Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Alexandria


Hardback, 276 pages
Publisher: Century
Cover Design: Mark Edwards
Release Date: February 5, 2009
ISBN-10: 1-846052873
ISBN-13: 978-1846052873

Alexandria is the 19th addition in the long-running and entertaining Falco sequence, a mystery series set in the ancient Roman world circa 70s AD. Marcus Didius Falco and family are on holiday in Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great and capital of the province of Egypt. The city is home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great Lighthouse, and is the staging point for a second, the Great Pyramids of Giza. Marcus and his wife, Helena, have come to visit the great wonders, however things quickly go awry when the head librarian of the Great Library dies in mysterious circumstances. As an informer who often works for the Emperor, Falco is quickly handed the investigation by the authorities. Falco must deal with hostile academics, bribery, and embezzlement in his quest to solve the murder. Two more deaths complicate matters not to mention Falco’s shifty relatives who take an unhealthy interest in the Library’s scrolls.

Alexandria is another good book in one my favorite book series. As always, Marcus is a dogged and smart-ass informer, the closest Roman equivalent to a private detective. His social values and sense of justice may seem out of place, but the author handles it deftly, often tempered by the realities of Roman politics and society. Indeed, one thing I’ve always enjoyed about Lindsey Davis’ books is how authentic they feel. Davis does her homework on Roman society, culture, and history extremely well often consulting the latest archaeology research. Whenever I’m reading on the books, I often feel that I’m actually walking the streets of ancient Rome. The author openly admits that she often takes liberties for the sake of the plot, however I think she does a fantastic job and I always enjoy her work.

For fans of Lindsey Davis, Alexandria is another solid entry in the Falco series. Recommended for mystery and historical fiction.

Rating: 7.5/10.

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