Our hero, having discovered true love, has enough to worry him even before shadowy figures glimpsed late at night and a series of fatal accidents convince Falco and the Emperor that traitors are still conspiring and must be brought to book. Mourning Helena, who seems to want to abandon him, Falco sets off on a ramble through the Roman holiday spots, acquiring a goat on the Toe of Italy and accompanied around the Bay of Naples by his best friend Petronius – a member of the official police force who has somehow won himself a reputation as a ‘respectable family man’. This is the story in which the author learned never to kill off useful characters – but in fiction there is always a solution.
This is the one with the ‘Pompeii’s a place that intends to last’ joke.
All royalties from the UK paperback are donated to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in memory of Margaret Sadler, a wonderful friend, who provided the part-time employment that enabled the author to survive financially while first struggling to get published.
Fast and funny picaresque adventure … lots of excitement and a moving love story – Mail on Sunday
Davis’ vision of everyday life in the Roman Empire is superb. I haven’t read a historical novel this good since ‘I Claudius’ by Robert Graves and ‘The Persian Boy’ by Mary Renault – and this is a lot funnier – Detroit Free Press