Sunday, August 2, 2015
The third volume in Davis's new series about Flavia Albia, the (adopted) daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina.
Domitian is Emperor and Marcus Didius Falco has retired to his house on the coast, keeping a discreet distance from the imperial intrigues in Rome. But Flavia Albia, his stubbornly independent adopted daughter, is set on pursuing Falco's former profession as a private informer in Rome.
Still recovering from a serious illness, Albia returns to the oppressive heat of the city in summer to find the employees left in charge of the family auction house have discovered a corpse stuffed inside a large chest, part of a consignment of household goods to be auctioned. Albia, as the only member of the family in Rome, must take charge. The sensible thing to do would be to dump the corpse; Albia of course, wants to know who he is, how he died, and why his body wound up in the chest.
Meanwhile, Albia's friend and sometime collaborator, the magistrate Tiberius Manlius Faustus, wants Albia to work with him on the election campaign of his childhood friend Sextus Vibius Marinus, one of a number of candidates seeking the post of aedile. Albia's job is to dig up dirt on Sextus's rivals, and she finds there is a lot of dirt to dig --- much of it due to the complicated shared family history among the candidates, including Sextus, whose wives and ex-wives are all sisters, the marriages engineered by their scheming mother. As Albia and Faustus untangle this web of malice and obsession, they piece together the identity of the corpse in the chest and why he died.
A new Lindsey Davis novel is always a treat for fans of historical fiction and colorful characters.
Click HERE to see the review in Publisher's Weekly.
Click HERE to see the review in Kirkus.