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Down these mean streets a man must walk who is happily married with two children but still feels jolted by his old girlfriend turning up, especially as she's a female gladiator leading her own troop of dangerously equipped Amazons in the circus; he's trying to cope with investigating the murder of the man he arrested in the last book (the friend of a king gets exiled rather than executed, don't you know), which has turned into investigating the crooks who've set up a protection racket in downtown Londinium, which has turned into tracking down his best friend and his sister who have both disappeared... Marcus Didius Falco may technically be a middle-class worthy, but he still gets the investigation jobs no-one else wants to muddy their sandals with. You get a nice flavour of Londinium in the time of Vespasian and love, crime, loss and confusion are (un)pleasantly timeless; Falco's stubborn feeling of being out of place is slowly mellowing (he'll have to notice he got the happy ending at some point) and the ongoing cast are colourful and interesting still. Nothing wildly new in the 14th book, but still an excellent read.

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full steam ahead
marypcb
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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