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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Londinium, Britannia, - London, England 75 AD

First Sentence: "It depends what we mean by civilization," the procurator mused.

This book is the fourteenth novel in Davis's Falco mystery series.

In the previous Falco novel, Falco has been sent to Britannia by the emperor. Traveling with Falco are his wife Helena, their young daughters, Falco's sister Maia, her children, and Falco's pal Petro. The emperor wanted Falco to investigate the finances of the local tribal king's new palace.  As part of the solution, a warrior named Verovolcus is exiled to Gaul.

On the way home, the entourage has stopped in Londinium to visit Helena's aunt.  Unfortunately, a British warrior has been found dead.  It seems that the deceased warrior "accidentally" drowned in a well near a bar.  I turns out that the victim  is Verovolcus.  Of course, Falco is asked to investigate. 

As Falco begins to investigate the case, he begins to feel that he is being stonewalled.  But he keeps his eyes open.  Soon he begins to notice that Roman mobsters have been operating in Londinium.  Some how the warrior's death is connected to the mobsters' activities.  So Falco begins to gather the evidence needed to arrest the criminals.

During his investigation, Falco renews his acquaintance with a female gladiator named Amazonia.  Once, Falco and Amazonia were lovers, long before he and Helena met.  Of course, that doesn't keep Helena from feeling jealous.

This novel reads more like a thriller than a mystery.  For most of the story, we are following Falco as he learns about the gangsters.  There is lots of action and danger.  There is a gladiator style battle to the death in the arena.  And in the end the characters have to live with a less than perfect conclusion.

In this novel, Davis introduces the character Albia.  Albia is a British orphan.  In future novels she becomes part of Falco and Helena's family.  She is also the main character in "The Ides of April", the first novel in another historical mystery series by Lindsey Davis.

I like Davis's writing style.  In Falco she has created a great character. And I enjoy reading about him.

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