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The Third Nero by Lindsey Davis

The Third Nero

by Lindsey Davis

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Another enjoyable entry in the Flavia Albia series. I enjoy Flavia's voice - she's reminiscent of Falco, but she has her own dry wit. I did miss seeing more of her family, including her new husband, but I imagine he might feature a bit more actively in the next book. ( )
  duchessjlh | Jul 13, 2018 |
Domitian was not a popular emperor although revisionist history has that he ruled well. Lacking in any personal charm, I would guess. He saw plots to assassinate him under every toga (and rightly so for the most part) and Davis takes advantage of this and of a historical reality, that there were some 'false Nero' attempts to oust the Flavians with a puppet.
Flavia Alba is very different from her father, for one thing she hasn't (at least so far) gotten herself beaten up as he regularly did but she is a funny and wry and observant as her father. In this one she is asked to help trying to unravel a third false Nero plot, only to uncover . . . you guessed it, much much more. Her new husband, Tiberius the aedile, having been struck by lightning on his wedding day, plays a quiet but not very active role. We meet some Parthians and other new characters are introduced who I expect will be around and about in future volumes. As always it is the setting and small details that make the books irresistible to me. For now I am caught up, but I see there is a new one coming along later this year (2018). Lucy Brown narrated and she is my favourite of the various actors. **** ( )
1 vote sibyx | May 22, 2018 |
Flavia Albia is asked to gently ask questions of two ladies whose husbands were executed for treason against the Emperor to see if they knew of their husbands' involvement. Although at first this seems quite straightforward, complications arise and a political prisoner is killed. Is Parthia seeking to destabilise Rome?

I found this the most enjoyable novel in the new series. Satisfyingly complex machinations. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Dec 17, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book more than I have the first three in the Flavia Alba series, perhaps because it revolved around a real historical phenomenon, the appearance of the Nero imposters in the Roman Empire in the last quarter of the 1st century AD. It would become a recurring theme throughout history, most notably with the Princes in the Tower in Tudor England, and later with the Dauphin after the French Revolution. Throw in intrigue with the exotic via Rome's long-standing rival the Parthian Empire and it becomes a solid story. I still haven't really warmed to Flavia, and miss Falco's flexible morality and ability to get down and dirty in the stews of Rome, but its a worthwhile series worth persisting with. ( )
  drmaf | Aug 18, 2017 |
Beginning on the day after Flavia Albia's wedding day, which saw her new husband struck down by lightning (the climax of the previous volume, The Graveyard of the Hesperides), in The Third Nero our intrepid informer must act as breadwinner as Tiberius Manlius Faustus is bedridden, and so, when approached by a palatial bureaucrat, she takes on the seemingly innocuous task of interviewing the widows of two provincial governors whom Domitian had executed. As an additional favour, would Flavia Albia mind asking the widows what they knew of their husbands' involvement with a Syrian pretender, the third so-called False Nero? As the investigation progresses and more than one body turns up, Flavia Albia realises that someone on the Palatine is plotting to overthrow the Emperor Domitian and install a puppet emperor.

I've followed Lindsey Davis' creation of Falco's adopted daughter Flavia Albia from the beginning: the central character is likeable and suitably feisty, and can hold her own in a male-dominated world; the novels communicate a real atmosphere and authentic flavour of Ancient Rome in the 1st century AD, and the mysteries are always out of the ordinary, with plenty of colourful characters and set pieces thrown in; this fifth volume in the series is no exception. Once again it shows the enormous amount of research Lindsey Davis must put into each of her creations, so that reading the books almost acts as a history lesson, though I felt at times this came at the expense of moving the plot forward. There are still unexpected developments in store, even though Flavia Albia has a couple of very lucky breaks. Although she is probably used to it, a lot of time is spent witnessing her interviewing key figures without making any real headway, so several sections dragged a little and the madcap denouement comes as somewhat of a surprise.

With her husband recovering from the lightning strike, I was also missing some of the usual banter between the two, and as a result of Tiberius' illness and the uncertainty about the future Flavia Albia is more subdued than we've encountered in the previous volumes in the series, though her repartee still packs a punch, and in this volume the verbal anachronisms are especially plentiful. Fans of the original Falco series will be glad to know that several times Lindsey Davis refers back to events or characters encountered in the course of Falco's investigations and/or travels, which gives the overarching series a nice sense of continuity.

I don't know how many more volumes the author has planned for this series but I hope she keeps going for a few more years as I haven't read my fill of Flavia Albia yet. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 10, 2017 |
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Haiku summary
Traitors and Nero
impersonators aim to
depose Domitian.

No descriptions found.

"In 90 A.D., following the Saturninus revolt in Germany, the Emperor Domitian has become more paranoid about traitors and dissenters around him. This leads to several senators and even provincial governors facing charges and being executed for supposed crimes of conspiracy and insulting the emperor. Wanting to root out all the supports of Saturninus from the Senate, one of Domitian's men offers to hire Flavia Alba to do some intelligence work. Flavia Alba, daughter and chip off the old block of Marcus Didius Falco, would rather avoid any and all court intrigue, thank you very much. But she's in a bit of a bind. Her wedding is fast approaching, her fianc‚e's still recovering--slowly--from being hit by a lightning bolt, and she's the sole support of their household. So with more than a few reservations, she agrees to "investigate." Adding to the confusion is yet another Nero pretender has shown up in Parthia and is trying to rally support for his claim for the throne. With intrigue upon intrigue swirling around the capital city, it's up to Albia to uncover what is--and isn't--the real threat"--… (more)

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