Gone to the lions

Lindsey Davis' Two for the lions comes just over halfway through the Falco canon. It's an entertaining read, and vital if you've ever wondered what exactly happened to Maia's ex-, Famia; or how exactly Falco, Roman gumshoe extraordinaire, ended up having a run in with the Sacred Geese.

When Falco ends up in an uneasy partnership with slimy spy, Anacrites, you know there's going to be trouble ahead. Taking details for Vespasian's census sounds as though it's going to be easy but when a prize man-eating lion drops dead closely followed by an ostrich and a gladiator, who was a favourite with the ladies, it's fairly obvious that something crooked is going on; but with no clues and a brother-in-law on the hunt for a lost North African vegetable, you know that Falco's about to have a tough time.

As ever with Falco, Two for the lions is vastly entertaining while providing you with a good history workout of the Roman Empire in North Africa. It's often very funny, and has a startling and thrilling climax. It's not the best detective story you'll ever read; and certainly not one of the best Falco's, but for a bit of light entertainment with a strong historical background this is not bad at all.


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