It is the Roman holiday of Saturnalia. The days are short; the nights are for wild parties.
A general has captured a famous enemy of Rome, and brings her home to adorn his Triumph as a ritual sacrifice.
The logistics go wrong; she acquires a mystery illness - then a young man is horrendously murdered and she escapes from house arrest.
Marcus Didius Falco is pitted against his old rival, the Chief Spy Anacrites, in a race to find the fugitive before her presence angers the public and makes the government look stupid.
Falco has other priorities, for Helena's brother Justinus has also vanished, perhaps fatefully involved once more with the great lost love of his youth.
Against the riotous backdrop of the season of misrule, the search seems impossible and only Falco seems to notice that some dark agency is bringing death to the city streets...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 07/02/2008
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780099493839
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by annbury
Falco is in good form in this 18th entry; may the books keep coming until our hero hits his dotage! In this episode, Falco is commissioned to find an old acquaintance -- Veleda, the German priestess who saved his life and several others many books ago, after possible becoming the mistress of Falco's brother-in-law. Now, Veleda has been brought to Rome in chains for humiliation and execution, but she has vanished! Things of course are way more complicated than that, involving severed heads, the Chief Spy, drunken turnips, etc. etc. etc. Good silly fun.