A frightened child approaches Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco, pleading for help. Nobody believes Gaia's story that a relation wants to kill her - and neither does he. Beset by his own family troubles, by his new responsibilities as Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, and by the continuing search for a new partner, he turns her away. Immediately he regrets it. Gaia has been selected as the new Vestal Virgin, and when she disappears Falco is officially asked to investigate. Finding Gaia is then a race against time, ending in Falco's most terrifying exploit yet...
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Falco is back from North Africa, with new-found respectability and a dead brother-in-law to cope with. Appointed to a post in the religious hierarchy--keeper of the city's sacred geese--Davis's imperial Roman sleuth soon finds himself caught up in the murder of a member of one of the sacred brotherhoods and the disappearance of the most likely new candidate for the order of vestal virgins. His wife's brother tripped over the first of these and he himself was approached by the virgin, a small, frighteningly upper-class girl, and asked to help with her fears that one of her family meant her harm. Davis's command of the complexities of Roman society and attitudes has rarely been so impressively on display; Falco's world moves between the comic, the tragic and the horrid without missing a beat, or a trick. The portrait of the Emperor Vespasian that has intermittently grown up in the background of these excellent historical thrillers acquires more areas of light and shadow, and the love story of the low-rent public informer Falco and his aristocratic wife Julia becomes more touching. Davis's book Two For the Lions won the Crime Writers Association Golden Dagger for historical thrillers. -- Roz KaveneyReview:
"One of the most entertaining books of the year" (Susanna Yager Sunday Telegraph)
"One of the best of the current writers in this field" (Donna Leon Sunday Times)
"Wonderful, great fun all round" ( Daily Telegraph)
"Surely the best historical detective in the business" ( Daily Telegraph)
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Book Description Arrow, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099799715