Friday, April 18, 2008
Book Review The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis
Marcus Didius Falco is Lindsey Davis' intrepid Roman "informer" or Private Investigator. In this 2002 adventure, Falco takes his investigative skills and rag tag family off to Londinium cum 75 AD. Even in the outer reaches of the empire there appears to be plenty of opportunity for extortion, mayhem, and murder. It all begins with a nobleman killed by being stuffed headfirst down a well. Falco's investigation exposes a city-wide organized crime protection ring and leads to more killings as the now targeted thugs fight to retain control of their rackets. Davis uses some recent archaeology to set her scenes and you get convincing local ambiance ranging from the Thames waterfront to the new Amphitheatre where a rip roaring battle takes place. Through it all Falco is a wryly comic observer who is never quite ready to admit that this seedy outpost could grow up to be a real city. The appealing cast of characters includes Falco's take charge wife, his raucous children, his randy sister and her lover, a whole corps of amazons, and an assortment of denizens of the bars and brothels of the city. The upshot is sardonic humor combined with clever plot twists, good fight scenes, and some nice period local color. For me, as a lover of anything London, this was a particularly enjoyable read.