time he meets the Senator's daughter, Helena Justina, who's con
Kelsey Hanson
Actual rating: 2.5 (Seriously Goodreads. Lots of people writing in their own half stars. Take the hint!!)

The first thought I had in the first chapter was "Is the narrator British? What is he doing in Ancient Rome". I later learned that the author is in fact from England. I didn't care much for the story. For some reason, the plot was really hard to follow apart from the obvious (and incredibly played out) love at first fight line. The saving grace of this story was the snarky and likeable main c
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a Philip-Marlowe like character becomes the narrator of events that take place in Ancient Rome, you get Lindsey Davis! The research is excellent, the stories are fascinating, the historical truth is respected and… a sort of hard boiled detective investigates. Probably one of the best historical novels, along with Sharan Newman, on the market.
Apr 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1989, this is the first mystery featuring Marcus Didius Falco. I first read this when it was originally released and it was great fun to revisit. It features our central character, Private Informer Falco (the closest thing to a Private Detective in Rome, A.D. 70). Falco lives on the top floor of an apartment building, where he spends his time playing around with nubile young ladies, avoiding his landlord, peeing in the vats of the laundry downstairs to aid the whitening of tog ...more
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first encountered Marcus Didius Falco in a short story in Classical Whodunits, many years ago. At the time I was more interested in the late Roman Republic, so I was more drawn to the Steven Saylor mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder, contemporary of Cicero and Julius Caesar and the significant events of that era. I later rediscovered Falco through audiobook versions of "A Body in the Bath House" and "The Jupiter Myth," which occur much later in the series. "The Silver Pigs" is the debut ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've ever bothered to switch edition on a GR book, and that's because reading this book in 260 pages of titchy tiny font really do make a difference. Does slow things down and make it that little bit worse.

Still plenty good though. The fun is in the humour because the mystery is sadly a little underdeveloped, but that's okay, because Lindsay Davies as Falco is one of my favourite authorial voices ever; irreverent, sentimental and self-deprecating.
Ah to be Rome surronded by naked people!

Which isn't quite what happens to Marcus Didius Falco; he does seem to get surronded by women an awful lot.

This is actually a quite funny, sometimes touching, and very good novel. Falco must solve the mystery of the pigs (which are really silver and not pig shaped at all) while dealing with his mother and various others.

Lou Robinson
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the slightly strange first person writing style, I really enjoyed this book. It introduces Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer just about surviving in Rome at the time of the emperor Vespasian. It's fast paced and has all the elements of a novel to keep you entertained, bit of romance, crime, travel... I'll certainly be picking up the next Falco story. ...more
Eileen Charbonneau
Run don't walk to your local bookseller and start this fantastic series of first century Rome detective Marcus Falco. He will win your heart and his nutty family and associats will continue to delight through many adventures. ...more
I needed a new series to make me fall in love with a clever detective (informer) all over again, and I really wanted it to be the M Didius Falco series. The long and short of it is that Lindsey Davis failed to make me fall in love. It was more like a mild like. I can't see myself coming back for more of this series.

I came looking for a genuine mystery. I was hoping for some Raymond Chandler style Roman detection, or some brooding Henning Mankell style Roman detection, or even some frustrating I
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-mystery, 2022
This was probably my 4th read of the first instalment in the Falco series and I have enjoyed it every time, hence the 5 star rating. The first book introduces Falco, cynical private investigator in Rome as Vespasian claims the title of Caesar. Falco becomes embroiled in a plot to depose the latest ruler of the Roman Empire funded with the proceeds of lead stolen from a mine in modern Britain. As he follows the trail, he meets Helena, daughter of a senator with a mind of her own. Love, love the s ...more
Kara Babcock
I read some series like River Song travels with the Doctor: out of order. I’ve dipped and dallied with various books in the Falco series, but most recently I read Venus in Copper before going back to the source, Falco #1: The Silver Pigs. Here we meet Lindsey Davis’ private eye: Marcus Didius Falco, an informer in the first-century Roman empire. Falco is constantly on the hunt for new clients and new income, lest his greedy landlord send some gladiators around to bust his kneecaps (and other ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Rome, AD 70: Roman sleuth Marcus Didius Falco chances upon an illegal trade in precious metal (the silver pigs) after mounting a rescue from a kidnap gang.

Anton Lesser brings the popular detective to life in Lindsey Davis's witty and enthralling adventures set in the days of the Roman Empire. Dramatised by Mary Cutler.

With Felicity Jones as Sosia, Ben Crowe as Petronius, Robert Lister as Decimus, Richard Derrington as Publius and Frances Jeater as Falco's Mother.

Directed i
3.5 stars rounded up.

I think one of the reasons I liked this more than 3 stars is because I inadvertently got the dramatized audio recording thinking it was the book and it is really well done. For once the voicing carried over well for most of the characters, and the humour really played well in it.

In any event, this starts in 70 AD. Falco is, basically, a PI, but it's not called that. There is history, murder, mystery, love, adventure, travel, politics and various and sundry other things. Sil
Emilia Rosa
Jul 16, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story, well narrated. I was just surprised to find corn as a staple of Roman diet... I didn't expect this faux pas, in an otherwise well researched novel. ...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)
  • 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)
  • One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco, #11)

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